Beret wearing french fries…beaded lollies and glitzy creatures from under the sea…Welcome to the delightful woven world of Kate Jenkins!
A creative crafts-woman filled with color and whimsy, brining food to life in a unexpected and cheerful ways. I mean, how else could one make a whole fish look so luxurious!? A joyful coat of sequins, obviously! All her work is fabulous and we’re excited to dive into these culinary creations with you to learn more about Kate’s work, inspiration and where she likes to take a little time out from the needle and hook.
Name: Kate Jenkins, Cardigan
Location: Brighton, Great Britain
I am originally from South Wales (in Great Britain, not Australia) but ended up moving to Brighton (also in Great Britain!) when I started my degree in fashion textiles. After graduating I moved to London for several years before deciding I wanted to settle down in Brighton and moved back 14 years ago. I live in an area called Kemptown and it is a wonderful place to live and work. I am 5 minutes away from the seafront and 5 minutes from the countryside so it is perfect. Especially as I have a small Jack Russell Terrier called Lottie who goes everywhere with me she loves a long walk on the coast line or on the Sussex Downs. My studio is in a gated courtyard mews which originally was a coach house and stables so is full of character. I have worked in this space for over 10 years now and couldn’t think of a better place to be situated. I have a shop space next door to my studio where people can come and purchase from me and look at new things I am working on or generally just come in and have a chat. There is definitely a very creative feel about the area and there several other artists and designers situated nearby.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you found crochet as a way to express your creative vision.
I am trained in Fashion textiles and have worked in this field for nearly 20 years. I was taught to knit and crochet by my mother and grandmother who always encouraged me to make things with them. The first item I remember crocheting was a blanket made out of hundreds of different coloured wools which took months to make. I have always preferred to crochet rather than hand knit as I found it much easier and quicker. When I start to create a piece I have an image of it in my head and start to crochet straight away. It feels like I am drawing with the hook and yarn. I have always worked this way, although I do carry a notebook around which I am constantly writing ideas in.
Your crocheted art spans from whimsical to down right cheeky, how do you come up with your subject matter?
I usually pick something that makes me smile/laugh when I initially come up with the subject matter. Sometimes I like to play with words and interpret them literally.. for example recently I have been working a a series of fruit tarts so this involved making an assortment of fruit tarts wearing high heels, stockings and suspenders. Other projects have included me making a series of fish and illustrating them exactly as they are named e.g Electric Eel (the eel has a plug on the end of it’s tail) Clown fish (fish wearing clown make up, a bowler hat and a red nose) Battered Cod (fish with a black eye wrapped up in bandages and holding a crutch) and so on. I am always looking for new inspiration and this usually comes from a night out with friends or family who also like to get involved and suggest things.
How do you stay inspired and keep the work coming out of your studio fresh? Is there a particular soundtrack or type of caffeinated crochet bevvy that keeps you on track while getting down to business?
I am always thinking ahead about new ideas. I think I have always worked like this and I tend to tire of things quickly so my brain is constantly on overdrive as to what I can create next. I still work within the fashion industry alongside being a crochet artist and this is always changing due to the nature of fashion and trends. I think this has had a major influence on the way I work. I love listening to music whist I work… there is nothing worse than working in total silence in the studio! I listen to lots of music on Spotify or 6 music or compilations that friends have created for me.
Where’s your favorite spot in town to take a creative break? What should we order?
One of my all time favourite spots in Brighton is a place on the seafront called Jack and Linda Mills Traditional Fish Smokers where you can buy the freshest smoked fish sandwiches. I love taking Lottie for a long walk from one end of Brighton seafront to the other and having a break in between at Jack and Linda’s. They smoke their own fish in the traditional way in a smokehouse across the boardwalk from their shop most days of the week. The fish is smoked with oak and applewood and non chemicals are used in the process. It really is a taste sensation and it’s great to sit and eat on the boardwalk looking out at the sea.
Whats next!? Any dream projects or collaborations on your wish list?
I have a few things in the pipeline.. a solo show is planned for June 2015 in London where the theme is everything to do with the sea. The show is entitled ‘The life aquatic’ and will feature a crocheted fishmongers window and lots of sequined seafood! I’ve just started to create the first few pieces and I am very excited about this. I have a few possible collaborations which are not totally confirmed yet so I cannot say what it is….but one of them could be incredibly exciting if it does happen… ask me in a few months!
If you could express your work in 3 emojis, what would they be?
A crocheted fish monger window!? Yes Please…and send us some pics!
We are in love with every stitch and sequin Kate is plotting and cannot wait to see what comes out of her studio next.
To check out more of Kate Jenkin’s work, head over to her website and browse a wide variety of culinary creations. You’ll no longer be starved for colorful handmade inspiration.