Last Christmas, (no I’m not breaking out into song), I opened up a present to receive a beautiful handmade clock from Kalee Jones, a contemporary homeware and accessories brand designed and created in Brighton. I’d featured the brand in my Christmas gift guides and thankfully the boy actually had the sense to use those to buy for me. I instantly fell in love with the organic grid and block colour aesthetics of my clock and have been an avid follower of Kalee’s progress since.
Launched in 2016, Jones focuses on quality over quantity, which is reflected in a carefully curated collection consisting of prints, clocks, coasters and even Christmas decorations. The handcrafted pieces draw inspiration from Scandinavian minimalism, 20th-century abstract art, and functional yet stylish mid-century design. Originally known as ‘Show Your Bones’, you may have seen Jones’ work at various Etsy events or hanging around in her hometown of Brighton. Designed by the sea, each piece reflects Jones’ current inspiration and her Instagram feed is a beautiful representation of this, be sure to check it out.
Earlier on in the year, I fell in love with a painting Kalee had created for an exhibition. I didn’t have enough money to buy it at the time and was slightly gutted about it but gushed about it profusely on the internet nonetheless. Lo and behold, a few months later, something arrived for me in the post and inside was only the bloody painting. A block of wood, hand-painted with the black and white grid, abstract shapes and a terrazzo style print – all in my favourite EJP colour combination of pink and bluey/green. Kalee was so happy that I had been so enthralled by her first ever painting in that style (say what?!) that she decided she wanted it in my home – talk about being nice, eh?
This interview was due to happen way before any of this but, ironically, time got in the way. I’m so pleased to finally bring it to you to spread the word on this wonderful designer and show that kindness really does go a long way.
Firstly, can you tell me a little about yourself and what you do?
I am Kalee Jones, a designer and creative from Brighton, UK. I create hand painted homeware and accessories with a contemporary abstract vibe.
Where did you study and do you think this helped you get where you are today?
I didn’t actually go to University! I chose to work instead, so have taken a bit of a round-about route into starting my creative career. I’ve done lots of short courses on different topics, from pattern cutting at LCF to furniture making; I’ve tried my hand at a few things before landing on what I do now.
Always great to hear of those who have taken alternative routes from the norm. Where do you seek inspiration?
The defining elements of my work are colour, pattern and shape, from structured geometry to my more recent free flowing abstractions. I love Scandinavian minimalism, 20th-century abstract art, and functional yet stylish mid-century design. I’ve always had a strong urge to “nest”, so when I was a teenager I used to collect pictures from magazines of my ideal homeware and decor. it makes sense that I now make it for myself!
Indeed! Some of your previous work has focused on mental health. Why is this important to you?
In my previous career I worked at a University advising students on mental health and wellbeing, so promoting positive attitudes towards this has always been important to me. I had worked with Grassroots previously and was aware of their mission and values, so came up with the idea for the Positive Prints. It’s been great to contribute to supporting mental health in a completely different way.
Amazing. You’ve also started blogging on your site, how important do you think blogging is for business?
I think a blog can be a great way to connect with your audience, and to show them who you are and what you’re about. One of my favourite blogs by a small business owner is by Rosie O’Neill – her posts are full of useful tips for fellow creative entrepreneurs. I’m still finding my voice as a blogger, so this is something I’m excited to work on next year.
And on that note, what are your plans for 2018 and beyond?
I’ve recently gone through a rebrand, so I’m excited to start from scratch and build up a whole new array of stockists and collaborations. The main goal for 2018 is to run a pop-up shop with a view to one day opening my own lifestyle store/cafe. It’s a big goal that feels about a million miles away right now, but you’ve got to start somewhere!
The silly ones:
We all love to know the answers to a few of the burning questions that are a little silly but clearly quite important. Here’s the little things I wanna know.
I have a fondness for all of the shapes, but currently, I’m getting good vibes from circles. They are very satisfying to paint.
#FFDED1 is a beautiful peachy tone.
Favourite thing to listen to when working?
Podcasts! Currently, I’m binge-ing All Killa No Filla which is a hilarious podcast about serial killers (make of that what you will), and I love listening to the One Girl Band podcast for a bit of creative business inspiration.
Shoes on or off at your workspace?
Off, usually with a very cosy sock on.
Favourite time of the day?
Early afternoon at about 2pm. Before I worked for myself, this used to be the point in the afternoon where I’d look at the clock and groan about how long was left of my working day. Now I look at the clock and think a) I made that! and b) why is my working day so short? I guess that means I’m doing the right thing.