Meet the artist; Kate Westcott
What is your background?
Like many creators I have been making things all my life. We didn't have a television when growing up and my mother was an artist, so a lot of time was made available for creating. I learnt to screen print whilst doing A level art at school and am otherwise self-taught. I spent the next couple of decades focussing on other aspects in my life, with not much attention given to my creativity, other than designing our Christmas card each year. Eventually, I decided it was time to do more art. The most difficult thing was to draw the boundaries, of not only time but space too. I didn't have a studio at that time; I had to become very clear with myself and my family, when I would l set time aside and what space would be allocated.
Where are you based?
We moved to Timsbury about 7 years ago. I have a studio in the back garden.
When and how did you get started in your art/craft?
When we first moved, it was my painting that I wanted to develop. After a year or so, I knew I wanted to give screen printing another go. I first started with making stencils and printing onto fabric and paper with them. However, I couldn't develop the designs with stencils - I was quite limited. I then founds suppliers on-line for screen printing materials and started to make my own screens. Initially I used the designs I used with the stencils and then I developed new ones. The whole process is constantly developing as I learn more from every new design.
What inspires you?
My designs often come from something that catches my eye in nature; it can be delicate and fine lined or simply shapes that are striking in their silhouette. I will start with a drawing and simplify it so as to create a design I can print with. I also find colours inspiring - mixing the inks and choosing the colour of the fabric is a large part of the creative process - putting colours together and seeing the design printed for the first time is still an exhilarating moment! The inks I use are water soluble and to create a screen, the design is hand painted in filler onto the mesh, from a drawing I will have already created. I like the fact that it is a very hands-on process and each print is unique.
What are your aspirations in art in the coming months/years?
Besides developing more designs and having the joy of putting new colours together, I want to develop my painting - I would love to spend time just playing at it and seeing what transpires.
What is your most memorable piece of work and why?
My most memorable piece of work is a painting - a still life in oil. It was the first painting I did in oil and probably the first piece of work I produced, after I had decided that I must make more time for my art, and to not just treat it as a hobby. The way it turned out felt like a reward for taking up the challenge.
What tips and hints would you give fellow artists?
In the last couple of years I have been running workshops in screen printing. One of the things that has come up time and again, from the lovely, creative, women who have attended the workshops, is the difficulty of setting aside the time and space to make. From my own experience, I think this is a vital part of many women and however short the time or small the space, I think if you have a desire to make and create, you must!