In this week’s blog, we spoke to new Taste of Art artist, Kate Buchanan and asked what inspired her. Kate’s detailed work is currently on show in our Café so our visitors can be surrounded by art as they enjoy coffee and cake – hence ‘Taste of Art’! All of the pieces are also for sale and there are also some prints available in the Gift Shop.

Tell us about your work and why you enjoy using mixed media?

I have always had an interest in all things fabric, from my home Economics classes at school until now, I have played with fabric, ribbon embroidery, hand stitching and machine embroidery.  To begin with, it was all very much for pleasure and it wasn’t until 5 years ago I started to make bespoke silk handbags to sell.

I particularly  enjoyed  stitching  small details onto the bags, this after a couple of years  lead me naturally  to  where I am today, which is making small detailed  textile pictures. I exhibited a small range at a local art fair where I met a marketing company who have since commissioned a number of designs. They have helped me look at my work with a commercial eye which has been invaluable in moving me from sewing for pleasure into a small business.
What inspires your designs?

Nature, fauna and flora, in fact all creation, are full of colour and minute details that are a pleasure to study and capture in fabric and stitch.
Tell us more about your Create workshops?

I have been running Create workshops for many years now.  Many of the people who buy my work really want to have a go at being creative themselves, but are not quite sure how or where to start - so this is where Create comes in! I provide the space and time for women to come sit round a table, maybe learn a new skill or just give themselves time to create and play with all manner of craft, textile and art materials.

I run them with some talented friends who  help host tables, we assume no prior knowledge and teach as you need it, tables range from  up cycling jars and tins to ribbon embroidery and water colour, cards, jewellery , wire work to name a few of the treats.

Workshops are hosted locally to me in Redbourn, places are limited to 50 and it is £5.00 to attend. There are then costs per craft you have a go at, ranging from £3.00 - £10.00. Your only job is to bring cake to share and we’ll provide the tea, magazines and craft books which are dotted around to feed your inspiration! It really is an afternoon to switch off and give yourself a little time to create and play.

Have you got any new designs? What are your top picks?

Last year I started to produce framed prints of my textiles which are printed onto papyrus paper. I then float mount them and in some cases it is very difficult to tell them from an original textile piece! This is my top pick if you want one of my designs but are not too worried about owning an original - have a look at the prints, I’m rather pleased with them!

My new venture is into places of interest! I have recently made a textile piece  of the Bridgewater monument at Ashridge  called ‘A Walk in the Woods’ which is selling in the National trust shop in Ashridge and the textile piece called 'An Abbey View’ sells well in St Albans.

Kate’s website gives details of upcoming events or you can email [email protected] to be added to the email list for future dates and information.

Kate’s work will be on display in The Lightbox Café from 14 April – 24 May 2015, all works on show will be available to buy.

Image credit: An English Garden, Henny Penny and Happy Days © Kate Buchanan