craft and co.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Murgatroyd & Bean

Tell me a bit about Yourself!
Hi, I am Kathleen, the person behind 'Murgatroyd & Bean'. I live in the beautiful rural county of Herefordshire, England, with my partner and two cats. I find Herefordshire a very inspiring place - it is home to apples & cider making, historic churches and strange customs; 'pressing the blessing', Morris dancing and ancient green men carvings. The local landscape, wildlife and folklore all inspire my work. I love colour and things with a twist.

What you do apart from creating?
As well as designing and creating for 'Murgatroyd & Bean', I am studying a qualification in creative embroidery part-time and I do voluntary work for Oxfam. Sometimes it feels as if there aren't enough days in the week to do everything I want to!

When did you start crafting?
As a child I could usually be found either drawing, painting or reading! As a teenager I used to make caricature dolls of my friends. After completing an art degree I found myself on a totally different career path for 12 years working with young people who needed help and advice, so the creative process was put on hold. My interest in textiles has remained constant and about 12 months ago I started to sew and create again, thus 'Murgatroyd & Bean' was born!

How do you work?
I have a studio space at home with a desk which looks out onto my garden. From here I can watch the birds coming and going and the crazy antics of the cats. I usually work with the radio on or my ipod playing.

What is you favourite part of creation?
I love working with colour - putting different combinations together to see what works and I love the rhythm of hand sewing. I am starting to work a little more with free machine embroidery, which is definitely quicker, but my first love will always be hand sewing I think. I enjoy working with tactile fabrics such as felt, wools and velvets and love it when I can 'reclaim' material which had a life as something else, i.e. a jacket, and turn it into a strange creature instead.

Any favorites?
Place: The folk art collection at Compton Verney, Warwickshire, UK Artists: Andy Goldsworthy, Clare Woods Textile Artists: Tilleke Schwarz, Maxine Sutton Books: 'Wuthering Heights' Emily Bronte, 'Rosie Goes for a Walk' Pat Hutchins (super illustrations), 'The Velveteen Rabbit' Margery Williams, Grimms Fairy Tales

How do you promote yourself?
I sell a lot of my work through Art Fairs & craft markets across the Midland region of England. I really enjoy the direct contact with customers. I also have a selection of my smaller items for sale on the Etsy website, i.e. brooches & decorations. Occasionally I sell through local galleries and gift shops and there is a gallery of Murgatroyd & Bean images on Facebook, , where you can also join the mailing list for the latest news.

Tell me about Kathleen in 10 years!
I hope to continue working with textiles designing & making, maybe taking some of the creatures I have created into their own story / books. Um. Watch this space!



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