My name is Kathy. I live in Helensburgh in Scotland. It’s northwest of Glasgow, on the banks of the Clyde. From here, you can drive ten minutes to Loch Lomond in all it’s glorious midgieness, and you can see Ben Bouie, a hill/mountain (it’s a hill) from our house, when it’s not covered in clouds. As of January 2017, Practical Kat is my full-time business (yay!), however I also enjoy working as a freelance medical market research transcriber.
Like many people I’ve always been creative and enjoyed making things. My mum always sewed when I was little, and I spent many weekends when I was small turning the living room into a gluey, thread-covered, paper maché nightmare. I always wanted to make the latest thing that I’d seen on Art Attack or Blue Peter (showing my age now…) and I’d try, make a mess, and then give up and move onto something else.
As a teenager deciding what to ‘do with my life’, I had to choose whether to pursue a creative education or a scientific one. In the end, I figured, I could always learn the creative stuff later but I probably wouldn’t be able to do that with the science. So I went to university to study Natural Sciences, and following that, did a PhD in Geochemistry (if you’re suffering with insomnia, you can read my thesis here). Alongside this, I was always doing bits and bobs creatively in my time “off”.
I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in 2009, halfway through my thesis, and I realised that the jet-setting, continent-hopping life of an Geologist/Academic wasn’t realistic, and I needed to find jobs that I could do from home. I spent a winter tutoring GCSE and A Level Maths and Physics, and began selling little handmade purses at local fairs. After that, I discovered Papercutting, which I did for a while and really enjoyed. I wanted to be able to make ‘things’ rather than just ‘pictures’, and I wanted to find a way to get my papercuts into glass, to make coasters and bowls and things. I bought a microwave kiln in January 2013, and that was that. I continued to tutor my students through to the exam season, and they all passed =)
Fusing is great, but it wasn’t long before I discovered glass beads, and caught the lampworking bug. Luckily, fusing and lampwork aren’t mutually exclusive, and I now use my lampwork skills to make murrine for fusing designs.