Monday, 26 May 2014

Mug Shots: Kate Clarke

You may call it nosy, but I prefer inquisitive...but I'm always super curious to find out about people's tea drinking habits - are you a two sugars? tea bag in with the milk? slice of lemon? super strong builders? (I'm the last one obvs). And to top it all off which is your favourite mug? The one that feels just right in your hands and that you'd *prefer* no one else used thank-you-very-much? 

Well I've been lucky enough to have had the super sweet, talented homeware designer Kate Clarke satisfy my curiosity when she kindly answered the Mug Shot questions I kicked off with this post last year.

Kate is a South London based designer who uses screenprinting and papercut techniques to make her fabulous bright, retro homeware products (including tea towels, prints, cushions and, of course, mugs!). With her fresh designs influenced by Scandinavian, Japanese and 50s textiles - you can see why I like them so much! 
So here's the lovely Kate telling us about her fave mug, bartering with tea towels and how she became a designer of marvellous homeware...

What do you do? And how do you find yourself explaining it to people?
I am a graphic designer by day, screenprinter by night. Well, that's not strictly true but I do a bit of both really. I'm pretty obsessed with pattern, colour, typography and anything Scandinavian. 

That's a nice mug, why have you chosen it?
Like you, I have a bit of a 'thing' for mugs so it took me a while just to choose just one. This isn't the craziest of choices but it's my favourite everyday mug and wanted to share with you. It's a piece of vintage hornsea pottery and is so light and satisfying to hold. My mum bought it at a flea market for me as knew I would love the colour. Thanks mum!
What have you got in there? Tea? Coffee? Something with a bit more of a kick?
 Tea! English breakfast. I can't get enough of it.. 

When you you have your first cuppa of the day?
The first thing I do when I get up is put the kettle on. Can't function properly without first cup of tea (and big bowl of porridge). 

Are you picky about porcelain? Chippy about using chipped mugs? 
Hmm..not too fussy really (more particular about the design/colour!) but I don't like mugs that are too thin and delicate. 
Prefer a nice chunky one.

Being a maker of mugs (and other lovely things of course) how did you get started as a designer/maker? 
I've been working as a graphic designer for over 12 years but launched my own range of homeware products in 2012. I have been screen printing since I left university and always dreamt of designing my own range of products. After much deliberation I finally signed up to take part in a Christmas open studio and went for it. It's hard work but a lot of fun! 
 What's your favourite cafe/location for a cuppa?
I live in Peckham and there are lots of nice little cafes in the area. I particularly like Anderson & Co cafe on Bellenden road as the food is great. The lovely lady who owns it once let me use it as a photoshoot location as well.. I paid her in tea towels!
And the final traditional question:  How do you take your tea?
Boring I know! But English breakfast tea is my favourite and will drink it any which way really. Preferably with a custard cream biscuit. Slurp 

And that's it! Thanks for answering my Mug Shot questions Kate :) If you'd like to see more of Kate's lovely homeware (including mugs of course!) please do take a peek on her website.

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