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Kate Jenkins

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Kate Jenkins

I grew up in the Rhymney Valleys in South Wales and moved to Brighton in the 1990s to study a degree in fashion textiles. I have always had a huge love and passion for creating things. I inherited my mother’s collection of Golden Hands books from the seventies and as a teenager I was soon experimenting with different craft techniques ranging from crochet to knit to embroidery. These books still have pride of place in my studio and I still go back to them from time to time for reference and inspiration.

I used work as a freelance knitwear designer full-time, coming up with knit and crochet ideas for designer and ready-to-wear labels back in 2003. After many years of designing anonymously for hundreds of fashion labels, I decided to set my own label, “Cardigan.”

Kate Jenkins

I opened the shop (which I still have to this day) next door to my studio in Kemptown. In 2007, I set up my first website. At the time I didn’t have any money to pay for advertising, so I started to create plates of food in crochet to get people to look at my knitwear in a different way. As the fashion industry is so competitive, I wanted to create something nobody else was doing at the time.

All of my work is a combination of crochet, knit, embroidery and patience.

All of this led me to the idea of creating an exhibition in the shop entitled “Comfort Food.” This was my very first exhibition, which was comprised of England’s favourite foods including Fish and Chips, Roast Beef Dinner, Sardines on Toast, Bangers and Mash, etc. The exhibition was a huge success and sold out. Shortly afterward I was approached by various galleries and publishers who wanted to work with me and exhibit worldwide.

Kate Jenkins

I haven’t totally departed from the fashion world and still design knitwear for many companies. I love creating ideas in yarn that can be worn or hung on a wall and I feel both my practices in fashion and art are constantly influencing each other.

I use any techniques I can to create the effect I want to achieve. I love to mix things up to obtain the perfect result. Most of the embroidery techniques I use are self-taught or from a vast collection of books I have acquired over the years. I am constantly searching for new yarns and sequins from all over the world, trying to find the perfect materials to get the desired result. I guess I have always been addicted to crochet and find it very therapeutic, even in times of stress when I have a deadline to meet. I tend to go into a ‘work bubble’ and become totally engrossed with whatever I am creating until I see it completed.

Kate Jenkins

An idea will come into head when I am least expecting it and I then have to create this straight away using my crochet hook as a paintbrush.

My work is influenced by the common everyday item, whether it is something as simple as a piece of bread or a joke someone has told me. I love creating something out of nothing and I embrace the challenge of making new and exciting work. I like to have a theme to work with and usually this involves the subject of food. In the past I have had themes such as a cafe, a supermarket, dinner party, American diner and fish counter. Currently I am focusing on a knit and crochet bakery. I love to play with words and tie these in with my art so it is visually pleasing to look at and puts a smile on peoples’ faces.

Kate Jenkins

There is no particular formula to my creative works, but more often than not it can be very spontaneous. I start with a few preparatory sketches, select the perfect yarns, threads, sequins, beads, buttons and such and then get straight into the knit or crochet depending what I am creating. Knit one purl two…sometimes it will be by hand and other times I will use my knitting machine.

Kate Jenkins

So far my biggest accomplishment has to be the knitted fish counter I created in 2015. It was massive! I spent a long time visiting fish markets around the world and as far afield as Tokyo. It was an interactive exhibition, so I was dressed as a fishmonger and people could come and buy a piece from the fish counter, which we would then frame on a plate. There were hundreds of sequined sardines and hand-crocheted mussels, clams, oysters—basically everything you would usually see on a fish counter. It looked so real that people were doing a double take! It took near on nine months from start to finish and was definitely my biggest challenge to date.

My art is derived from a vivid imagination and sense of humour.

Kate Jenkins

Which leads on to my next huge experiment—it will be a knitted and crocheted bakery that I plan to tour around the world over the next year or two. I’m still working on this at the moment; it’s super demanding but also very exciting at the same time. The bakery is my immediate future, as I never like to plan too far ahead!

Kate Jenkins

I just want to bring happiness to people’s lives. It would be a very dull place if there was no humour, so if I can share mine with the world and bring a smile to peoples’ faces then that’s my message. The joy for me is when I see peoples’ reactions to my work and when they laugh—that is the greatest compliment I can have. In the words of Eric Idle from the film The Life of Brian (Monty Python), “Always look on the bright side of life.”

