Where I craft: Kate's home studio is pink & sparkly & super-organised

by Jo Walker
Photo Credit: Carine Thevenau

Where I craft: Kate's home studio is pink & sparkly & super-organised

Former teacher and professional creative Kate Fisher is the artist behind KatFish Collection, a range of acrylic jewellery and bespoke pieces that's cute, colourful and sparkly - just like her craft room. Here, Kate shows off her wares, and her extremely neat storage solutions, in the place she calls her "comfortable little bubble".

How do you describe your style?

It's very colourful. Very sparkly. Block colours and glitter. It's kind of quirky in a way - a lot of my designs link back to things in nature. I make a lot of insects, magpies, eucalyptus leaves, gum blossoms and wattle. It's inspired by nature, but also kind of pop arty, I guess.

Kate's Craft Room

Kate's craft room is used for designing, making and storing all her KatFish Collection pieces.

Who first introduced you to crafting?

Something really big, which kind of made me who I am, is spending time with my nan. I grew up a lot with my nan, and I used to say stay over there for craft sleepovers. She was my first exposure to Spotlight! We'd catch the bus together and we'd go into Spotlight and we'd spend hours shopping. Then we'd come back and craft. I learnt so much about design and about just expressing who you are. My nan was one of those people who'd say, 'I don't care what anyone thinks, I'm going to go shopping in a bright purple tracksuit with green frogs on it that I made, because I love it!' I learnt a lot about craft and about being who I am from my nan.

Tell us about your crafting with KatFish Collection. What do you make and do?

I work mainly with acrylic. I do a lot of digital drawings and then turn them into digital files that can be read by a laser cutter and etcher. Once all the pieces are laser-cut and etched, I hand-paint a lot of them to add extra depth to the design. And then there's lots and lots of gluing! I do small accessories like earrings, necklaces, bangles and brooches. And I also do big-scale. I think the biggest I've done is a 1.5m tall wall piece.

Kate Designed This Colourful Headscarf

Most of Kate's work is in acrylics, though she designed this colourful headscarf, too. Here it's used to disguise some packing boxes!

Designs Must Be Prepped, Painted & Glued

Once designs come back from the laser cutter, they must be prepped, painted and glued.

What are you doing when you're not working on KatFish Collection?

Up until last year I was a primary school teacher, but my job title now is Creative Program Coordinator for Hawkesbury Regional Gallery, Library and Museum. My teaching and my art background kind of come together in this job, which is amazing. I do graphic design for their advertising and all their social media. I teach workshops and get in touch with other artists to get them to come and do workshops with kids and adults at our gallery library. I coordinate and organise all the education programs for excursions. It's a big job.

Talk us through your craft room

My crafting space is set up in a spare room in my house. I have a very sparkly confetti kind of backdrop wall - a tinsel-y thing - which I use for markets. When it's not behind me at a market, it's set up in my little workspace just to keep it a bit colourful and happy. Because a lot of my pieces are quite small, my workspace has lots of containers with little tiny pieces that don't make a lot of sense until they come together.

A Tinsel Market Backdrop

A tinsel market backdrop does double duty in the home studio. The neatly labelled set of drawers holds tools and acrylic pieces.

What kind of work do you do in there?

I do a lot of iPad drawing. Then I use my computer to turn my digital drawings into vector files, which get read by the laser cutter. It's kind of a mix of drawing and digital design. Then there's lots of physically gluing all the pieces together, gluing on the earring hooks, using lots of pliers, and putting pieces together in little tiny ring jumps and pulls. I usually have an area where things are drying. Then I go into the next step of the process: I package everything to be shipped off, whether it be through my market stall, or for delivery by AusPost.

Kate's Dad Helped Her Make This Storage-Cupboard-Cum-Market-Stall

Kate's dad helped her make this storage-cupboard-cum-market-stall.

What's this big pink cupboard you've got?

It's my market stall! My dad helped me make it. It kind of stays together in this pink thing: three cupboards that connect together with wheels on the bottom, and a solid tabletop. I use it in my studio as storage for all of my stock, then it packs down to go in the car, and rebuilds once I get somewhere. When you see it in my house, it looks like a pink cupboard, but then it clips together to become my market stall. There's also signage that attaches to the hanging space on the top. It's very cool.

Piecing Together A New Brooch

Piecing together a new brooch. Kate says the studio is her “happy place”.

Handy Storage Tub Drawers

Handy storage tub drawers can slide out and stack up when needed.

Your craft room is extremely pink and sparkly. Do you think it makes a difference working in an environment that's so colourful and energetic?

It's very important to have a space where I can kind of get away from home life into my little office, and have that inspiration as soon as I walk in there. It puts my head in the game. In the rest of the house, my husband and I are very relaxed and keep things kind of neutral. When you walk in here, it's like, 'OK, I'm happy!'

Some Of Kate's Colour & Poppy Creations

Some of Kate's colourful and poppy creations.

Talk us through your storage - you have a lot of tiny things that need to be sorted and organised!

I'm very conscious of being organised. I've got lots of plastic tub drawers in the market-stall cupboard, which are good because I can slide them out and stack them if I have to. I also have a set of rainbow-coloured storage drawers - that has all of my little tools and pieces in it. Then there are some stackable plastic bowls, which hold a lot of my little acrylic pieces.

I do work with plastics. I'm very big on not wasting these bits and pieces when they're already something you don't want to be chucking away. When the laser-cutting happens, there will often be little cut-off shapes that fit in between the other pieces. I keep these in the stackable bowls so they can either be re-used in different designs, or I can use them in my kids' workshops. Kids love making weird brooches with the little scrap shapes.

It's Finnicky Work Assembling A New Design

It's finnicky work assembling a new design.

How does it make you feel when you're in your workspace?

I love it. It's my happy place. It's very colourful and happy. If I've had a stressful day at work, I can go in there and start designing - whether it's actually hands-on making or just sitting there drawing crazy things on the iPad. It's my comfortable little bubble.

Check out more of Kate's good stuff on her web shop or Instagram. For more fun jewellery inspiration, head this way.




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