Designer Catherine Nice is the brains behind Kitty McCall, a brilliant new interior textiles brand you should know about. Her work is inspired by the boldness of artists such as Matisse, Gauguin and Rousseau, featuring glorious patterns that will enliven any room. First discovered at Tent London 2014, I decided it was high time I caught up with the talented designer.
Your brand was named for your grandmother, what influence did she have on you?
She was great! She only started painting quite late in her life but she had a great eye for detail and colour. Every year I would send her a painting or drawing and she would always have something positive to say. I would say she contributed hugely to my interest in Art and design.
You have said that colour is the most important part of design: how do you put colours together and manipulate them into a final piece?
Colour is one of the most important things in my work as it helps spark my creativity and really helps me shape my ideas for a finished piece. I’m a hoarder of magazines, fabric swatches and generally anything that can be of used to inspire future design. When putting colour together I often use paper cutting and collages to get a feel for how they work together. Once I know the palette I match them with the Pantone colour system to ensure printing will be accurate.
Where did you study and what was the most important thing you took from your course?
I studied at Birmingham City University. I learnt never to stop absorbing ideas and to always take a moment to take in the world around me. It’s amazing what inspiration you can miss when you’re not paying attention to the every day. Having an interest in all areas of design also helps keeps the mind and ideas fresh.
How did the idea for big fabric letters come about and how are they manufactured?
When my daughter Ruby was born I wanted some letters for her room but everything I found was a bit too pink or pretty, so I decided to get some made in my printed fabrics. Each Letter is hand made by a very talented lady I know!
What relevant jobs did you have before setting up Kitty McCall?
After university I spent 6 years learning my craft as a print designer for a successful commercial studio.
Why did you decide to set up your own brand and what has been the hardest thing about doing so?
I wanted to have more control over how my designs were used. The hardest thing is probably working by myself, as you have to be your own critic in everything you do. When working in a studio environment, with a number of talented designers, we can be each other’s critical eye and spot what’s missing or not working in a design, so I always found this a helpful tool. I overcome this hurdle now by trying to take time to come back to designs, and see them with fresh eyes! It means the design process is a little longer but by doing this I can ensure I’m always happy with every finished piece.
And what is the best part about running your own brand?
Complete creative freedom and flexibility in my hours.
What are your hopes for the future of Kitty McCall?
To work on more collaborations with fellow designers and brands!
- Introducing Fiera, a new Design Magazine: Interview with founder Katie Treggiden
- Tent London 2014: Textiles and Surface Design
- Carla Fernandez looks for UK designers
- Georgia Hardinge collection at the On|Off exhibition
- Molluscs, Microbes and Mutants: an interview with luxury silk scarf designer Claire Corstorphine