Katherine James – The interview for MinimalMag
Tell us briefly about you, what’s your background?
I am currently based in Leeds but I have lived in various different parts of the UK over the last few years. I’m just coming to the end of my studies here at the School of Design.
Before that I was an Art and Design technician for a while where I had the opportunity to learn about ceramics, the dark room, printing, wood and metal work. I think that was a really significant time for me in that I developed a respect for materiality and the potential of matter which is hugely influential on the way I work now.
3 words to describe your works?
Art, craft, design
How does your workspace look like?
My work bench is made of a thick wooden kitchen-island worktop which one of my neighbours was throwing out. He couldn’t fit it in his house, so he gave it to me and I sanded it back and re-varnished it. Now it sits across two storage units at each end which are full of a whole array of materials and tools.
I always like to keep books about art and design lined up at the end of my desk and I have a pin board which I try and change regularly with fresh imagery to keep me inspired.
At the moment, my bench is covered with a few cobbled together wooden frames which I build for making the chain maille from and lots of little experimental pieces which might spark an idea.
What is the best personal advice you can share in order to be more creative?
Try to notice things about yourself, recognising times when you feel most creative or productive. I have learned that I write best in the mornings and I feel most creative in terms of thinking-through-making in the evenings.
I think there can be a feeling of pressure in the daytime, like a 9-5 expectation that we inherit from society that says this is when we should expect to work and get things done, but its not the same for everyone.
What art/design do you most identify with?
I really couldn’t say, but I like to go by the term maker. Sometimes you could call what I make jewellery, sometimes its fine art sculpture, sometimes it more like a craft or design practice.
I’ve never wanted to stay within one discipline or material, or perhaps I just haven’t found the one yet!
I think identifying as a maker means your practice isn’t defined by a particular audience type, you can reach different people with each project.
Follow Katherine James on Instagram @kj_art.craft.design
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