Smitten with textiles
Katie Smith grew up in the 70s admiring her mum’s sewing talents and the bold patterns in her home such as the wallpaper, bedding, curtains and carpets. Then, as a teenager, she hoarded fabrics in her bedroom and learnt how to screen-print, dye and hand-paint fabric.
“Mum commissioned me to print and design t-shirts for every member of the family, including my grandparents, one Christmas. I’m not sure if I ever want to see those again,” Katie laughs.
Her creative talents and passion led to a career in the textiles and design industry and now she owns her own successful business, Smitten Designs.
Smitten Designs specialises in designing and screen printing unique and limited edition fabrics for interiors, homeware and furnishings (like the super trendy tea towels in our Kitchen and Dining Room Gift Hampers, and the Build Your Own Gift Basket feature).
“The core to my business is small scale limited edition production. I only print on natural fabric like linen and hemp as I use water based solvent free inks. I have also sourced some really beautiful organic cotton base cloths.”
Katie has taken a sustainable approach to textiles so her creations have a long life, and not thrown out and replaced by something next season.
“There is so much cheap out there, and it is cheap because it is mass produced under less than desirable conditions. The documentary The True Cost had a huge impact on me.”
Katie’s inspiration comes from other textile print designers such as Julie Patterson of Cloth (Australia), Ink and Spindle (Australia) and Neisha Crosland (UK) as well as Pinterest and Instagram.
“My inspiration has also come from the resurgence of appreciation for the handmade, slow, eco-conscience and thoughtful design. I also like long walks to de-frag and sift through all the images in my head.
“I love the uniqueness of hand printing and exploring its numerous possibilities and like to keep my work simple, spontaneous, experimental, contemporary and timeless.”
Alongside her textile practice, Katie also runs screen-printing workshops in Auckland. The popular sessions are a fun way for textile enthusiasts to come together and create their own unique printed textiles for homewares or crafts.
Katie has exciting plans for Smitten Designs with more homeware items and beautiful designs in the pipeline. Watch this space!
As Little Koha is all about gratitude and appreciation, we asked Katie who she is most grateful for and why?
“I have the hugest gratitude for my family. My parents who never doubted that I would pursue this path and always gave me so much encouragement, my husband and children for being my rocks, and my close friends who give me strength.”