Design Creative Of The Week: Katie Stainer [Ceramics, Jewelry, Glass]

Design Creative Of The Week: Katie Stainer [Ceramics, Jewelry, Glass]

The hottest new talent of the week brought to you by PSFK x Arts Thread. This week a designer who creates intricate paper sculptures from the pages of old books.

Dory Carr-Harris, PSFK
  • 20 february 2012

Katie Stainer

Our Creative of the Week, chosen from ARTS THREAD’s portfolios, is Katie Stainer, a graduate of Nottingham Trent University’s Decorative Arts program.

Why we like Katie’s work: We love the way Katie creates such delicate pieces from old books, giving the pages a new use and meaning.

Katie Stainer

Katie comments on her choice of materials:

Paper has always played a hugely influential role in my life. As a child I was fascinated by origami, paper cutting and books of every kind. My mother is an avid reader and my parents’ house is still filled floor to ceiling with books. I even spent my teenage years studying creative writing, convinced I would become an author! So it felt like a natural progression to design using the material that captured my imagination, and only logical that my pieces be recycled from old tomes with vivid stories like the ones that filled my childhood home. The recycled element is hugely important to me and if I cannot rescue books from charities or shops I work with local businesses to rescue them before they are sent to be pulped. It gives me great satisfaction to turn a well loved book into something new, exciting and unique.

Katie Stainer

Can you explain your design process – how do you start?

My design process often reflects my fascination with the world around me. I draw whenever I can, focusing on shape and line. From this I usually find sudden inspiration to sketch and develop ideas. I then create maquettes in scrap papers or loose leaves from dilapidated books. Once a design is perfected it is tested for durability and optionally coated in a water resistant varnish. People often overlook the fact that paper is an incredibly strong and resilient medium; some of my larger book sculptures will even support my entire weight! And once a design is completed I use my materials to dictate colour, texture and feel, letting the quality of the paper speak for itself.

Katie Stainer

Can you tell us what kind of commissions you work on and your plans for the future?

I love to work on commissions to create one of a kind pieces using sentimental materials such as family photographs or favourite books. I find this is my most satisfying work as there is something truly exciting about creating pieces from treasured memories and keepsakes, reinventing the role of an object once it has fulfilled its original purpose. I also have many requests for unique paper anniversary gifts and would one day love to take this even further and create designs for an entirely paper wedding! Though I have a feeling I’ll have to wait for my own wedding to work on something so elaborate!

‘Over the next few months I’ll be working towards opening a retail space in Nottingham with some of my fellow designers which I’m very excited about. I also have several exhibitions planned this year which will give me the opportunity to realise some large scale installation ideas I’ve been perfecting, during which I hope to run workshops for all ages to share the excitement of unending possibilities that papers and books present to us.

Katie Stainer


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