A few weeks back, before I headed in to join the other designers and founders at Kess InHouse, I called Nicole Ketchum, via Google Hangout. (Gosh, I love being an artist in this day in age.) Nicole is an artist based in Seattle, so because we share a time zone, we were able to share our coffee time and chat about design, pattern making and art in the home, before we both started the day at our prospective design jobs.
Nicole is clearly a lover of color so I was surprised to learn that she had recently painted the walls in her home grey. She reminded me that grey was a wonderful neutral that allowed her to decorate "beyond beige". We both began to laugh as I stepped aside for her to see my bright blue, newly painted couch. She went on to mention something rather profound: "I think it's sort of a sheep's mentality and sometimes beige seems like the safest bet...I think it's one of our jobs as artists to show people how to use color." "This is one of the neatest things about Kess, that people can bring art into their home like never before and artists can envision their work on more than canvases." We both agreed that designing and or painting on utilitarian products is more than crafty it seems ancient and gives both artists and their supporters the opportunity to curate their own homes.
It was so neat to talk to Nicole because she is a classically trained pattern maker and frequently goes back to the methods of the sixties. She has sold to various department stores in the past and as of 2008, Nicole opened her own surface design studio. She is a down to earth artist who is actually, in the very near future, about to adopt her first child. Given the special nesting phase she is in, I think it's especially interesting to have her most recent work with Kess because she is designing for her home every time she sits down and sketches out her initial pattern plan. She is designing something she would like. It's apparent that she forces herself to go through sketching and palette selecting before she ever sits down to a computer. Her passion explodes from her clean, sophisticated yet, super fun patterns. One day I will become brave enough to include our google hangout on here. Till then, here is a bit more from Nicole's mouth about her creative process and past. The images in the header our from Nicole's sketch book. I hope you enjoy a glimpse into this wonderful, creative mind. Thanks for reading. You can check out her entire line here:
KIH: What is your first memory as an artist?
Nicole: "When I sold my first piece, I remember thinking I had come a long way from what was in my head to what I designed, and now someone had appreciated it and spent their money on my art."
KIH:What is your creative process?
Nicole: "I like to walk in the woods. Look at design blogs and magazine.And then ideas start forming. Then the designs appear first as a thought in my head, and then I get to work from there."
KIH: What was your first medium?
Nicole: "Digital illustration"
KIH: What is your favorite medium?
Nicole: "Hand sketching"
KIH: What is your favorite color right now?
KIH: What common threads do you find show up in your work?
Nicole: "Nature-inspired shapes and images. Every day ideas translated into a pattern. My walking in the woods and trails nets amazing inspiration."
KIH: Where do you do most of your work?
Nicole: "At home in my studio."