Meet the designer: Kate Knight

By mel-worldofxs, Fri, 2012-12-14 17:37
Kate Knight

What is your background – did you study design?

I always loved drawing flowers when I was young and my ambition from an early age was to go to art college. After school, I went to an art and design college in Dundee, then after four years of study I carried on my art training at Heriot-Watt University in the Scottish Borders, from where I have a Master of Design degree.


Might we have seen your designs before?

My work‘s been used all over the world in all sorts of products – there are cardmaking papers, greeting cards, diaries, garden furniture, playing cards, quilting fabric, and much more! It’s fun to think my designs are being used throughout Europe, and the Far East, as well as in the USA, Canada and South Africa even.


We can tell you love using colour – tell us about your inspiration.

I’m definitely drawn to bright colours! I’ve done the occasional collection that’s black and white or has more pastel tones, but the vast majority is very bright. When I started studying art and design I noticed I was attracted to images that were rich in colour. I guess I was born with a love of colour!

I know a lot of artists and designers are influenced by the work of famous artists from times gone by, like Degas or Van Gogh, but the artist who sparked my interest in vibrant florals is very much alive. Her name is Jennie Tuffs, and when I first saw her artwork, I immediately knew I wanted to paint like bright designs like those!

I’m inspired every day just by walking from my apartment to my Edinburgh studio – I pass through Princes Street Gardens and past two amazing florist shops. I love the beautiful arrangements the gardeners and the shopkeepers have put together and always have my camera at the ready to capture an idea that I might see.

Kate Knight's orginal 'Elegant Orchids' design

Can you tell us about your creative process…

When I first started producing artwork, I used paints – either acrylics or watercolours. I soon appreciated that to be commercially successful I had to start working on a computer. So now I draw and paint directly into the computer using a drawing tablet. I’ve been working this way for a few years now.


How long does it take to create one of your designs?

Creating a piece of work can take anything from a couple of days to a couple of weeks. I sometimes get caught up in it and won’t accept it is finished, even though someone else would say it is. I daresay I’m no different from lots of other artists in that respect!


What’s it like to see your designs converted into cross stitch projects

It’s really satisfying to know there are so many stitchers out there enjoying my designs, and that they’re creating wonderful items. I’ve never tried cross stitch, simply because I don’t have enough hours in the day. With tight deadlines for clients and the added pressure of always needing new work for my portfolio, free creative time is scarce! When I see my artwork being used for lots of craft-related products including cross stitch designs, I often think, wouldn’t it be great to learn to stitch, make cards, or produce a quilt, but I just don’t have enough time unfortunately.

The stitched version of Kate's 'Elegant Orchids'


Do you have any hobbies though?

I don’t know if you can call this a hobby, but I do love going to my gym. It’s one place that allows me to step away from producing artwork. I can exercise, swim or just relax and get a few hours to myself.


What’s the best thing about working as a freelance designer? And the worst?!

The best thing about it is the fact that I am my own boss and I’m doing something I really love. I suppose the worst thing is the fact that sometimes it can feel a bit isolating and lonely.


Do you have any favourite pieces – old or new?

I tend to find my latest piece of work is always my favourite. I think it’s because I’m so in tune with my current piece. I recently finished an image with two peacocks and I am absolutely delighted at how it turned out.


Can you share any future plans?

I’m always asked why I don’t produce my own products, such as greeting cards or homewares, and my answer is always the same, because I am a designer and not a manufacturer. But I am currently collaborating with a small local company that produces bags. I’m creating artwork for the bags and getting the fabric produced, then the firm will make and sell the bags, so I’m really excited about that.

Find Kate Knight's gorgeous 'Elegant Orchids' in issue 198 of The World of Cross Stitching, on sale until 3 January 2013!

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