Kate Jenkins is a knitting genius and one of the most original and innovative UK artists. Famous for her unique crocheted food, Kate takes a nostalgic look at everyday items, re-invented in wool and yarn with ironic, comic touches. She has exhibited in London, Brighton and the United States and her work is collected worldwide. Her latest project is her third solo show in London entitled “Kate’s Crochet Market” which opened on 1st September 2011 at the Rebecca Hossack Gallery. It will be showing lots of items that would usually be found in a supermarket including a tin of cambell’s tomato soup, baked beans, packets of sausages to name just a few items on Kate’s shopping list. If you’re interested in Kate’s works, refer to Agency Rush, her agency for illustration commissions.
Could you please tell us about your job and background?
I truly love my job as everyday is very different. I have an addictive personality and I think this reflects in my work. My Grandmother and Mother taught me at an early age how to crochet and knit and I have been creating things ever since, always making gifts for family and friends when I was growing up. I have always known I wanted to follow a career in doing something creative and I did a degree in fashion textiles with business studies. Fashion has always played a huge part in my life and I have designed knitwear for hundreds of companies over the years ranging from Missoni, Etro, Marc Jacobs to name just a few. When I set up my own label in 2003 I decided to do something different to promote my label by creating crocheted art. This resulted in me having a small exhibition in my shop in Brighton called “Comfort Food” which comprised of plates of the nations favourite foods including a fried breakfast, fish and chips. The show was a huge
success and sold out and from then on my career in the art world began.
Why did you choose knitting and stitching as your favorite form of expression?
I cannot draw or paint very well and I felt using knitting and crochet was a perfect medium for me to work in as I have been doing it for such a long time and I feel I have perfected my techniques over the years. All the stitches I use are the same that would be used when making a garment. I am able to physically get an idea in my head and start to make it straight away. To me its as if I am drawing with a crochet hook and a ball of wool.
How would you define your style / approach to art and craft? Why?
I would say I am definitely quirky and am a fan of vintage and current labels (designer and high street ) so I like to mix things up. I have a humorous approach to my work and I feel I put a great deal of my personality into each piece I create whether its a sequined sardine trapped in a tin or a crochet pig in a pork pie trying to break free.
What are your favorite fanzines and magazines?
Vogue, Anorak, World of Interiors.
What would be the best collaboration you could possibly think of? Why?
I think it would have to be with a chef…(Heston Blumenthal quickly springs to mind!)
In your opinion, which aspect of your works should be improved?
There is always room for improvement in anyone’s work and I am always setting myself high challenges constantly to push myself on and develop my work further.
Is there a medium / technique that you haven’t tried yet that you’d like to experiment in the future?
I have always fancied animation. I think that would suit my work as it is 3d anyway so would be interesting to see what the results would be.
What are your favorite places in your city that you’d recommend to visit?
I adore Brighton Pavilion just for its sheer elaborate decadence. I often find myself walking along Brighton seafront as it’s brilliant for inspiration and there is a great sandwich shop called Jack and Linda’s where you can get the freshest sardine sandwiches in Brighton.
Who is the woman you’d like to see featured/ interviewed here?
Is Karen Nicol she is a fashion embroidery designer and artist. (www.karennicol.com)
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