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Kate Thornton - Artist Blog

Updated: May 28

During Holmfirth Artweek, Fair Trader will be hosting, as usual, two local artists' work, which will be on display in the Upper Room throughout July and August. Here, Kate Thornton gives us some background.

I grew up in a very creative family. My Dad is an architect and a painter, so we were always encouraged to observe and look at things from an artist’s point of view; our creative abilities were really nurtured. I always wanted to be an interior designer as a kid. My Mum worked as an interior designer for a while and I was always fascinated by the books and magazines that were around the house. After Art A-level and Foundation Course I completed a Fine Art degree – so I hoped my future would be in art and design, though I never thought I would one day be running my own creative business.


I work in paper-cut, printmaking and digital design to produce my work. I find these are the best and most accessible mediums to suit my style, which is usually very simple and graphic. I love the introduction of borrowed materials such as postcards and old maps – it adds another layer, allowing my designs to convey a deeper connection or meaning to the person viewing it. Most people will know me in particular for the use of old maps – I think these, combined with strong natural silhouettes, evoke quite emotional and sometimes sentimental resonances for people. A visual reminder of where they’ve been, what they’ve seen, where they live, or just a favourite place!


Growing up we were always outdoors, either walking in our local countryside around Holmfirth and the Pennines or being dragged up a mountain in the Lake District. All the while my Dad would have his binoculars in hand on the look-out for birds wherever we were. So being in natural environments, observing and really tuning in to what is there is something I focus on more and more. Birdwatching is an activity that encompasses all of these things; birds are the most accessible and animated forms of wildlife that we have the privilege of observing.


This area in particular and the proximity to moorland holds so much life, all there to be taken in, absorbed and fed into the work I make. The BEST thing about this area is our footpaths; we are so lucky to have this amazing free labyrinth of paths to explore, and what’s better than discovering a path you never knew existed just around the corner! Another reason I love maps!


Over the last few years my awareness of the impact our buying behaviour has on economies, communities and the planet has grown. The way I shop and operate my own business has evolved in response to this awareness, and the work Fair Trader does really highlights the importance of making conscientious decisions when we buy something. It was great to learn I could become a member and I was even more delighted to be asked to sell my work through a shop which holds up its ethical and fair trade values so well.

AND they do it in such a stylish fashion, what’s not to love!


Kate Thornton, 2021

www.katethorntondesign.com

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