Thursday 22 October 2015

Craft Conversations with the Pros | Katie Skilton

Today I have the Craft Conversation with a new friend of mine, Katie Skilton. You may have seen her on Hochanda recently as well as other Craft TVs.

When and how did you start in the industry?
I have been paper crafting for 15 years.  It started when my eldest daughter Annabelle was born and I wanted a way to document her life.  I came across scrapbooking, although back then it was very basic.   
What type of job at first? Did you started as a creative straight away?
In 2012 I gave up my full time job as a sales and marketing manager in the orthopaedic industry as it was just too much after I had my son Jude.  I originally planned to make a few cards to sell at fairs and through friends and family.  I started a blog and this is when I found out about design teams.  I joined a couple and from there it just took off.   
I was asked by a company to do some paid work which I jumped at.  From there I contacted my first magazine Cardmaking & Papercrafts who offered me some design work.  
 Was it full time? Part time? 
It started off as a part time job but I found that I loved this type of work and put a lot of time and effort into contacting editors and companies.  My aim was to become full time by the time both my youngest boys were at school.  This happened much sooner and I now work pretty much full time, although the hours can be spread out to suit me and my family. 
How do you describe your job nowadays?
Nowadays I do a real variety of work from magazine commissions to designing projects to go on the front of packaging.  If there is one thing I love about this job is the versatility.

Is it hard to work full/part time in the craft industry? Can you name your major challenges you face?
It is very hard to work full time in the industry, mainly because being a freelance designer the work can come and go.  Often I can have a quiet couple of weeks and then a really busy few weeks where I am working night and day to fit it all in.  This is my biggest fear, as a freelance designer it has taken a huge amount of work to build up my business and this is something that I have to really focus on as without the hard work and networking with companies and people I would lose a lot of work very quickly.  I think one of the biggest challenges I face is not having a design background.  I am self taught but if I could do it all again I would have concentrated on design when I left school.

Out of everything you do and have done, what is your favourite?
I really like working at the craft shows around the country and sometimes further afield.  It is lovely to get out and meet all the crafters that visit these shows.  I get a real sense of achievement when I teach someone new to crafting a new technique and show them the best way to get the most of a product.  The TV work is something I never thought I would be doing but I actually really enjoy being in front of the camera!
Your proudest moment and achievement?
I have been nominated twice in 2014 and 2015 for British Card Designer Of The Year.  This was a major achievement for me as only being in the industry for a short period of time I was amazed to be up there with some really talented designers.

What is your favourite project type (mini albums, cards, layouts, home decor...) and colour?
I love all paper crafting projects and it is hard to name a favourite but I do still have a real love for cardmaking.  It is like miniature pieces of art.  I also love home decor and the way you can make something from nothing.  Although I started with scrapbooking I find this the hardest projects these days.  I have to really think about the design and it doesn’t come as naturally to me as other paper crafts, although I would love to do more of it and as they say practise makes perfect! 
I love colours and matching the right colours are so important when designing.  I like bright, fresh colours but to me white is very important as I love white space on projects.  I feel this really brings out the colours in the project.

Where you go for inspiration?
I spend so much time on Pinterest! I get lost in all of the wonderful projects I see.  But inspiration comes from everywhere.  I live in a small fishing town and often get inspired by the seaside theme with boats and nautical themes.  I also like taking ideas from fabrics and clothing I see and add those ideas into papercraft projects.

What is next for you?
I like to think I am always moving forward.  Over the past couple of months I have taken a step back to focus on family but I have a few plans for the upcoming months.  I am hoping to make some changes to my existing website and add some new features.  I am hoping to continue working with some of the fabulous companies I have been working with over the past few years and also looking to expand to new companies with new ideas.  Eventually I would like to put my product ideas into practise but that will be a could of years off.

And finally, Do you remember when we first met? Any good/bad impressions?
I knew of Paula Pascual for a while before I met you and always found your work very inspiring so when we first met I was really excited.  We first met at Stitches in Birmingham in 2014 but it wasn’t until 2015 that we got to work together at Paperworld and in Glasgow.  I can honestly say I have learnt so much from you from product information to great ways to teach. It has been a real pleasure to get to know you better.

You can find Katie here:

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