MEET THE MAKER

Hello and welcome. I’m Pippa, a vintage-loving graphic designer. I live in Leytonstone, East London with my husband, Jack, and our two sons, Ira and Arlo. 

I love nothing more than rummaging around antique fairs, charity shops, and boot sales hunting for forgotten vintage treasures. I’m so excited to share a little bit more about myself and my business with you. 

WHERE IT ALL BEGAN

From a young age, I’ve found fascination with forgotten things. Treasures that are unearthed from the back of bureaus, tucked into cabinets, and hidden in drawers. My Mum filled a Chinese cabinet with snippets of Victorian lace, bobbins, buttons, and trinkets. With these I created stories – where had they come from? Was the lace from the hem of a feisty suffragette or the button from a soldier’s coat as a keepsake for his sweetheart?

A first-class degree in Graphic Design and a decade in the commercial and editorial design world later, I’ve never let my curiosity for forgotten things go. Now I collect, create visual stories, and work with my hands; fully embracing the ethos reduce, reuse and recycle. You’ll find me perusing antique fairs (in all weather) to collect lost treasures, which are transformed into Curious Collections where they find a new home. 

As 2019 drew to a close, I started Pippa Kate Design, combining my three passions; collecting vintage curios, creating graphic patterns, and artwork that truly celebrates life’s precious people, memories, and experiences. I began making my Curious Collections; unique small-framed collections of vintage finds arranged together where they might weave a story, form a character, or simply belonged together and looked beautiful.

My first Curious Collection – The Adventurer – combined the artefacts of an intrepid globe trotter. Combining a gorgeous vintage compass and map measurer I began to imagine this person traveling the world, collecting specimens and writing in a journal, and to their sweetheart who they missed terribly. 

The Adventurer, 2019 (c) Pippa Kate Design.

The Adventurer, 2019 (c) Pippa Kate Design.

 

PASSIONS & INSPIRATIONS

The seed to start my business was planted a few years before in 2015 when I went to the Joseph Cornell Wanderlust exhibition at the RA. This exhibition completely changed my perception of ‘art’. Although Cornell’s storytelling is much more conceptual and multi-layered than my own, he has been one of my biggest influences, along with Peter Blake in particularly his Museums of… and more broadly, I just love seeing collections in museums, the history of Curiosity Cabinets and Miniatures.

From left: Observatory: Corona Borealis Casement, 1950. A Parrot for Juan Gris, 1953-54. Untitled (Tilly Losch), 1935-1938. Photo taken from RA, click image to see source.

From left: Observatory: Corona Borealis Casement, 1950. A Parrot for Juan Gris, 1953-54. Untitled (Tilly Losch), 1935-1938. Photo taken from RA, click image to see source.

Museum of Black and White No 5, 2010 collage with found objects (c) Peter Blake

Museum of Black and White No 5, 2010 collage with found objects (c) Peter Blake

Ferrante Imperato, Dell'Historia Naturale (1599), the earliest illustration of a natural history cabinet, image taken from Sotheby’s website, click the image for more information.

Ferrante Imperato, Dell'Historia Naturale (1599), the earliest illustration of a natural history cabinet, image taken from Sotheby’s website, click the image for more information.

I was fascinated by the symbolism and secret meanings of these two pieces. Not to subtlety in 'Unknown man against a background of flames' by Nicholas Hilliard, c.1600 showcasing his burning passion for the unknown recipient of this miniature. And i…

I was fascinated by the symbolism and secret meanings of these two pieces. Not to subtlety in 'Unknown man against a background of flames' by Nicholas Hilliard, c.1600 showcasing his burning passion for the unknown recipient of this miniature. And in 'Unknown Man Clasping a Hand from a Cloud' by Nicholas Hilliard, 1588 the hand coming down from the clouds to be clasped in the sitters, seemed to suggest to me a secret union, and indeed clasped hands symbolised a promise of loyalty between two people.

Storytelling is what really drives me to create my collections but I wanted the opportunity to tell someone else’s story and this lead me to approach, Armstrong Audio, my local audio repair shop, and coffee shop. Going in there for my daily caffeine fix I loved peaking through to their workshop and all the drawers of equipment and tools hanging up neatly. Upon speaking to the owner we collaborated on ‘A Day in the Workshop’. This double-width Curiosity Collection was also featured in their pop-up with Blackhorse Lane Ateliers at Coal Drop Yard, Kings Cross at the end of 2019. We used a mixture of vintage valves, dials, knobs, and other electrical pieces, along with tools from their workbench.

From choosing items in their workshop, through to construction and finally seeing the finished piece at their pop-up at Coal Drop Yard in 2019, working with Armstrong Audio was so much fun.

From choosing items in their workshop, through to construction and finally seeing the finished piece at their pop-up at Coal Drop Yard in 2019, working with Armstrong Audio was so much fun.

It was such a joy to work with Shamil and to hear their story, that I decided to expand my business and offer a bespoke service. Working with families’ beloved artifacts I’ve created Memory Boxes to celebrate births, weddings and to cherish the life of a loved one who has passed or as a gift displaying a lifelong hobby or passion. You can see more of my bespoke Memory boxes here and please do get in touch if you would like to talk to me about commissioning your own. I believe we all have moments that deserve to be treasured forever, unforgotten.

 

WHAT’S NEXT

I have recently introduced a collection of greeting cards and limited edition Giclee prints to my shop and I’ve previewed my first collection of botanical collectors card artworks – you can see these here.

I plan on complete three large scale Curiosity Collections in three striking colours, rather than smaller stories. These will then be transformed into a small range of beautiful homewares and an expanded range of stationery. 

It’s an exciting time in the studio and although I don’t want to give too much away, the best way to keep up-to-date with new launches is to follow me on social media @pippakatedesign and subscribe to my newsletter below.

Stay curious, 

Pip x


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