Our latest featured maker had an unconventional start growing up as a child actress and singer on sets and sound stages across the country. Later, Kathryn Zaremba received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and moved to New York City, where she was a design assistant to Jonathan Adler and illustrated textiles for Rachel Antonoff. Now settled in Washington, DC, she creates whimsical textile designs from a workshop she shares with other female makers called the Lemon Bowl. Plan a visit if you’re in the area, and read on to learn how Kathryn fuels her successful small business.
My day starts with: “COFFEE! Then usually checking emails and customer inquiries, depends on the day. I try to plan a couple of days (or several half days) that are dedicated to making. The majority of my work is creating pattern designs for wallpaper and textiles but I also make paper portraits. These are intricate cutouts I am commissioned by people to make, so it’s important to allot enough time for them!”
I fell in love with making things when: “I was in art school. I was always really into drawing growing up but art school is when I developed an understanding of a studio practice and work ethic. If you have a good work ethic you will likely stick to something long enough to watch it grow! I enjoy the process of making as much as the outcomes. I think that’s essential if you choose to be an artist or designer full time.”
When I’m in my studio, I feel: “Excited! And lucky. It’s taken awhile for me to have a studio outside of my home. So right now I am still pinching myself that I get to go there every day and work. I am in a shared space with several other women and having that community of makers has become such a source of energy. We call ourselves the Lemon Bowl because the space was a deli named Lemon Bowl before we moved into it. You should come by if you are in DC!”
Who or what influences or inspires your work and why? “I’ve always been drawn to happy, quirky, even humorous things but I am also a lover of art history. So somewhere in between experimentation with materials and processes in my studio and inspiration from the past is where my work tends to go. I would say my style is pretty playful, often bold, and definitely quirky.”
I’m most proud of my projects featuring: “A sense of whimsy! Last summer I printed my patterns on Spoonflower fabrics and created a video bringing my prints to life using stop motion. I made clothing with the fabrics for my friends to wear while they performed simple narratives for each print. It’s called Serious Whimsy and you can see it here.”
If I had to wear the same thing every day, I would wear: “Something with plants or stripes on it. I used to be all about stripes but I recently had a shirt made with my Plants on Pink pattern and I am OBSESSED. I wear it at least two times a week even though everyone knows I am wearing my own design around. Haha, I just really love it.”
Before starting a small business, I was told: “It can take years to get to something that is both sustainable and profitable. That advice was really helpful when I felt like I was spending every extra dollar that came in on the things I needed to keep it going. Not only did I have to have all the ideas of what to make but I had to figure out how to produce them, market them, and ship them! It’s a lot to take on, and it makes sense that it takes awhile to get it right.”
My favorite Spoonflower textile to work with is: “Linen Cotton Canvas because it absorbs color so well, and it so easy to press and sew. It’s perfect for things like structured jackets, making curtains and pillows, or lightweight upholstery projects.”
If you’re like us, you’re already perusing the Lemon Bowl schedule to see when you can take a class with Kathryn. We love the sense of whimsy she brings to her home décor offerings, and are eyeing this Subway Tile Wallpaper (backsplash, anyone?) and the cheerful Matisse is My Muse Wallpaper. Follow her on Instagram for even more fun finds!