Meet Kim Searle, textile and jewellery super-woman! We met Kim at a vegan fair in Manchester and fell in love with her quirky, intelligent and beautifully made trinkets. Anna even has a “Badass Feminist Killjoy” floral banner on her desk! Kim will be attending lots of Vegan fairs in the coming months, and also runs workshops regularly!
So, Kim, how did you get into crafts and textiles?
I started making things to sell when I was about 16, I really loved making things but have always been a realist and knew that I couldn’t keep buying materials and that there were only so many things I could make for myself and friends.
So you set up a business?
Sort of, I started selling things at Camden Lock Market and people liked them, when I look back at the first few things I made they were pretty dire and I feel proud of how far I’ve come.
What was your next step?
I went to uni to study Textile Crafts and learned lots of new techniques that fed into my work, around this time I started really focusing on upcycling and screenprinting. I’ve always put a lot of myself into whatever I make, I make things that I enjoy or would make me laugh while giving new life to old fabric, maps and more.
So, when did this turn into a job for you?
I started doing it full time about a year ago and left a part time job, it was a big leap but I’m so glad I did it!
Describe an average day in the life of you…
My days are really varied in general. As well as making and selling things I run a workshop business running workshops based on upcycling, creativity and community building. Most days I run at least one workshop in or around my home town. But it varies a lot week to week.
Generally I spend my mornings hanging out with my giant rabbit (Sir Anthony Hopkins) and answering emails, I tend to run a workshop in the afternoon or evening and make jewellery or textile things in between.
Throughout the summer I spend a lot of time travelling the country running workshops at festivals out of a bell tent. My days are also fueled by a lot of coffee, podcasts and trashy tv!
Sounds like fun! So, what are your ethical principles and how do they guide and motivate you?
I’m really passionate about sustainability and try and make sure the majority of my materials are upcycled. In my daily life I try and stay as sustainable as possible too, I compost all my kitchen waste, grow my own veg and try to avoid plastic as much as possible.
My partner recently went vegan too, so including my pet bunny I’m in a totally vegan household! I’m also always trying to do more good, I am passionate about art being a complementary form of therapy and work with a few mental health charities providing creative sessions. I’ll be working with some LGBT youth groups too on some art projects and a few womens groups.
Any words of wisdom?
There’s a lot of quotes I love that pop into my brain all the time, and I end up putting them on jewellery! But my current favorite is “Though she be but little she is fierce.” I’ve always been a quiet person and it means people often underestimate me and think I’m more sensitive than I am.
My creativity has often been a way for me to stand out when I’m naturally introverted, and quotes like that remind me that I am strong and brave. Starting your own business is hard, and while I’d never encourage people to quit their day job without a safety net, if you’re in a position where you can do your own thing, go for it!
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