As we open submissions for the 163 Annual Open Exhibition we chat to winner of the New Creations Coaching Award: Kate Williamson

Kate Williamson

Kate’s piece Rabbitmen won the New Creation Coaching Award

What’s your first memory of art?

My father used to take us to museums quite often in order to get us children out from under my mothers feet. I used to love the Natural History museum and the Horniman Museum (I still do). All the stories and explanations behind all the weird and wonderful objects fascinated me. But I have enjoyed drawing and making things since I can remember.
Were your family artistic at all?
In a practical way, yes. I had an aunt who was a fantastic seamstress. She could look at any garment and just copy it without a pattern. And we have some furniture my father made. He was rather haphazard and never made plans, he just started and worked it out as he went along. My mother has made some wonderful applique items.
How did you find the experience of coaching with New Creations?

It was all a bit of a whirlwind of exhibitions just after finishing my degree last year. A bit overwhemling. Alex made me focus on where I wanted to go with my artwork and helped me make plans to achieve my goals. Winning the prize at the RWA came just at the right time.

Were there any particular high’s or low’s in the process?

I have never found it easy to talk about my work and I was resistant at first. But it’s really important to be able to articulate the ideas and influences behind the art. It helps people engage with the work and want to find out more. Alex made me realise that it’s a skill you can learn, like any other.

Do you have any advice for other artists?

In the last year of my degree we were encouraged to make a website and learn to photograph our work properly. Since leaving I have been so grateful for this. Good photographs make a huge difference.

What was your big breakthrough? Career high so far?

I was lucky enough to be selected for the Affordable Art Fair Recent Graduates Exhibition in London. It meant that thousands of people saw my work and all the sculptures that I entered were sold. It paid the fees for my MA. Will Ramsay, founder of the Affordable Art Fairs purchased my life sized Frog Prince and paid for me to go to Scotland to install it in his home.

Are there any artists that particularly inspire you?

Paula Rego is a particular favourite. Like me, she often makes things in 3D first before they appear in her paintings and prints. But there are so many others!  Leonora Carrington, Kiki Smith, Goya, Dave Mckean, Edward Gory….

What is your studio like?

It was converted from an outhouse that had been used as a chicken shed. It’s very light and bright now but a bit cold in winter. Unfortunately I am moving house so I will have to find another studio. But I am lucky in that I can use all the fantastic facilities at UWE during term time.

Do you have any favourite materials?

I use porcelain for many of my scultures. It’s very pure and white when fired, it looks very fragile but it’s quite strong. I like it’s association with C19th dolls and figurines and I often combine it with textiles in my sculptures.

Also, I love the the smell of printing ink.

What is the last exhibition you saw?

A few days ago I went so see the Terence Millington exhibition at the Museum in the Park, Stroud. His etchings are just exquiste. Not only superb technical skill but hauntingly atmospheric images, and quite amazing colour…

To enter the 163 Annual Open exhibition visit http://rwa.org.uk/whats-on/open-exhibitions

Find out more about Kate’s work here www.katewilliamson.co.uk

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