Kate Grebert is a local illustrator, graphic designer and mum of three.
Kate has just released a range of gift cards featuring her uniquely beautiful botanical prints and illustrations, which Chinaclay is lucky enough to stock.
We sat down with Kate to discuss her work, where she finds inspiration and how she plans to spend this Mothers’ Day…
- Where does your love of drawing and illustration come from?
As a child, I was inspired by family members that followed a craft (my Grandad was a carpenter, my Grandma a dressmaker and my Uncle a traditional sign writer). I used to love watching them all work so I think they collectively inspired me to develop my passion in art and design.
I started drawing at a very young age. I used to spend hours in my room copying Disney and Beatrix Potter characters. I used to love creating my own characters and made my own greeting cards for friends and family.
My love of drawing plants, botanicals and natural objects grew when I was at High School. My Art Teacher at the time encouraged me to draw and paint still life artworks so I began studying anything from skulls to cabbages to pine cones!
I grew up in England in the Kent countryside, all my family were enthusiastic gardeners - so botanicals have always been a big influence of mine. Most of my illustrations today are inspired by nature - I particularly love drawing botanicals, birds and animals.
- Where did you take inspiration from for your latest card range?
I wanted to do a range of artworks that included black and white line drawings of Australian Botanicals. Pen and ink is one of my favourite mediums – I love using dip pens and the sometimes-unpredictable flow of ink; so, I wanted to use this medium for the range. My botanical inspired digital patterns have added a ‘pop’ of colour to this card range.
- How do you foster creativity in your own kids?
I have three children and they are all so different in their interests and hobbies. We try and surround ourselves with lots of art, books, music and plants at home. The art is a mixture of my own, the kids’ art, my friends’ art and op shop finds. I love having interesting art books on display for the kids to look at and we have just been given an old piano which all the kids love tinkering on.
I try not to push my creativity onto my kids as I want them to find their own creative path. One of my daughters is very musical and loves singing and songwriting, both my daughters dance and my son loves very detailed, technical drawing.
My daughter has written me a song for Mother’s Day and my son has made me a clock in technology class! Handmade gifts make the best presents.
- What creative influence or philosophy has guided you throughout your design career?
My influences and style have changed over the years; as an artist, I’m always experimenting with different mediums, styles and colour palettes and am sure this will keep evolving. As an art student, I used to be obsessed with William Morris; his work remains a source of inspiration for his intricate and detailed decorative floral patterns.
Recently, my work is becoming more simplified. I’m enjoying the simplicity of line drawings, more muted colour palettes and using white space more. I think this is evident in my new card range and portfolio work.
Creatively I’ve always been inspired by the magic of nature. As a child, we played in the woods freely amongst the blue bells and played by the river to catch little fish. As soon as I finished University I travelled to Africa on my own as I wanted to experience the expansive landscapes, the magical dawns and dusks and incredible wildlife.
Now today, life is crazy hectic but as a family we try make time at least once a year to hike together in the Blue Mountains and experience nature – it’s so important for mindfulness, creativity, and togetherness. I have grown to love the Australian bush as much as the English countryside; spotting a Lyrebird on a bush walk is as magical as hearing a Nightingale sing…!
- What’s the one thing you wish someone had told you about being a working mum?
Where to start! Hmmm, to buy a slow cooker!?! I love cooking and experimenting with new recipes, however during the week we need quick, ready to go, hot and nutritious meals. We only bought a slow cooker last year and wish I’d invested in one from the get go – it really is a life saver after a day at work and then getting back from footy or soccer training late and have a hot meal ready to eat!
- What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever been given?
To be yourself – it’s so important if you want to be original and authentic as a person and an artist.
My Grandad always used to say, ‘Measure twice, cut once’ – I’ve found this very good advice too…
- Here’s a fun hypothetical for you: a client (who trusts you implicitly) has commissioned a series of prints. The subject matter is entirely up to you. What do you draw?
I have always had a fascination with birds (I asked for a pigeon in a cage for my 4th birthday…!) I used to go bird watching with my brother when I was little and my Grandad used to make us nesting boxes for the birds in our garden. So, I think my next project will be black and white, pen and ink drawings of Australian native birds.
- Where do you like to hang out, in and around the ‘hood?
To be honest we don’t get much spare time in between working and running the kids around to their various activities. However, we always manage to squeeze in a coastal walk with our dog over the weekend. Our favourite place for coffee is Huxtons in Bronte; our whippet always gets made a big fuss of there! For dinner, without the kids we love Pheast on Bronte Road. With kids, we love Vacanza Pizzeria also on Bronte Road.
- What will you be doing this Mothers’ Day?
After watching my son play AFL and my daughter’s soccer game, I’m looking forward to walking the dog with my family and then going somewhere local for dinner so I don’t have to cook!
- Where else can we find you?
You can find me on Instagram @kategdesigns, online at www.kategdesigns.com or on Etsy at KateGrebertDesigns.
Kate's beautiful gift cards are available for purchase here.
Photos of Kate by Andrea Asch - Asch Creative
Photos of cards by Kate Grebert