The Howe Collective are a group of creative women who are working together to boost their businesses and drive forward their efforts. They are currently working together on a pop up shop, to be held on Cupar, Fife on March 20 for more information read our piece on the group and the event here.
“I was so nervous when I listed my first picture, as I really felt I was stepping out on a limb. It was received so well that I was a bit bowled over and things just ran from there.”
Combing the beaches of Fife, Katy Keddie, comes across sea-worn glass and pottery and sees stories in the fragments of lives, discarded in the sands at her feet, which inspire her creativity.
“It is a joy to create a new piece of art with these little pieces of history,” she said.
Whereas many are inspired to turn seaglass into jewellery, Katie creates pictures with her finds, setting them on watercolour paper with ink or watercolour backgrounds to create delicate images.
“I came to my creative business after quite a hard time for our family,” said Katy. “We had just lost my mother in law when I was starting to dream up my business and it hit us all very hard. I had always been a massive beach lover and enthusiastic beachcomber and had initially thought to just sell my finds as they were. I knew of other artists who created jewellery with sea glass, but I wasn’t drawn to that as a way of using my beautiful finds and decided to try creating pictures instead.”
Trained as a scientist, studying Mathematics and Statistics at university, then a Masters in Environmental Biology and finally a DPhil in entomology, Katy has never had any formal arts training, not even so much as a GCSE.
“I have always loved art,” said Katy. “I used to paint and draw lots when I was younger, and I feel I have come back to it after having my children. I am pretty much self-taught as an artist and just try to replicate the beauty of what I see around me.
She added: “It feels very grand to me to say that I am an artist. It’s taken me probably at least two years to accept that I am one! I really just love creating pictures with my beach finds and if other people love them too, than that is just a bonus.”
Inspired by the world around her, particularly the coast and her garden, Katy’s work features natural themes – particularly the sea, birds and animals – and is constantly developing.
She said: “I like the style of picture I create now and feel that it has really developed since my first pieces. The pictures feel more refined and sophisticated compared with my pictures from two years ago.”
Katy’s business acumen and ambition is also progressing – due in no small part to being part of The Howe Collective – a group of women who have come together to support each other and work together for their benefit and the benefit of their communities and other small businesses.
“We all have a desire to try and help each other and other small local businesses flourish,” said Katie.
“The collective has been really beneficial to me. Just chatting with other creative people running a business has helped give me ideas, think about how I do things and what I could do better. I think we would all say we have learnt from each other how to better do certain aspects of our businesses. The collective has inspired me to go for opportunities that last year I probably wouldn’t have gone for. For instance, I will be exhibiting work in a local café/coffee house in June and July. I never would have applied for that before, but I feel having their encouragement has really helped.”
“I can highly recommend the work of several crafters. Firstly, Julie West, artist. Julie works mainly in watercolours and is based near me in Fife. She is a very talented artist and I recently bought a costal picture from her, in oil colours, which she has just started experimenting in.
“I also love the work of Mudness Ceramics. They are based in the North of Scotland and create amazing vases, mugs – I currently own two!”