If you’ve seen your mother or grandmother make lovely socks, mittens, and other woolen items with a hooked needle consider yourself lucky. This, now almost-extinct art of crochet, is being slowly consigned to history by the onslaught of readymade items.
Perhaps Kate Jenkins was the lucky one, she not only saw her mother and grandmother crochet but was taught this art as a small child, when she was barely an eight-year-old. She got totally hooked to it is an understatement. She not only continued with it as a knitwear designer but also trained herself to be a crochet artist at her home in Wales, UK. And what she does as an artist is simply unbelievable!
Kate crochets seafood items that look ready to eat. Says she, “I’ve always had a fascination with fish and have spent many years perfecting how to make them look as realistic as possible in yarn and sequins. It gives me great pleasure when I manage to perfect a certain type of fish, crustacean or cephalopod and I’m constantly looking at ways to improve my techniques.”
Kate’s passion for crochet made her enroll in the University of Brighton, where she graduated with a BA (Honors) in Fashion & Textiles in 1995. After this, she chose knitwear designing as her career and there has been no looking back since then. Her designs have been taken up by some of the world’s most famous labels, such as Donna Karan, Missoni, Ralph Lauren, to name just a few.
However, it was Kate’s obsession with discovering newer ways to use wool, textile, and color that led her to food. Its complexity challenged her creative mind. She started knitting dishes such as fish and chips in wool. It was seafood that interested her the most.
To see how fish and other sea creatures were displayed in various countries took Kate around the world. She visited countries, such as UK, France, and Japan, and others just to study these culinary delights and transpose what she saw into her favorite yarn through her amazing crochet skills.
Kate held her first exhibition in her Brighton studio and, despite her reservations, it turned out to be a runaway success. After this, she has done many solo shows. In 2015, she entered the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexander Palace, London, where she showcased a whole fish counter and even dressed up as a fishmonger, just to get into the character!
Kate’s current project is to crochet a bakery that will be displayed at the Handmade festival in Barcelona in May 2019. This time there will be no fish, but only bread, cakes, and other bakery products. She doesn’t mind since her objective is to make people smile.