Full-time artist-maker, qualified teacher, self-professed cat person and proud geek!
Born and raised in Stockport, South of Manchester within a large extended Irish-Catholic family, I am very proud of my Manchester roots. In 2001, I married by best friend (affectionately referred to as ‘Bear’, as in Beardy Bear…) and we’ve been inseparable ever since.
I’ve always loved Art and making things. My earliest artistic memory is of getting into trouble for, quite literally, painting the cat! (I still say it was his fault for letting me!) and I regularly discover, whilst wandering round Tesco’s, the random pencils or paintbrushes I’ve tucked in my hair earlier for safe keeping!
Art was always my favourite subject at school and I think I was quite lucky in that we were taught Art, Craft and Sewing as separate subjects. Coupled with metal and woodwork in CDT (showing my age now!), I count myself as very fortunate that I got to try my hand at a range of materials before even leaving school.
I graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University with an Hons. Degree in Crafts. I majored in metal and textiles but have returned to ceramics in my more recent work. I enjoy not being tied down to any specific material or way of working.
Following graduation, I spent 20 years teaching Art and Design Technology, where I enjoyed working in a variety of 2D and 3D media – anything from hand-built ceramics to 3D printing, with a whole load of paper-mâché and digital illustration in-between!
After nearly a decade of teaching full-time, an opportunity arose that would allow me, alongside my teaching role, to push my skills further forward in Graphic Design. I’d gotten my first taste of digital art at college, using very early Apple Macs (essentially just Mac Paint, and black and white at that!) Many moons later I switched to PCs, Photoshop and Illustrator and have never looked back.
I spent the next ten years as the school’s in-house designer, producing everything from badges, logos and stickers to websites, planners and prospectuses and finally to large scale refurbishment projects that led to the creation of whole solar systems, huge word clouds, illustrated doors, walls, ceilings, desks and even turning an ex-toilet turned office into the entrance to Narnia! Whilst the small stuff was fun, it was the big pieces of wall art that I loved creating and am most proud of.
Whilst I loved this work, this was around the time that the policies of Gove and the austerity cuts kicked in with cuts to school budgets and the devaluing and reductions of both my specialist subjects. I soon found myself manoeuvred into redundancy, disillusioned with the teaching profession and faced with an uncertain future. This was when the opportunity to set up Kat Pearson Designs arose.
Using my redundancy pay out and later money left to me by my Dad, I set about turning the spare bedroom into a studio and equipping a small corner of the garage into a ceramics workshop. I started doing small crafts markets and learnt very early on to research carefully which events and organisers to trust! I count myself extremely fortunate to have met some very helpful and generous fellow makers when I first started who pointed me in the right direction and gave me loads of useful tips.
In the summer of 2016, I joined the Etsy Manchester Team, initially as a way of trying to improve my shop (still trying to do that!) but perhaps more importantly to meet fellow minded makers. I was missing the camaraderie of teaching and feeling the isolation felt by many artists who work from home. It was the best thing I could have ever done! Within a year I was helping out and a leader in all but name for quite a while, resisting invitations to make it official for fear of taking on too much. After much convincing from our amazing Team Captain, Emma, I was convinced to become an official team leader last year. As part of the team I have helped organise the annual Etsy Made Local event and monthly socials. It has really helped with my self-confidence which took quite a knock following my redundancy. It really is a team and we all bring our own specialities, experience and talents to the mix. One of the best parts about being a member of this team is that no one sets themselves up as an ‘expert.’ No one is too experienced to not have a question and no new member is so green as to not have anything to contribute to discussions. We are a true community, sharing ideas and skills to help each other succeed.
I continue to attend local craft fairs and the occasional cat show, seeking commissions for portraits and looking for retail opportunities.
UPDATE: Due to the current situation regarding COVID-19, all my sales are now directed to online until further notice.