Monday, November 26, 2007

Interviewed by Pippit Carlington

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Art As Universal Language
Nera Blums Sterling Silver Earrings - $22.50Flower post earrings, 1 cm - .5 inch wide with black oxidized stamen

Catherine Marche of Kalicat Designs has an extensive background in graphic arts and graduated from the University of Orléans (FRANCE) in 1990 in Mathematics and Physics, Beaux-Arts d'Orléans, Conservatoire National de Musique, from 1990-91 the University of Vermillion (USA), graduated in Computer Sciences and Music, 98-2000 Central St Martins College of Art and Design, Etching - Photoshop and web design.

In the year 2000 she went on to study at Putney School of Arts, Screenprinting, then in 2001 at Artichoke Studios - Lithography, Bankside Gallery – Linocut, in 2003 learned Book Illustration at the Chelsea School of Arts, then learned Adobe Illustrator in 2003, and studied Fashion Illustration at the London College of Fashion in 2005.

She worked for 10 years as an IT consultant, and then went on to become a Fashion Illustrator, putting to work a lot of the skills she had previously learned.

Born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, Paris, in 1967, then growing up in several countries, Catherine learned to speak several languages. She often changed schools as often as 3 times a year. Her ability to adapt to many different environments came in handy later in life.
"I grew up in several countries as my Dad was in the airforce.
I went to kindergarten in Germany, then Primary school in Germany, Africa and back to France. I love the fact it made me bilingual and have a real easiness learning new foreign languages. I also speak English, Spanish, a bit of Dutch and Creole and am learning Japanese. I stil have a love of travelling and discovering new cultures. I studied in the USA and noe live in London UK."
Catherine has a love of colors, feels she may be influenced by Die Brucke artists like Otto Mueller. "I also love Dali, Picasso and am crazy for Nikki de St Phalle and Louise Bourgois, "she remarks. "I have also collected a few African artefacts and sculptures made of wood which are a delight to my senses."
Her parents were very permissive and went further than most to nurture the artistic qualities in their child. "As a child, my parents "gave me" free expression on my walls, which still have some murals to these days and my brothers and I also had a few notebooks where we could write and draw everything we wanted. My parents always encouraged all artistic expression and allowed me to learn music. I have a degree in music and still paint, illustrated, play the pianio, and the saxophone."
In addition to having worked as an IT consultant she has worked as an interpreter, a model, a translator, a math teacher, a private tutor, an arts teacher at various times during her life.
Now she doesn't exhibit as much as she used to since her children have been born but in addition to making jewelry she currently paints, does Fashion design, and designs wedding invitations.
Some of her work is still on display in a museum in Tayali (Zambia).
She sites among the disadvantages of being a jewelry artist in the UK; the cost of living being so high there making it hard to compete with US prices, and the advantages being that she lives in a hub of creative people and that people there have very eclectic tastes in art.
"I really like The Penland book of Jewelry which showcases unusual jewelry and techniques.Visits to the Victoria and Albert Museum and estate auctions are also very inspirational."
She recommends to other artists to make what they feel like making and not necessarily what they think will sell or what others do.
If you look at her site gallery you will see just how varied her work is and how many ways she’s been able to put it to use! Her drawing/painting styles range from a whimsical, stylized gesture drawing impressionistic style,

Lola plumes rouges - Price: £220 - US$ 350
inks on paper

to quite classic, formal paintings and drawings of nudes

Crayon on Paper
Size: 20 x 30 cm.

Sleeping Beauty - Price: $ 450.00 - £300
Acrylic on Paper
Dimensions: 20" x 28"

and portaits of people that are hightly realistic;

Oil on Canvas
24" x 18",
Private collection

La Lectrice - The reader - £450 - $670 - 680€
Huile sur bois - Oil on wood
53 x 60 cms - 21" x 24"

Catherine has had a number of corporate clients for her illustrations, and her work has been in private museum collections in France, UK, USA, West Indies, Netherlands, and Spain, and represented in galleries in France, and in the US (Pennsylvania, and Florida).

Her work has appeared in magazines, on TV, and she has retained high-profile clients such as L’Oreal.

Her jewelry includes anything from simple beaded designs to traditional precision metal fabrication.
"I've Always been crazy for jewelry, always will be" says Catherine. "I had about 60 pairs of earrings as a teenager, which was when I started making my own jewels. I have designed and commissioned several pieces in sterling silver, 18K gold, and platinum, including my engagement ring and wedding ring. Becoming a jeweller was just a normal extension of my artistic expression. (Catherine is going 3D)." It is quite interesting that so many jewelry artists started out in 2 dimensional art and feel compelled to translate their work into 3-D form although they may continue drawing and painting or alternate between both artforms. I have heard this from a number of people and I myself have always felt a need to have things be 3-dimensional. There is a sense of completeness you just don't quite get from a flat canvas or paper.
Catherine once was looking through a fashion magazine after one of her children was born and her husband asked her what she'd like as a present to celebrate the birth. She came across the picture of a gorgeous emerald-cut Rubellite ring by the exclusive Boucheron Jewellers. Not having any idea how much it cost, her husband took her over there, they got it out of the vault and when it came time to pay for it the clerk informed them it would be $440,000. Her husband looked as though he might faint any minute, and she told the man showing it to them that this was "a bit over" their "budget," returning the ring to it's secure fortress behind thick steel doors.
Some of her nicest pieces are these that I have included here.

These Blum Blum earrings are her best-sellers.

Blum Blum sterling silver Stud Earrings - $32.00Solid sterling handcrafted pair of earrings delivered with sterling silver earposts, in an organza pouch.

This ring has an anticlastic look, with a substantial width, and subtly textured surface; graceful but with a very nice weightiness.

Large Sterling Silver Ring - $49.50
Adjustable, formed ring with hammered finish (one size fits all)

This bracelet on the other-hand makes use of its wispiness and contrasting negative space to capitalize on its lightness. With just one ring in 18 Karat gold amongst the sterling silver loops, its delicate understatement is what makes this piece work.

Loopy - 18K gold and Sterling Silver Bracelet - $495
Solid 18K yellow gold and Sterling Silver BraceletEach loopy link has been forged and fabricated by hand. Bracelet measures approx. 7”.

This piece with round Jade beads spilling in a bunch from the center of a large-link sterling chain, fittingly named Green Peas Delight really is delightful! The beads seem to cascade from it like a lively waterfall.

Green Peas Delight Jade and sterling Silver Bracelet - $50.00
Sterling silver chain with 7 jade beads resembling peas, approx length 7", or 19 cm.
Surprisingly, Catherine says that her most successful venue has been on Etsy, then shows and Open Studios second and third.
Look for more of her work at VIX Emporium in Philadelphia.
Techniques she would like to learn are Pave' , Repousse, and Chasing.
When asked what her plans are to present her work to holiday shoppers she said, "I have already done 1 Christmas market, did an open studio today, and will do another one next week;
Her plans long-term for her business are to create new collections, be commissioned by fashion houses to design their collections, and she would like her jewelry to be liked by many, and to adorn many more.

For more beautiful work available, or to place a custom order, go to:
her own jewellery website
and in the UK:
and in Europe: KAlicat jewels on Dawanda
To learn more about the artist, read her blog:
and her reviews on other artists:

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