Kate Toms is a company of characters. Working in mixed media, she creates her own world of 3D personalities.
How did it all start?/the story behind the name…
Having ‘made’ things all my life, it wasn’t until a health scare in 2001 that I decided to seize the day and become a full-time maker. Initially I created a range of home accessories, many seasonal, which included wooden decorations, screen printed and stitched textiles and some simple figurative pieces which I sold through small fairs and to local independent shops. At the same time I was fortunate enough to stumble into children’s book illustration…but that’s another story!
Where are you based?
Seven years ago, we re-located to the southwest and now live in Devon. Over time I have rented studio space but now work from a shed at home – it’s a short commute and my making space is my sanctuary!
What inspires you?
A great deal of my inspiration comes from memories of childhood – my own and those of others. Old toys and story books fuel my imagination and my love of animals too. I’m fascinated by social history.
What is your creative process?
I don’t tend to plan too much…preferring to go with the flow. My starting point might be a word or phrase or an idea sparked by a material, picture or experience. Often an idea will ‘cook’ inside my head for months or even years before it comes to fruition so although I don’t keep sketchbooks as such, I do jot down notes and ideas as they come to me – it’s surprisingly helpful when some time has passed and you find a small light bulb moment glimmering inside your note book!
What are your plans for the next 12 months?
More of the same really, developing new characters, supplying galleries and working towards exhibitions.
What do you love about Country Living Fairs?
Being a self-employed maker means I spend a lot of time working on my own. Taking part in the Country Living show means that I have the opportunity to meet lots of customers face to face and to get their feedback – I find it recharges my batteries and I usually can’t wait to get started on new ideas for next time!
Top tips for makers/fledgling businesses.
Do what you love and love what you do.
Keep going, keep making.
Dream (a bit, when you’re not too busy making!).