Friday Interviews: A Second Comeback featuring Katrinkles! September 06, 2013 10:54
Hello all, and happy supah dupah Friday! After another respite, Friday interviews are making their second comeback. This past week, I talked to Katy Westcott founder of Katrinkles and maker of laser cut necklaces, earrings, buttons, and other bamboo objects. So without further ado…
Introduce yourself! Who are you?
I'm Katy Westcott. I live and work out of a loft in Pawtucket. I grew up in North Providence, a few miles from where I currently live, and I went to RISD for Jewelry and Metalsmithing. I haven't always lived here but I really happy to be back. Rhode Island is awesome.
You laser cut all your designs on bamboo. Can you talk a little bit about that process?
A laser cutter is a machine that looks a lot like a large desktop printer. I use an open source program called GIMP to draw up my artwork. Then I import it into a program called Inkscape where I format the lines so that the laser cutting machine understands which ones I want to be cut and which should be etched. There are also settings that control how fast and how strong the laser cuts and etches which are based on the hardness of the material. Once the artwork is formatted correctly, I basically just push print and the machine starts cutting and etching the artwork out of my bamboo. I feel like it is a magical process, but truthfully it is really easy to laser cut. It is also important to know what you're doing and to watch it while it is working in case it starts a fire. I have been using the laser cutter at the AS220 labs. I'm not sure if I will always do it myself, but for now I enjoy the process and being able to control it.
What inspires you work? How did you get into laser cutting?
I've been drawing intricate patterns for as long as I can remember and decided to take a laser cutting workshop to see them realized in a different media. It opened up a whole new way of thinking for me. Bamboo appeals to me because it is lightweight, sustainable and has a nice looking surface for laser etching.
How did you get involved in Craftland?
I have been a fan of Craftland since the first holiday show, but applied for at least three years before I got accepted to participate. I was thrilled to be asked to stay after finally being accepted into last year's show. It was worth the wait!
In addition to earrings, necklaces, and pins you also make tools for knitting like needle size gauges and buttons. Are you an avid knitter or seamstress yourself?
I'm a knitter and I'm a jewelry designer, so my bamboo buttons and jewelry really came about through those combined interests. Buttons and pins are the obvious intersection of jewelry making and fiber arts. I am primarily a sweater knitter and started making buttons because I wanted them for myself. I started selling my wares a few years ago. I figured if I was going to spend the day hanging out with friends at local fiber festivals anyway, I might as well set up a little table and sell the things I was making. That's how my little business was born.
What do you do for fun when you're not creating cool Katrinkles objects? Do you have hobbies, nurture pipe dreams, posses idiosyncratic habits or strange talents, take any cool classes, or religiously watch any TV shows you'd care to share with curious blog readers?
I like to make stuff. I love to cook and bake; keeping up with what comes every week in my farm fresh RI veggie box is no easy task. Usually in my spare time I am knitting, but I've recently been reupholstering my dining room chairs. I'm also weaving straps on my inkle loom that will become new woven seats for a pair of broken caned chairs that have been in my family forever. I just finished making a brooch bouquet for a friend's wedding next month and I'm also knitting an afghan. When I'm not making stuff (or sometimes while I am) I spend a lot of time with my adorable little mutt puppy, Max. Lately we have been watching way too much reality television, which I probably enjoy more than Max does (and probably shouldn't really admit to).
Random question. If you could meet one un-meetable person, who would it be and why?
I have a way back ancestor named Freelove Angell. It would be really interesting to find out who this person was.