I met Kate at Blognix last summer and have bumped into her at several crafty events since then! She creates original fabrics based on her paintings of mid-century architecture, then uses the fabric to make a range of stylish homewares and accessories. If you'd rather make stuff than buy stuff don't worry, she sells the fabric too :)
Hello! I’m Kate Marsden, a textile designer and blogger.
I live in far South London with my husband, 4 year old son and 2 cats, St John and Tabitha. I left my day job at the end of last year to concentrate on Made By Mrs M and to spend more time with the little man. I’m very lucky that the increased popularity of blogs and ecommerce has come at the right time to enable me to do this.
Recently I've been making...
A lot of products for my shop and in preparation for Renegade Craft Fair and Crafty Fox Market. I’m working on a new range of clutch bags and wallets to complement my existing homewares – all utilising my fabric designs.
I’ve also started thinking about some new fabric designs I plan to work on after Christmas (my to do list for the quiet months of January and February is so extensive that I won’t be quiet!).
In my spare time I’ve been working on my first English paper pieced quilt, but I haven’t had much time for this recently.
I've been working on...
I continue to spend a lot of time working on my blog and also trying to promote my work a little better. Over the past month or so I’ve been promoting my work which is now on sale as part of the RAted range at the Royal Academy of Arts and the new products I’m introducing on the run up to Christmas.
I've been blogging about...
I’ve been working on lots of tutorials for the blog – they all have a textiles slant but a recent one involved making ceramic buttons.
I’ve written a few more ‘advice’ style posts too – my updated craft fair tips proved popular as has my creative business books post.
I've been reading...
I’ve been looking at posts on the Design Trust’s site quite a lot over the past few weeks – they have some great advice for small creative businesses.
On the run up to Halloween I got a little hooked on The House That Lars Built – she had a great series of costume DIYs inspired by artists.
I’ve also been looking for good things to do on an upcoming trip to Venice and stumbled upon this great post on Design Sponge.
Books wise, I’m mid-way through Art Inc. by Lisa Congdon (I mentioned it in this post). Struggling to find much time for reading at the moment though!
While I make, I've been listening to...
While I’m working in my studio I listen to music. Often the radio (Xfm), but I’m currently playing all four Courteeners albums on repeat like a teenager (I saw them at the Reading Festival in the summer and a liking turned into a mild obsession!). I’ve also been listening to Royal Blood rather a lot and a new (to me) band, Lucius.
My music choice doesn’t vary depending on whether I’m working or not. I have to say that one of the best things about working for myself if that I can listen to a lot of music – never been able to do that before!
Accompanying me in the evenings (when I tend to work from the sofa to keep Mr M company!) is 30 Rock – we’re about to start season 4. The only thing I tend to put everything down for is Sherlock, but I think we’re still about a year away from the next series…
Kate's Top 3 Tips for Staying Creative
I found it very hard to use my creative side when I was at my day job. Some of the things I did do have proved to be really useful this past year too though in helping me grow creatively, generate new ideas and avoid getting stuck in a rut.
1. Never stop learning – by which I mean go back to college for a short course, take e-courses, read books. Try and do this as much as you can afford to. I’ve taken courses in ceramics, painting, screen printing, life drawing and more – they’ve all inspired my work and improved my skills.
2. Don’t work in isolation – many small creative businesses like mine consist of one person in a room on their own. This doesn’t do anyone any good in the long term (even an introvert like me). Face to face courses help; attend craft fairs and talk to people whether you’re there to sell or not; if you’re invited to an event go, and network (even if it’s painful for you to do so) – start on social media if you prefer though, it’s less scary and I’ve made lots of friends and contacts there.
3. Create something every day – a couple of years ago I worked on some fibre art projects in which I made a piece every day to represent my mood and how the day had gone. It was an interesting experience as it sparked lots of ideas which were unconnected with the project itself. Now I’m not as regimented but I always try to do something. Whether it’s making something for the shop, sewing one hexagon onto my quilt, a page of my sketchbook or a doodle, I always do something. It’s true that the more you use your creativity the more it grows.
Visit Kate's blog to read more about her current projects, or head to her shop to see her fabrics, homewares and accessories. You can also find her on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.
Click here to read more posts in the Crafty Ladies series.