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Meet Local Maker The Crafty Brum
Kate Jones is the artist behind The Crafty Brum and our fantastic city is her inspiration. Kate’s pieces celebrate local architecture and she brings these landmarks to life with her distinctive plant illustrations.
What first fuelled your passion to make/ create your designs/ products?
I’m an Aussie who only relocated to Birmingham 5 years ago but my Dad was born here so I feel a strong connection to the city. People would often ask me ‘Why Birmingham?’ so I decide to try and use my art as a way to convey all there is to love about it. The landmarks that feature in my work are places where I have created fond memories and this clearly resonates with many others, who are also proud of our city too. Birmingham may be titled the second city but I, like many others, have chosen it as my first.
Tell us about the origins of your business.
I have always enjoyed being artistic and during the first lockdown I used the extra time to be more creative. I began illustrating various landmarks and documenting these on social media and people began to express an interest in purchasing these and so The Crafty Brum began.
What’s your motto?
‘From little acorns mighty oaks grow’ is a positive phrase I often think of.
How would you describe your designs / products?
Brummie and botanical. I love both Birmingham and plants, so why not combine the two? My style is fine line drawing with contrasting bright backgrounds that really celebrates the illustration.
What was the first success / landmark moment for your designs / product range?
The ‘Floozie in the Jacuzzi’ was one of the first pieces I created and really did launch my brand. I think she’s such an icon for our city and lots of other people seem to agree.
Tell us about your materials - where do you source your materials from?
I use fine liner pens and markers, watercolour paints, acrylic paints and acid free matt paper which I source from various art suppliers. As nature is at the centre of my business it is important to me to be eco friendly and I have managed to find all recyclable packaging including paper bubble wrap and compostable protective sleeves.
Tell us about your making process?
I take inspiration from the local landmarks in our city, hand drawing each of these and adding signature plants to complete my designs. These are printed onto hand painted backgrounds making each one a bespoke piece of artwork.
Have you ever had any interesting commissions?
I love working alongside my customers to complete special commissions and one of my favourite things is to recreate people’s own homes where I can also include their much-loved plants as part of the illustration.
Do you have a favourite of the Birmingham museums? If so, why?
Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery has to be my favourite, in particular I love its focus on Birmingham’s rich history, which I find fascinating to learn about. I always finish the visit by popping to the Edwardian Tearoom as it’s such a beautiful space too!
And finally, a tourist arrives in Birmingham for the first time ever, where do you take them?
Pre-pandemic I would often have Australian friends visit and I would get busy selling the city to them! One of my favourite things to do has got to be mooching around the city to check out all of Birmingham’s most famous landmarks including taking a view of the city from above from the Library’s Secret Garden and then a walk around the canals. Then we’re going to wander down to Digbeth and have a look at all the amazing street art and grab a pint and a bite to eat in Birmingham’s oldest pub, The Old Crown.