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My creative space – Kate Broughton


Welcome to the first in an occasional series that explores the workspace of some of the city’s best creatives. First up, we head to the Lace Market where Kate Broughton lets us nose round her flat.

Talk us round your space

We’ve been in this flat about a year and it’s nice and light – it’s not large but the windows are a good size. The desk is quite organised, it’s easier to make up orders that way. The picture over the desk is by my dad – he’s an artist and he’s the reason I’m doing what I’m doing. I have a big stack of notebooks as I write and rewrite To Do lists; I’m getting a bit obsessive about them.

I put stuff I like on the pinboard – I love pattern and colour. The calendar is by Charlie Harper and I have some pictures up in the flat by him too. The picture to the side of the pinboard is by local artist Amy Blackwell – she likes cats, like me. The post it notes are a new find – they’re shaped like an autumn leaf, I’ve only been using them for things that are going to be stuck up for a long time as they’re too nice for everyday use.


How would you describe your work?

Piles ready for posting out...

It’s contemporary prints and illustrated giftware – that’s the official line. I do designs based on things that I’m interested in so there’s lots of bird designs, some holiday stuff and gardening/ allotment themed stuff. Also, randomly, cocktails (a large retro cocktail bar sits behind Kate’s desk). And I’ve just started doing teapot designs. They’re available in prints, cards, nail transfers, bags and brooches. I started off doing them randomly but now I do sets – owls, tits, gardening…

Everything is produced with the environment in mind. The paper and card I use are recycled, the see through wrapping is made from corn starch, not plastic and the bags are fairtrade organic cotton. The ethical concerns are more important than looking for the cheapest materials. I print everything up here – I have three printers in the flat.

What’s a typical day like for you?

Spot the To Do list

I start off getting the online orders out of the way and ready to post. Then I deal with the wholesale orders – there’s been a lot of these – or I do some new designs but I haven’t had much time for this recently. If I have any time left then I sit and reply to emails which I’m rubbish at. I go the post office in the afternoon. I have the radio or TV on in the background – I like Lauren Laverne on 6 Music, or really terrible TV, especially property programmes. Just something that you don’t need to concentrate on. If the windows are open then the street noise is really loud and I like to see what’s going on outside – this is a great place to live if you’re nosy!

When did you go full time? What influenced your decision?

Kate's nail transfers - the owls...

I’ve been full time since March 2012. My boyfriend Matthew had just had a payrise and I’d had some time off work with illness so I’d not had an income to rely on. It became obvious that I could make a living from this if I had more time to devote to it. I have a lot of wholesale orders which is great and I sell loads of the nail transfers. I just produced them as an experiment, kind of a joke, to see how they sold – it was just before the first Nottingham Contemporary Craft Fair. People went crazy for them. I thought it was a Christmas thing but the orders were sustained after Christmas too. They’re mainly the reason I could give up work. Other items I sell are often off the back of them – people get the transfers and go to my website or the Etsy site and buy other items. But originally I had no idea that they’d go so well.

What are your future plans?

Kate, hard at work

My website is going to have a revamp and I need to finish my wholesale catalogue – I’ve had loads of orders that I haven’t managed to finish it yet. And I’m going to my first trade fair – the British Craft Trade Fair in Harrogate so I need to prepare for that – I’ve got no idea what’s involved. Other than that, I want to do some more nail transfer designs – it’s quite hard doing images that are clear enough when they go that small.

Thanks for letting us nose round!

See more of Kate’s work at or follow her on Twitter.

If you would like to feature in this series then please do let us know by leaving a comment below or emailing us at We’re house trained and promise not to make a mess…

Sue is one of our team of bloggers. When not looking for excuses to look round other people’s houses, she can be reached on sue AT and followed on Twitter @basfordian