Thursday 30 July 2015

Craft Conversations with the Pros: Kath Stewart

Today is the turn to ask the craft questions to Kath Stewart. Kath is one talented, brave and funny lady. I am glad that we are friends, I am happy that she is in the craft industry for this crafting world needs people like her! Talented and outspoken!

A brief professional paper crafter journey:
I suppose I’ve always been creative…as a young child I always had my nose in a colouring book and that progressed to knitting and sewing to make clothes for my dolls, then creating fashion statements (horrendous when I look back) for myself and my children. I’ve probably had a go at every craft imaginable, some attempts more successful than others. I ran my own Ceramics business for 10 years but closed it down in 2004 to take early retirement…the idea of a lady who lunched seemed appealing but boredom soon set in. It was time to look for another outlet for all this excess creative energy. A friend persuaded me to accompany her on a card making workshop organised by Personal Impressions, rather reluctantly I have to confess - why would you want to make cards when you can pop into a shop and buy one was my first thought? - but I soon discovered that magical things happen when you put stamps and inks together, I was well and truly hooked and the rest is history.
When and how did you start in the industry? 
I started off like lots of crafty folks do selling cards at craft fairs and making specially commissioned cards which I loved at the time but on reflection, it was lots of hard work for very little reward and took over my life completely. By pure chance I spotted an advertisement in a craft magazine for Fiskars demonstrators and applied, nothing ventured nothing gained as they say and was more than surprised when I was selected to attend an interview day in Newcastle and remember with cringing embarrassment the total disastrous project I made in an attempt to win the judges over. Must have been my scintillating personality that did the trick, to my amazement I got the job.

Was it full time? Part time? 
What type of job at first? Did you started as a creative straight away? 
Unfortunately for me my location in the far flung North East corner of the UK didn’t present many craft store demonstrator opportunities but Fiskars asked if I would like to demonstrate with the team at the SECC in Glasgow. I made some samples for the show and voila…they liked them and asked if I would like to make lots more to showcase Fiskars products. That progressed in to making projects for magazine adverts and media presentations and for the last 5 years I’ve been lucky enough to organise and teach the Fiskars workshops at the Hobbycraft shows at The NEC in March and November.
I’ve also been given the opportunity to work with great companies in the industry as part of their design teams, been featured in craft magazines and most important of all, had lots of fun and made wonderful lifelong friendships along the way

How do you describe your job nowadays? 
Is it hard to work full/part time in the craft industry? Can you name your major challenges you face?
Every day I pinch myself, how lucky am I to be able to say that I love what I do and do what I love, to turn what was once a hobby into what is now a full time job. Winston Churchill once said that if you find a job you love, you will never work again and here I am sharing my passion for paper crafting with lots of crafty folks, a dream come true. Not everyone might realise that a lot of hard work goes on behind the scenes, the kitting marathons and burning the midnight oil on a regular basis to nail deadlines but for me that’s just part and parcel of the job and the upside is, it keeps me out of mischief and the biscuit tin (most of the time).
Would you do anything differently?
Definitely's a lifestyle choice, a passion and the mistakes I've made along the way are all part of life's big learning curve.

Out of everything you do and have done, what is your favourite? 
What I love most is escaping my sometimes lonely craft room existence, leaving behind the one sided long conversations with my dog usually about the most idiotic nonsense, getting out and about and meeting fellow crafters. I teach monthly workshops at my local craft store, The Papeterie in Aberdeen and look forward to meeting up with my lovely Kath’s Klub girls for a fun day. 


Your proudest moment and achievement?
I’m not sure that I have one particular proudest moment or achievement but it does warm my heart when people tell me that crafting was a life saver for them bringing them back from the depths of depression. If sharing my passion has helped just one person that would be amazing.

What do you think is more important to make it in this industry: creative talent, hard work or luck?
To succeed in any industry you need to be passionate about what you do, be prepared for lots of hard work, having creative talent helps along with lots of luck, sadly it's sometimes about who you know and being in the right place at the right time.

What is your favourite project type (mini albums, cards, layouts, home decor...) and colour? 
Thanks to one person I’ve moved on from being a CAS card maker to embracing a wide spectrum of crafting, love mini albums, mixed media and everything in between. And the person in question is the super talented, humble, sweet, generous with his time and inspiration...the most wonderful ambassador for the industry, the guy we all love, my hero Tim Holtz and my favourite colour…seriously do I have to pick just ONE…well it’s probably the latest colour to be added to the Distress Ink Family.

Where you go for inspiration? 
Inspiration is everywhere, Mother Nature is only too willing to share her wonderful palette of colour and textures and a visit to Pinterest or the blogs of the many crafters who share their amazing talents with us all can't fail to inspire.
What is next for you: (both what you are doing next and what you Would like to do next) 
Who knows what the future holds. I thank my lucky stars that I have fairly good health.
I’ve learned over the years that you can indeed teach an old dog new tricks and with a bit of luck there’s still life in the old “won’t see 60 again” crafter. Here’s to many more years doing what I love.

And finally, Do you remember when we first met? Any good/bad impressions?
I remember well the first time I met Paula.  It was at the Hobbycraft show at The NEC, my first time teaching a Fiskars workshop and across the aisle were the Sizzix Team. Paula was so friendly kind and helpful, can you imagine the embarrassment of having borrow a pair of scissors from Sizzix to open my box of Fiskars tools and did I happen to mention that she is also so unbelievably and annoyingly gorgeous.
Paula's version: You are too kind Kath! I had seen your work online before we met and loved it! I am a big fan of both her work and her persona. I already admired Kath deeply but this week even more so.

You can find more of Kath here:


Jenny Marples said...

Kath, you're such a great ambassador for the industry and I always love your work. Knowing just how hard you work every day to share new and exciting ideas with us I stand in awe and thank you so much for all that you do. Jenny x

Redanne said...

What an absolutely wonderful interview Kath and Paula!

Kath is responsible for getting me into blogging, for which I shall be eternally grateful. Kath is the loveliest, sweetest, kindest, funniest lady - and I am in total awe of her incredible talent! I am so pleased to call her a dear friend too. Anne xx

Karen B said...

I will always hold a special place in my heart for Kath (and for you Paula) for your bravery. I loved this article so much - a great way to get to know more about Kath and see her amazing makes. Fabulous post and fabulous series - thanks Paula!

Anita Houston The Artful Maven said...

Wonderful read! Always so nice to find out more about someone you admire!

Yvonne said...

Great interview!!! It was fun to hear your story and see how you got started in the industry! Love your work!!! Hugs from across the pond!

Kath Stewart said...

a huge thank you for including me in your fabulous feature really are the sweetest friend and thanks everyone for your kind comments...big hugs to all xxx

Rita said...

Well Kath, what can I add to what has already been said. You are one of the great ambassadors in the Craft World and you always bring a smile to my face when reading your posts. Brilliant interview by Paula too. Hugs Rita xxx

Darnell said...

A beautiful interview, Paula, of a truly lovely and talented woman!! Hugs, Darnell

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