Kate Jenkins

Kate Jenkins

I grew up in the Rhymney Valleys in South Wales and moved to Brighton in the 1990s to study a degree in fashion textiles. I have always had a huge love and passion for creating things. I inherited my mother’s collection of Golden Hands books from the seventies and as a teenager I was soon experimenting with different craft techniques ranging from crochet to knit to embroidery. These books still have pride of place in my studio and I still go back to them from time to time for reference and inspiration.

I used work as a freelance knitwear designer full-time, coming up with knit and crochet ideas for designer and ready-to-wear labels back in 2003. After many years of designing anonymously for hundreds of fashion labels, I decided to set my own label, “Cardigan.”

Kate Jenkins

I opened the shop (which I still have to this day) next door to my studio in Kemptown. In 2007, I set up my first website. At the time I didn’t have any money to pay for advertising, so I started to create plates of food in crochet to get people to look at my knitwear in a different way. As the fashion industry is so competitive, I wanted to create something nobody else was doing at the time.

All of my work is a combination of crochet, knit, embroidery and patience.

All of this led me to the idea of creating an exhibition in the shop entitled “Comfort Food.” This was my very first exhibition, which was comprised of England’s favourite foods including Fish and Chips, Roast Beef Dinner, Sardines on Toast, Bangers and Mash, etc. The exhibition was a huge success and sold out. Shortly afterward I was approached by various galleries and publishers who wanted to work with me and exhibit worldwide.

Kate Jenkins

I haven’t totally departed from the fashion world and still design knitwear for many companies. I love creating ideas in yarn that can be worn or hung on a wall and I feel both my practices in fashion and art are constantly influencing each other.

I use any techniques I can to create the effect I want to achieve. I love to mix things up to obtain the perfect result. Most of the embroidery techniques I use are self-taught or from a vast collection of books I have acquired over the years. I am constantly searching for new yarns and sequins from all over the world, trying to find the perfect materials to get the desired result. I guess I have always been addicted to crochet and find it very therapeutic, even in times of stress when I have a deadline to meet. I tend to go into a ‘work bubble’ and become totally engrossed with whatever I am creating until I see it completed.

Kate Jenkins

An idea will come into head when I am least expecting it and I then have to create this straight away using my crochet hook as a paintbrush.

My work is influenced by the common everyday item, whether it is something as simple as a piece of bread or a joke someone has told me. I love creating something out of nothing and I embrace the challenge of making new and exciting work. I like to have a theme to work with and usually this involves the subject of food. In the past I have had themes such as a cafe, a supermarket, dinner party, American diner and fish counter. Currently I am focusing on a knit and crochet bakery. I love to play with words and tie these in with my art so it is visually pleasing to look at and puts a smile on peoples’ faces.

Kate Jenkins

There is no particular formula to my creative works, but more often than not it can be very spontaneous. I start with a few preparatory sketches, select the perfect yarns, threads, sequins, beads, buttons and such and then get straight into the knit or crochet depending what I am creating. Knit one purl two…sometimes it will be by hand and other times I will use my knitting machine.

Kate Jenkins

So far my biggest accomplishment has to be the knitted fish counter I created in 2015. It was massive! I spent a long time visiting fish markets around the world and as far afield as Tokyo. It was an interactive exhibition, so I was dressed as a fishmonger and people could come and buy a piece from the fish counter, which we would then frame on a plate. There were hundreds of sequined sardines and hand-crocheted mussels, clams, oysters—basically everything you would usually see on a fish counter. It looked so real that people were doing a double take! It took near on nine months from start to finish and was definitely my biggest challenge to date.

My art is derived from a vivid imagination and sense of humour.

Kate Jenkins

Which leads on to my next huge experiment—it will be a knitted and crocheted bakery that I plan to tour around the world over the next year or two. I’m still working on this at the moment; it’s super demanding but also very exciting at the same time. The bakery is my immediate future, as I never like to plan too far ahead!

Kate Jenkins

I just want to bring happiness to people’s lives. It would be a very dull place if there was no humour, so if I can share mine with the world and bring a smile to peoples’ faces then that’s my message. The joy for me is when I see peoples’ reactions to my work and when they laugh—that is the greatest compliment I can have. In the words of Eric Idle from the film The Life of Brian (Monty Python), “Always look on the bright side of life.”

Kate Jenkins