Hi Catherine, please tell everyone a bit about yourself and introduce your brand & range of products.
I graduated in Textile Design from The Glasgow School of Art in 2018 before setting up a textile studio in Kylesku in the North West Coast of Scotland, designing luxuriously original knitted textiles for the home and body. Cove, the name behind my business, is inspired by the hidden, secret places discovered within nature and our desire for escape and adventure.
How would you describe your style and where do you take inspiration from?
I am particularly interested in how individuals deal with the balance of safety and risk and living on the side of a sea loch, surrounded by the most dramatic scenery and weather, inspires me to work in a bold, instinctive manner.
For me, home is not only a shelter, but also a place of possibility and discovery. A home that has an unusual combination of colours and textures creates a friction that is both stimulating and engaging. This is ultimately what I am trying to produce in my designs – surprising flashes of colours and reversible textures that are visually and physically intriguing. A friction that invites the individual to interact and respond to this energy in a personal way.
Where do you like to create your work?
All design work is carried out from my studio in Kylesku, knitted in small batches in Ayrshire on German knitting machines and hand finished, by myself, back in the studio
Can you pick out 4 or 5 things in your working space that you can’t live without?
The huge window in my studio
which connects me with the outdoors.
from the past 6 years still inform my work. When I get stuck they always give me motivation and confidence to push some idea a bit further or to do more research.
Podcasts and music are fantastic at those time when I’m setting up for the day or tidying away all the mess to reset the brain. However there are times when its good to work in silence, when all you can hear is the sound of the wind swirling around.
A big table
No matter how much space you give me I will use it all; drawings will pile up and materials will get lost!
Can you tell us a bit about the process, and your favourite part?
I am drawn to the micro details that make up space and the language of a surface. I appreciate the contradictions of textures and colours that arise through the rhythm of changing seasons. My favourite part is just noticing something new – an unfurling fern leaf, a huge moss growing out of a rock, an undiscovered cave – the unpredictability of living in an ever-changing natural environment feeds my creativity.
Initial drawings reflect these textures and my aim is to generate a range of fluid marks and play with the scale of different shapes such as leaves, trees and rocks. I use a variety of materials including ink, wax, charcoal and pen to reflect the textures and the joy of working in situ means that the work is often influenced by the weather of the day. For me, it’s important not to think too much about how I interpret what I see, and using materials like ink and wax are particularly useful to create marks that relinquish decision making.
When you think about being out in the wild, the predominant colours that come to mind are nature’s greens, blues and greys. However a closer observation discovers the jewels within heather, lichens, gorse and other vegetation, together with the variations of seaweed, pebbles and rusted metal. The interaction of humanity brings the need for signposts and warnings, not to mention the washed-up debris, providing tiny but intense highlights of colour.
Can you tell us more about the materials you use and where you like to source them?
I use 100% Super Fine Geelong Lambswool, spun and dyed in Scotland and elastic, sourced from Italy. The performance quality of the lambswool is matched by the supplier’s exacting environmental and animal welfare standards and this level of traceability is personally important, and something I believe customers value also. Combining lambswool with elastic creates spontaneous structures and surfaces where the front and back of each design of scarf, cushion or blanket are often dramatically different.
As well as running Cove*, you also rent out ‘Kylesku Lodges’ with your husband, can you tell us about that and the gorgeous location in which they are based?
Our 10 A frame cabins are set in the wild landscape overlooking the expansive Loch a’ Chàirn Bhàin, perfectly positioned with uninterrupted views over the magnificent Quinag, just next to the Kylesku Bridge. We discovered they were for sale four years ago, and having never visited this far north before, could not believe what an opportunity it was. With our background in design and interiors, and Mike’s skills as a joiner, we could not walk away from such a spectacular location and a business that was crying out to be brought back to life. Incorporating my blankets and cushions into the styling of our lodges was always the dream, so that guests could be surrounded by beautiful textiles inspired by this wild landscape.
What would you recommend doing/seeing in your area to someone visiting your lodges?
Climbing Quinag early in the morning and having your breakfast at the top. Clambering along the path to discover the hidden Wailing Widow waterfall, just five minutes up the road. Exploring the incredible beaches of Oldhoremore, Polin, Achmelvich, Sandwood Bay all within 30-40 minutes drive, all with their unique character. If you prefer to be out on the water this area is also fantastic for kayaking, or take the short boat trip to Handa Island to see the puffins and other wildlife there. We’re also very fortunate to have two great places on our doorstep for food and drink.
Can you tell us something special about your lodges?
Standing at the glass doors of your lodge overlooking the mountains and down the loch is a bit of a ‘wow’ moment!
Are you working on any new products/projects at the moment?
The ever changing light up here is inspiring and I’m working on @100daysprojectscotland with the aim of creating some sculptural wall hangings for release later this year. My current collection of scarves are extra long and so I’m also developing some shorter ones for this Autumn.
WHERE CAN WE FIND YOUR WORK?