Recently, I discovered artisan Katherine Mary Hill on Instagram. I was blown away by her eclectic quirky designs and fell in love with her style. I contacted Katherine about a bespoke commission, a service she offers, as well as all the other amazing items in her Etsy store. I was to choose all the fabrics from a selection and sign off the design, the cushion cover would be completely unique.
The theme for the design was a bee, we discussed a colour palette and Katherine got to work. Firstly, I was sent a sketch of Katherine’s idea on some sample fabrics, all of which I loved.
I was then sent various pictures of Mr Bee on different backgrounds, I adored them all! But had to choose one, so I held my phone up against the room the cushion would sit in to make my choice.
I chose this simple geometric gold fabric background to let Mr Bee shine out in all his glory.
Next, Katherine sent me pictures to choose the placement of the bee on the background and I even got to choose the fabric for the back of the cushion cover.
The attention to detail and finish are just stunning in the finished article. I cannot recommend Katherine enough, from initial sketch to the cushion sitting on my sofa I felt truly part of the whole process.
Below are just some of the designs available in Katherine’s Etsy shop, a firm favourite of mine is Katherine’s Bowie inspired wolf. She stocks cushion covers, cards, pictures, brooches and of course the option to make a truly beautiful handmade design of your choice in her stunning style.
“I started off making cushions for me, because I couldn’t afford to buy all the lovely ones I wanted. I’ve always sewed, so it wasn’t a particularly daunting proposition and when they were finished I was really quite pleased with the result – so pleased, in fact, that I made some more as Christmas presents for friends and family. They were all really impressed and said I should try selling them. So I did – I made about a dozen new cushions and opened my etsy shop, and have been making and selling ever since. That makes it sound like I make and sell a lot – I don’t! I couldn’t afford to live off my business, but I love making what I do, each piece is completely unique… and I’m very lucky to have a lovely partner who makes sure that the bills are paid and that we can afford to eat (I do iron his shirts for him!!)
My main business is applique cushion covers. I love the size of cushions and the square format – it suits my work perfectly. I have a series of designs (about 50 different ones at the moment), and am always happy to make any of these to order in a particular colour palette. As well as the cushions I make slightly smaller applique pictures, and also cards using photos of finished pieces. This Christmas I’m going to try notebooks as well, with pictures of my pieces on the front. I’m hoping people will think they would make a nice stocking filler!
Ninety-five percent of what I make is made from recycled/second-hand fabric. I love a charity shop and am constantly on the lookout for “interesting” tweed skirts and trousers that I can cut up to make otters, stags, foxes, badgers etc. I’m drawn to and inspired by patterns, colours and textures and how these can be combined to make something new. I particularly love vintage fabrics – there’s something about the colours that you just don’t get with modern fabrics… maybe it’s the different chemical used in dyes back then, maybe it’s years of sunlight… I don’t know!
My best-selling design is a deer – I always refer to her as “Bambi”, even though she doesn’t look anything like the Disney character of the same name. The design is based on a photo I took at Kilnsea (near Spurn Point). I think I’ve made and sold around 15 of these – each one using a different combination of fabrics. But my favourite to make are the otters. I have so much fun giving each one a different expression and character, and playing around with accessories for them – I’ve recently made some with glasses! I was hoping to make a series of otter-shaped cushions, but I’ve realised that legally these would need to carry the CE mark, as they could be mistaken for toys. I havent given up on the idea – just put it off until after Christmas, when I will have a bit more time.
I sell in person at local craft fairs, and online through Etsy. I would say I sell slightly more in person, but I think that is the nature of fabric goods – you need to be able to give them a bit of a stroke to fully appreciate the loveliness!
Katherine will also be selling at these upcoming craft fairs:
5th Nov: Mapperley Makers & Vintage Market 11am-4pm, Haywood Road Community Centre, NG3 6AB
2nd Dec: The Nottingham Etsy Made Local Christmas Market, 10.30am-5pm at Nottingham Trent University Students Union, Shakespeare Street NG1 4GH