The Up and Coming | Interview | Katie Alderson of Ideology Workshop

Having spotted Katie Alderson’s striking creations at New Designers this year I was pretty keen to talk to her a bit more about the brand she has been developing throughout her studies. Already equipped with a brilliant website, concept and some rather well-developed products it’s no wonder Katie went down a storm at the prestigious event and I for one am certainly going to be keeping a very close eye on this very motivated lady. This is certainly proof of what you can do with your time whilst at university, so aspiring students take note and crack on. Here’s a little bit of background on the designs themselves leading into a lovely little chat with the gal behind it all…

The Individuality Vessels are spirited creations which emphasize the individual traits of each of the star signs. Katie’s curiosity stems from Greek mythology and its significance within the world around her. Cleverly researched narratives and modern stereotypes allow her to playfully design artefacts which each tell a significant story. She carefully considers the materials she uses for each sign and the end result is a piece that has both a concept and the potential to be a shelf show stopper in any home.

Earth, Air, Water and Fire form the inspiration behind the Element Lamps and each one embraces the element behind it with a secondary function. Catering to modern lifestyles the lamps can also be used as candle holders, vases or purely as a decorative vessel making them super functional and allowing you to change your interior from time to time to shake things up as you wish. Again with a strong focus on materials and craftsmanship, characteristics of the designs include knitted bands, wood turned lamp bases, silver, granite, ceramic and slate. The quality and workmanship that goes into Ideology Workshop is really what compelled me to find out more about Katie and I hope her wise words spur a few more of you on in your own practises…

Firstly, can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
I’m a recent Decorative Arts graduate from Nottingham Trent University, hoping to set up as a sole trader within the contemporary design industry. I’m currently working part time in a music venue and bar, so I get to see a lot of live music. Before moving to Nottingham I worked as a dance teacher in Leeds. I enjoy eating out, the arts and my dog, Benji.

A Decorative Arts course is quite a specific degree, how did you end up choosing to study it?
I was very interested in interior design and spent a lot of time doing crafty things. The course explored such a range of specialisms and I just wanted to come and explore all my options.

The Individuality Vessels are such a brilliant idea, can you tell me more about how they came about?
Thank you! I started looking into the star sign theme in my second year for a jewellery project. I research and decide on stereotypical discrepancies for each star sign, and I like to think they each do have an individual personality- which makes for a great theme. I then use different materials to tell the story such as fish scales for Pisces or walnut for the Earth signs.

What’s your favourite vessel?
My favourite vessel is maybe Cancer.

“Romantic, mysterious and moody, Cancer’s emotional nature reflects the changing properties of the moon. They want to feel secure, and can be contradictory in their emotions.”
As it’s a water sign, I use opal glass and porcelain. I then used the contradictory rock materials to show ‘lunar-like’ crescents. The cotton represents being ‘tied down’ in a relationship.

Where do you find inspiration for your products from and do you have any method for collating imagery or materials ? 

My inspiration comes from information i have collated about zodiac signs. I compile a written file for each sign, along with material swatches. These give a physical aesthetic and help when I’m deciding how to put materials together. In terms of imagery, I enjoy mark making to get an unforced and honest result for the starsign. This would mean; bold brash lines for a Leo or small, orderly neat lines for a Virgo. I collage this together with colour to create individual mood boards.

With lots of students now starting to consider potential graduate exhibitions for next year can you give some insight into how you found New Designers and would you recommend it?
New Designers was such a fantastic opportunity! It is an exposure on a large scale and puts you in front of the correct audience. I met many industry people who have given great feedback and opportunities. It’s nice to hear what other people think of your work.

Do you have any advice for anyone entering their last year in September?
Make the most of it. Be the first one in and the last one out. Try everything. I think it is important to have a reason for why you are making what you are making; it makes your work more interesting and will give you lots to talk about.

What’s next for you? Any exciting plans?
I’m doing an internship for a designer in September so will get to go to LDF. I’m also starting a 2 year programme with Yorkshire Artspace in Sheffield so will have mentoring and studio space to help with the development of my collection. I’m lucky enough to be exhibiting at Mission Gallery, Coombe Gallery, Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair and Lustre.

Finally, any other upcoming designers you love?
I met a lot of inspiring designers at ND in London. I adored Scott Pirie’s glass chandeliers and Joanna Witcher’s jewellery, alongside established designers such as Hend Krichen, Lily Kamper, Pia Wussenburg and Curiousa&Curiousa.

Keep up to date with Katie’s progress and find out more about her Element Lamps and Individuality Vessels via her website:
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