• Katie Ebben Smith

Designing, Learning and Snowdrop Season at tablet+HAAR

It's been a while since I last wrote a post - so a big cheery hello to all of you. If you are here for the first time, or it's been so long since you last heard from me that you've forgotten what I am about; I can promise textiles and printing, my design inspiration and lots of nature based images from this beautiful corner of Scotland where I live and work.


At the start of each year I hide away in the studio designing new collections and embark on an online course to help me learn a new skill. Last year I did a finance course (interesting and very useful but not that exciting), this year I have been learning how to use my camera and taking pictures on manual settings only. I had fallen into the habit of just using my phone to take photos, it's so easy and always to hand but I was getting a little frustrated with the end results.


If you are looking for a photography course, then I recommend Lost In The Light with www.themelias.co They teach in an intuitive way that makes all the technical stuff really straight forward, with a strong emphasis on finding your own style. All of the pictures I am sharing here have been taken on my camera while I have been doing the course, they are not technically perfect by any means - spot the wonky horizon - but I feel they capture what this month has been about.


New designs and projects

As well as working on photography assignments, January and February have been a time of printing commissions as well as drawing and painting imagery in my sketchbooks. These sketches are slowly evolving in to new fabric designs, art prints and wall hangings. Expect birds, lots of coastal inspired textures and uplifting, vibrant colour. For me colour sparks joy and I think we all need as much of that as we can get - here's a wee taster of work in progress.


I am excited about launching my luxury hand bound sketch books, which will be coming to our website soon and are being made in collaboration with talented bookbinder, Sue Florence of helloflorrie . I am also busy getting organised with four other East Neuk Makers, for our new pop up shop which will be opening in Crail at Easter. More on that nearer the time.


Does anyone love February?

I don't have a favourite season or month but I am least keen on February. The post Christmas high that carries me through January has long gone and the weather is invariably pants. But this February, although wild and gusty, has had the most incredible golden light and snowdrops, and I have been obsessed by both. I am fortunate to live a couple of miles away from Cambo Gardens which is famous for their snowdrop collection and is magical at this time of year. Their woodlands are carpeted with the delicate, pristine blooms and were the inspiration for my photography project on composition and story telling.



After the best part of a day spent mostly crouching in the mud I thought I had made a terrible mistake choosing these tiny flowers, with their drooping heads, as my theme. Trying to get images which worked together and didn't feel too repetitive seemed like an impossible task but I'd started and decided to stick with it and in the end really enjoyed the whole process. Although I still have loads and loads to learn about photography, I am now having a lot of fun with my camera and seeing things in a different way and I am sure that over time, this will feed into my design work too.



Phew...

If you have managed to read this far without overdosing on snowdrops, well done and thank you!

I think we have all earned a cup of tea - which reminds me to tell you that my fine bone china mugs are now back in stock and you can find them here .

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