This week I’m sharing interviews with some of the wonderful makers whose beautiful work I’ve curated in my Great.ly boutique. You’ve already met The Core Catalyst and Assemble Shop and Studio. Today I’m happy to share an interview with the lovely Kate Taylor from Taylor + cloth.
Meet Kate Taylor
Q: When and how did you learn to crochet?
A: My mum taught me how to crochet when I was young, it didn’t stick right away, though, and so every couple of years I would ask her to teach me again. Two years ago I did a day course to make a neon tea-cosy. This is when I really started to appreciate and love crochet. Finally I understood how the stitches worked together and it just clicked. I love that something as simple as a hook and some thread can make the most intricate and complex patterns.
Q: I know you do several other crafts as well. Does crochet offer anything to you that those crafts don’t?
A: I love making things with my hands and I’ll give anything a go, screen-printing, macramé, basket making, you name it. The thing I love about crochet however is the stillness; I find it quite meditative, even when it’s complex and you have to keep count and concentrate. It’s a great way to relax and tune out from the rest of what’s going on, and in a house with 3 small and very loud children, that is always welcome.
Taylor + cloth
Q: What’s the story behind Taylor + cloth?
A: I have always loved craft and making things, even from an early age, inspired by mum’s ability to make anything and everything. After having children of my own and spending five years at home looking after them I started to wonder what was next for me from a work perspective. I was already making many of the items you see in Taylor + cloth for our home and for friends and it eventually dawned on me that this is what makes me really happy – making and creating things for the people I love. So late last year I decided that it was now or never, take a chance on my passion or regret it for the rest of my life. It’s been challenging everyday since I opened my online store in November 2013, but so rewarding. I have learned so many new things and I’m inspired everyday to keep creating and making. I’m in the process now of designing and making new ranges and products and I’m looking forward to moving out of the kitchen and into our own studio space before the year is out.
About Taylor + cloth Products
Q: Your products are usually very brightly-colored. Is there a reason/ inspiration behind that or is it just what you are drawn to?
A: I love color; it makes me happy, it’s as simple as that … the brighter the better in my opinion. We have used bold colour throughout our home, every door is a different colour, the kids’ bedrooms are bursting with bright pinks and greens. My colourful surroundings inspire me daily.
Q: Why should people purchase handmade items?
When you purchase a handmade item you are purchasing someone’s passion. It has been made with love and patience and an intent to make something beautiful and lasting. I hope that people buying my products can see the beauty and uniqueness in every piece.
Fair Trade Crafts
Q: You mention on your site that you do Fair Trade work with artisans in Nepal. I love sharing this type of work on my site. Can you tell me more about it … who do you work with? How did you come to do this? What types of items are they making for you (and is it their design or yours?)
A: In the very beginning, my mum and I made all the Taylor + cloth products. I did the screen-printing and macramé and she did all the crocheting and sewing. This worked great for a while but as we began working on the crochet cushions we realised this was going to be too much for just the two of us. At this point I reached out to some contacts that had experience working with artisans in Nepal and India. I found a Fair Trade organisation situated in Nepal who not only employed many of the local craftspeople but also offered them extra training and an opportunity to expand their knowledge base.
Working with them has been amazing, and surprisingly easy considering the distance. We communicate by email, I send them images of prototypes we have made, with dimensions and colour choices. They then make a sample and send us a photograph. There is some back and forth and when we are happy with the sample we place an order. They are currently making our crocheted cushions, felt garlands and screen-printed totes, and the quality is amazing. It’s also great to know that we are contributing in a meaningful way to another community of makers.