Katie Lowe is a contemporary designer/maker in the field of slip casting ceramics. With a focus on simplicity and the beauty within colour, material and form; Katie aims to create a range of artworks combining subtle gradients, miniature vessels and other complimenting materials.
Katie exhibitied on our group stand at Eunique, Karlsruhe. Design-Nation caught up with Katie about her practice, inspiration and future plans.
Design-Nation asked: Can you tell us about your practice and how your business began?
Katie Lowe: My business began roughly a year after I had left University. After having that break I realized how much I missed being hands on and creative. I specialise in slipcast ceramics and combine the miniature with installation, creating small scale decorative objects which when put together with composition and colour gradients, create a strong visual impact.
DN: Who has been your most influential teacher or mentor?
KL: I have had the pleasure of working alongside some talented makers and ceramicists whilst at university and since starting my practise. I have assisted Anna Collette Hunt and Sue Pryke in their practises – from the making stages through to installs of exhibitions and ceramic shows. I believe there is always room to learn and be inspired in a creative environment.
DN: What inspires you and your work?
KL: The main focus of my work is on simplicity and the beauty within colour, material and form. I am inspired by many aspects of nature: gradients within the sea and sky, textures in marine life and natural composition throughout global landscapes. My university installation and current collection are heavily influenced by waves in the ocean, the tones of blue within them and the natural fluidity and how they form.
DN: Can you tell us a bit about your design process?
KL: I love the process my work goes through; from creating a model, then to the mould making stage and finally slip casting. But alongside that my favourite part is creating the gradient within the clay and being excited about the colour it’s going to turn out. I am fascinated by natural gradients within the world, trying to capture colour is difficult and I aspire to create my own visual colour chart in clay.
DN: What is your workspace like?
KL: I have just recently moved my workshop into a shed in my back garden, having the freedom and convenience to pop in there whenever I can is great! I seem to have used every bit of space possible already so I am forever rearranging, as long as I have one surface to cast on I’m good to go!
DN: Do you work hard on your PR or do you work with others on marketing?
KL: I keep my presence on social media as active as I can alongside making. Instagram is probably my preferred platform as I love taking photos. I find people enjoy seeing the processes behind the finished pieces so I try to share a good mixture of the making stages and what I am up to not just the products.
DN: What are the main challenges in your practice?
KL: The main challenge I face is time. Working part time and trying to run a business is definitely a challenge but looking at the achievements I have made so far it gives me the boost to carry on!
DN: Where would you like your practice to be in 10 years?
KL: I would like to hope my installation side of the practise would have kicked off by then; I really want to get back into the hanging vessels I started with in my university degree piece. Definitely want to be stocking galleries across the UK and maybe overseas after Eunique!
DN: If you weren’t a designer what would you be?
KL: I remember when I was in school if I didn’t choose to follow the artistic route I would have chosen the catering one. I have always loved cooking and baking since GCSE, all the women in my family have been involved in cake decorating which has always fascinated me, so I suppose it would have still been kind of creative!
DN: Why did you join Design Nation? What do you enjoy and find helpful from being a member?
KL: Design Nation has given me so many opportunities which I am grateful for. The creative networking between makers is priceless, I have made so many friends since joining and the regional get togethers really give you a chance to chat and catch up, which when working on your own you really cherish! I have had the chance to visit Eunique last year on a research trip and be part of an exhibition so far, I hope there is lots more to come.
DN: Do you have any upcoming events or exhibitions?
KL: 22-24 June 2018 – Earth & Fire International Ceramic Fair – The Harley Gallery, Worksop
August-September 2018 – Hidden Depths Exhibition – The Byre Gallery, Cornwall
2-4 November 2018 – Lustre – Nottingham Lakeside Arts
Interview by Rhea Clements