Close Up Interview with Artist & Designer- Kathleen Starrett from Whimsigals

Katheleen Starrett at Art Bazaar 2009

Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.

I have been blessed to have been brought up in a family that valued art and craft very highly; my Father was an artist and my Mother is a talented needlewoman, so it was only natural for me to marry both art and sewing together! Currently, I am designing wearable Artdolls mainly based on the Ancient Feminine.

Who (or what) inspires you to do what you love in your own creative business?

This is a hard question as I find that I simply love to create, I love the creative process or the process of creating … I love how I will get an inspiration “all of a sudden” and have to work on the design until it is finished!

Where do you get your inspiration from when you design/paint?

I am inspired by both natural (such as autumn leaves) and manmade forms (such as the Venus figurines).

What are the five words that people who know you would use to describe you?

Creative, inspirational, energetic, intelligent, eclectic

Tell us about your very first job and what path have you taken since then?

I worked with my Father every weekend, taking photos of the winning racehorses crossing the finishing line at the races and trots.  Dad worked in the photographic tower and I worked down at track level.  Dad’s photos were used to confirm the winning horses and mine were printed in the local newspaper.

I was offered an apprenticeship in photography by a family friend, but, it did not come to pass.

Over the years I often used art as a creative outlet, so, did not do “anything” with it until my Mum suggested that we have a market stall in 1992, since then I have been exploring different creative ideas and designing my own work – from country decor to the wearable artdolls that I am currently designing and making!

Describe a typical day in your studio space?

I find that Fridays are my favourite day to work in my studio, and that I am at my most productive. Typically, I usually have a lot of dolls in various stages of completion, so, if I do not have any doll orders, I will continue to work on these dolls.

If I have a doll order, then I will sit in meditation, thinking about the person and their doll requirements, allowing any ideas to surface – I will either write down words/phrases/colours or sketch the images that come up.  Then I will create a template, audition possible fabrics and embellishments and make up the doll. Sometimes, I will also make a prototype to work out any design problems before I commence the doll.  I also like to document the process with written instructions and photos as well.

… And if the “Creative Muse” has struck me, then, I will design a new doll very much like creating a custom order!

Studio Space

As a Designer/Crafter, what is your biggest frustration?

Probably running out of matching beads/buttons/threads/fabric when I have a new idea!

Tell us about how you prioritise your studio work.

Custom orders, the “meat and potato” artdolls and then new ideas

Since you are working at home, can you please tell us about how do you connect with other artists, and your customers (i.e. how do you network)?

I network with other artists and customers via my Facebook page, my WhimsiGals blog, and DUST (Down Under Street Team) group and in person at markets such as Olive Tree Markets or Art Bazaar.

What advice can you offer other creative people who are just starting out and following their passions?

Trust the process and don’t be afraid to make mistakes (as these “mis-takes” will often lead to wonderful new directions!)

What dreams do you still want to achieve or fulfil in your life?

I would love to travel overseas, especially to the UK and visit Stonehenge, Glastonbury, Cornwall…

What is your proudest moment so far?

This is another hard question as I have many “proud moments” … but, I would have to say coming first (out of 770 people) in my psychology class was a very proud moment for me!!

Who do you most want to meet and why?

Bon Jovi

I love his ballads as they speak to me of hard life lessons learned, yet there is also a message of hope and of being able to overcome the challenges that life throws in our way.

 Snake Goddess

 What is the most important lesson in life that you have learned?

That the only way to overcome fear … is to meet it face on.

What book are you reading right now, and do you have a book you would like to recommend?

I am reading “Tully” by Paullina Simons
I would like to recommend “Beading with Cabochons” by Jamie Cloud Eakin – this is one of my favourite beading books and it has simple instructions with good diagrams to follow!

Where do we find you and your products?

Etsy Store:
Vinh Van Lam
the authorVinh Van Lam
Vinh Van Lam, co-founder of ArtSHINE, is a visionary art coach and entrepreneur with a passion for fostering creativity. With a diverse background in art and business, he brings a unique perspective to empower emerging artists, enabling them to thrive in the dynamic art industry through the innovative platform of ArtSHINE.


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