We’re looking a little closer at the work and stories behind this year’s Christmas campaign which features six of our resident makers. This week we speak to digital illustrator and designer Kate Knight about the inspirations which drive her work and the festive season which we officially kick off with our Family Friendly Christmas Launch Saturday 19th November, 2-5pm.
How many years have you been resident at MCDC?
I have been a resident in MCDC for nearly two years now. I moved into Studio 26 at the end of 2014 and shared this with the painter Dave Goodwin. Dave had been in the Centre for many years and it was a joy sharing with him. He left in January 2016 and I have been in the studio on my own since then.
What are the main inspirations behind your work and where do they come from?
The main inspiration behind my work is colour. I would say that my love of art has grown out of the passion I have for colour, pattern and flowers. Pushing myself to create bold and exciting designs is something I thrive on.
What is the most memorable commission or customer purchase of your work you have ever received?
The most memorable commission I have had since being at MCDC is one I just recently completed. A very nice gentleman came into the studio and asked me to create an image of a beautiful young girl surrounded by flowers. He produced a photograph of the girl and informed me the artwork was required as a gift for the girl’s parents. From what he told me it sounded like she was a very special girl. He wanted it bright and cheerful and full of colour; he was a gardener who had the same love for flowers that I had. I haven’t done too many designs based on people because my speciality has always been pattern and flowers. I knew this was going to be a bit of a challenge, but one I was relishing taking on. I was very happy with the end result and my client really loved it, which gave me a very rewarding feeling. The girl’s parents haven’t seen it yet, so I am hoping they will love it as well.
What is the most memorable Christmas gift you have received?
The most memorable Christmas gift I have received was given to me when I was about 11. My mum bought tickets for us to go and see Cats at the Playhouse Theatre in Edinburgh. I loved the music and the atmosphere generated by the show. I was so excited about seeing the performance; it was a night I’ll never forget.
What is your favourite thing about Manchester Craft & Design Centre on the run up to Christmas?
My favourite thing about Manchester Craft and Design Centre on the run up to Christmas is the buzz about the place. I love being busy and having lots of customers to talk to. Although I am often run off my feet I get a very satisfying feeling about having done a good days work. Last year I brought my little sister in law and her friends along to the Centre for the Christmas open day. We all had mulled wine from the café and listened to some beautiful festive singing by Kathryn Edwards (from Studio 25) and her husband. Whilst the girls were there they bought presents for their friends back home and they told me they loved every minute of their visit. I remember feeling very proud that day because I was part of MCDC.
Why should people buy handmade gifts this Christmas?
I think it is very nice to receive a handmade gift because it is unique and invariably it will be of the highest quality. Also, customers can, on some occasions, ask the artist to customise the product by making small tweaks during its production. Take my work for example; I can easily adjust colours and size to give the customer exactly what they are after. People coming into MCDC gain a unique connection with the artists working here. They often comment that it’s great to be able to come to a location to buy gifts that isn’t a crowded store, a location that is intimate and provides them with an excellent shopping experience and a fun day out.