Blog, The People Behind The Screen

The People Behind the Mic – A Playful Day

 

We know that many of you enjoy hearing about what we’re reading, listening to and watching. Like us, you’re keen to know more about the people behind the screen, the mic or the words, so this will be a regular feature.

Today, we’re going to catch up with Kate, the person behind A Playful Day podcast and blog.

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As we mentioned in our latest issue A Playful Day is a weekly podcast hosted by Kate. In her podcast Kate regularly interviews creative folk and chats about her own creative endeavours and ideas, such as The Makers’ Year.

We got to know Kate pretty well from listening to her podcast and reading her blog but it was a lovely treat to ask her some questions that we hope will encourage you to jet straight over to www.aplayfulday.com to listen in to Kate’s podcast!

Q: You blog about creativity and encourage it in other people, where did your own creativity stem from?

Kate: My family are great story tellers. We are all avid readers and my Grandfather in particular was brilliant at oral story telling. My Aunt taught me a love of History and Art while my Father loved Photography. I was happiest at school when writing stories and learning about other’s perspective and contribution to the world. It always comes back to the stories for me.

Q: You’re a keen (and very good) photographer and also a fibre lover – is there a particular craft that kick started your creative quest?

Kate: I adore knitting- slow, meditative and considered. Documenting that process was my first attempt at photography outside of those things I snapped when travelling. I used to love chasing details in Kenya or my back yard but inside, on a table? It hadn’t occurred to me. Now I live for capturing the everyday in a beautiful and thought provoking way.

 

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Q: Is there any crafter/maker that inspired you?

Kate: I would say I have a community of people that inspire me. I pour through blogs, podcasts and Instagram accounts of people from all walks of life that share intriguing images and words about their making processes.

Q: Do you have a favourite craft – one that at the end of a long day you look forward to?

Kate: Gotta be knitting right? Or if we’re counting baking and cooking it’s a new cake or preserving every time. I love just following a process through from start to finish while humming along to a playlist. Plus then you get to eat it afterwards.

Q: We’ve all read the studies about how knitting can be a great de-stressor and good for mental health – would you agree though that crafting in general can give you that sense of calm as you create something new?

Kate: I began A Playful Day at a time I needed, more than anything, to believe life could be full of joyful moments. I’ve spoken about it many times and whenever I do people pour out what craft means to them. I craft because I need to most days. I would absolutely combust without that pause it affords me. It forces me to concentrate which, when you battle a memory and anxiety problem is pretty crucial. It’s a good litmus test of how well I’m coping with those factors in my life.

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Q: There are so many benefits to being creative but if you were to pick one that trumps them all what would that be?

Kate: You find your people. Ever stood at a bus stop and got chatting about someone who spotted your skirt was handmade? Best feeling ever. We are in on the secret of how good it feels to create something with our own hands. It’s like a secret society.

Q: On www.aplayfulday.com you write a regular blog and record a regular podcast (which came first, the blog or the podcast?) – what prompted you to take to the internet to broadcast your thoughts?

Kate: As I said above, I needed to find a playful moment in each day. I’d been reading blogs and listening to podcasts for ages and just sharing on Flickr wasn’t giving me the long form documenting I was craving. I decided to join the conversation and launched a blog. About 9 months later I tried recording and loved it. Although maybe not the editing….. 😉

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Q: In your podcast you speak with inspiring crafters/makers – have you learned anything that has rocked your world from your interviewees?

Kate: Oh goodness me, yes! Every time I interview someone I’m on a complete creative high for days! I loved talking about the sound of breaking chocolate with Felicity Ford of KnitSonik or the importance of women sharing their voice with Melanie Fallick. My brain needs constant stimulation and is a big motivator for who I invite onto the show.

Q: For 2016 you’ve started The Maker’s Year, encouraging people to share their creative processes and projects – what’s been the reaction to this initiative?

Kate: Overwhelmingly positive. I love the variety of making and homes or studios that I’m seeing pop up on blogs, Instagram and podcasts. It’s fascinating how people have interpreted documenting their everyday making. I love it. The Maker’s Year (#themakersyear) began from a yearning for more reflective time to focus on my own daily making habits as well as carving out time to increase my craft skills. The Maker’s Year also reflects my growing commitment to sustainable living that impacts our environment as little as possible. Along the way I hope to find new voices and stories from others who will share their skills and lessons with us and share them as much as possible. The aim is to encourage every person to think about little differences in their lives that can have a massive impact in our day to day and documenting that in a way that is useful and inspiring for others.

Q: Do you think crafting/making and this idea of ‘slow living’ go hand in hand?

Kate: They kind of have to. You can’t rush most crafts and we tuck those moments in between the fabric of our everyday or we’d never have time to do it all. Slowing down and being present is a hard thing to achieve so making for our needs at home and within our families is perhaps the first step to living more sustainably and in a more fulfilled manner.

Q: You have a young daughter – how do you go about encouraging her to make things/create things?

Kate: She sees me working all the time. I knit while she’s in the bath, fitting in a couple of rows. We make most food from scratch so she has to help me with the bread or gathering nettle for the pesto. She also is almost always around when I’m making videos or taking images for clients if I couldn’t fit it around her usual preschool hours. She quite likes adding her own flourishes to things I’ve styled

Q: We’ve all slipped down the Pinterest rabbit hole from time to time, it’s a great place to be inspired. Are there any other sites or resources you regularly check out to get ideas?

Kate: I use Instagram hashtags like a search engine all the time. If I need to research something or want to create something I pop it into the search bar of Pinterest or Instagram before I hit Google more often than not. Also works very well for finding restaurants I’ve found!

Q: Do you have any tips for those of us who struggle to carve out the time to be creative?

Kate: This is something that I constantly struggle with. I think be kind to yourself, some days you just can’t do it all. If you have a young family know that it gets easier to do activities alongside each other and including them whenever you can is also helpful. As I said, I can be regularly found knitting next to the bath or around the playground. Most of my friends and family don’t recognise me without a camera in front of my face either. If I can have my hands working on something or be taking a picture, I’m going to be doing it!

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Q: There has been a dramatic resurgence in crafting and making in recent years with programs like Great British Bakeoff, Great British Sewing Bee and the Great Pottery Throw Down becoming so popular. In a way, being brought into the popular psyche has validated what a lot of us were doing all the time – how important is it that programs like these continue and grow?

Kate: I think they make it easier to access resources for both skills and the actual nuts and bolts of making. When I’m starting a new craft, the hardest thing I always find is the getting started. What do I do? How do I make this? Where do I buy the specialist things I need? Anything that means people appreciate the value of slowing down, making and preserving our resources can only be a good thing too. We don’t have to keep consuming.

If you would like to find out more about Kate and A Playful Day, you can find her on: Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Ravelry.

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