Friday 6 March 2009

Introducing... Katrina Weber

Meet Katrina Weber, accessory designer, jeweller, innovator. Based in Adelaide, launching her label Kitty Came Home in 2004 with her now signature product, the vintage button clutch (pictured below). 5 years later and counting, Katrina has expanded her range to include fine silver jewellery, beautiful covers for your journal as well as accessories for men.

Each product features a strong emphasis on recycling and a love for things from ye olden day, and Katrina frequently incorporates lovely vintage fabrics into her work. Our favourite product would have to be the button clutch - it's good for the unintentionally uncoordinated ladies like yours truly. Just a quick wipe clean and you're ready to go!

We have lots of Katrina's work in stock at the moment, so do have a look when you're in the area.

It’s all in a name…
When my friend Holly and I came up with the name I was only making the one product the 'Vintage Fabric Button Clutch'. I wanted to use the word Kitty because I like to use the phrase 'put your money in the kitty' and being a clutch purse, that worked perfectly. I love cats and all things cute and cats + cute = kitty. Kitty is also a reference to my name, although most of my friends call me Kat. Came Home because so many of the fabrics & buttons that I find must think that their life is near over, so its great that they get to come home with Kitty and have a fresh start. Also the fabrics that I use have so many little stories to tell so using Kitty Came Home as a name provided the narrative I was after.

About Kitty Came Home and KCH…
For a long time I was only selling the one product (Vintage Fabric Button Clutch, pictured above) whilst maintaining my jewellery practice at Gray St Workshop and working part time. I clocked up a huge number of hours ironing out the flaws in the making process and learning as I went about it. Gradually I have introduced new products using the vintage fabrics and then a couple of years ago I decided to utilise my jewellery skills and I incorporated a range of silver jewellery into the Kitty Came Home label.

Earlier this year I launched the KCH Wallet (pictured below), this has taken me about 12 months to get from my original idea to make a wallet for men using the same re-claimed clear PVC that I use in my other products through to prototyping and eventually with the end product. I had been working with this material for so long and had often played around with ideas to use it in different ways, the PVC has so many qualities and I wanted to push them to their limits and see what I could come up with. My long term goal is to expand both Kitty Came Home and KCH as brother and sister labels, producing hand made, ethically outsourced and environmentally considerate jewellery and accessories for men and women.

It hasn’t all been easy…
Finding the right balance between work and socialising, I work from home so sometimes it’s hard to just stop working and relax. It has been a bit tricky working with industry when outsourcing elements of my production, although I have built many good relationships with the smaller companies, the big ones with the high tech equipment can be difficult as I'm just a tiny fish in the ocean for them.

…but on the plus side,
So many little things give me a sense of achievement, like seeing people out shopping when they go to pay at the counter and reach for their Kitty clutch out of their bag, that always puts a big smile on my face.

A year and a half ago when I made the scary, yet exciting leap into full time Kitty Came Home and gave up my job was a big achievement too.

My dream collaboration would be…
It’s a bit of a dream but I would love to go to Brazil and work with the makers of the Melissa shoes, too see their factory and learn about their plastic techniques. I love that they manage to combine fashion and design with new technology, using 100% recyclable and hypo-allergenic plastic. I'm very interested in the possibility of using this material and process in jewellery & other accessories.

If I could be any cat in the world, I would be…
It’s a toss up between Hello Kitty and my very handsome, well fed cat, Fella (top picture), but since Hello Kitty has no mouth therefore can't speak I guess It would have to be Fella (he is very vocal). Then I would get to lie sleepily on vintage fabrics all day.

And finally, what's the best piece of advice anyone has ever told you?
Perhaps my Dad who always wrote in our Birthday cards as kids 'Don't forget to hand ball'. Looking back I think he might have wanted a son to play footy with, instead he had 3 girls. As a result I sometimes think of my outsourcing as hand balling. It’s impossible to do everything yourself.

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