Kate Crilly is a creative textile designer who’s M.O is, well, fun. Running her studio, Gnarly Bazaar from the STUDIO coworking space. Kate’s intelligent humour and technical skill as a textile printmaker flow through every aspect of her art, design and products where she takes some of the UK’s best loved TV and cultural icons and immortalises them in print. Once bespoke prints are created she then transforms them into tea towels, scarfs, mugs and t-shirts. Ever fancied creating your very own DIY Bet Lynch fabric doll? Or perhaps a silky scarf inspired by Pat Butcher? Gnarly Bazaar’s got you covered.
Kate shares her story of how Gnarly Baazar came to fruition. She also shares how she migrated from a room in her house to become part of the lively community at the expansive 1000 square metre coworking space.
Tell us about Gnarly Bazaar?
“Initially I started making stupid gifts for friends, like Ross Kemp’s face on a cushion or a bag with a ridiculous pun on it and they were just really popular. I opened the shop in 2010. Then Stylist Magazine mentioned it and then it just grew from there…”
Where did you learn to print?
“I went to Bath Spa Uni to do fashion and textiles and I was always making clothes where I designed streetwear t-shirts and sweaters that were sold in independent shops around Bristol. But I soon realised the sillier cult/nostalgia work like Pat Butcher stuff sold better!”
Through your work, we can see you love a strong icon. Where did this come from?”
“When I was little my icons were Diana Ross and Dolly Parton, and my mum used to be like ‘what are you wearing?!’ I really love anything over the top and trashy! I was obsessed with glitzy glamour and that’s why I wanted to do fashion. I’m also a massive TV addict! My mum used to do textiles and sit me in front of the TV all day. I watched all the soaps and I was obsessed with the soaps from about the age of two or three… you know Neighbours, Flying Doctor, Eldorado. My mum also used to pay me pocket money not to watch TV. I’m just obsessed with pop culture and TV.”
Amazing! So vintage!
“I rewatched some of the 60s and 70s Coronation Street stuff and it is like an amazing play. No one has a catchphrase which shows how good the script writing is! For my work, I’m always trying to extract catchphrases but it’s impossible with Coronation Street because it’s that well written and they’re so realistic!”
Would you say you’re a big fan of nostalgia and what does it mean to you?
“I daydream about it all the time. When you live in a time, you don’t think about it being special or great. So yeah, it’s strange and it’s great! I think people are reacting to the excesses of 2010 – the Kim Kardashian glamour, wanting expensive things – and nostalgia is a rebellion to that maximalist approach and everything being so polished and styled. You know how the 90s were a reaction to the 80s yuppies? Maybe we’re going through that a bit. I love looking around at people being themselves, shows like TFI Friday where no wore make-up on, or on Streetmate Davina McCall used to just wear a fleece… It’s just that innocence where people felt a bit more real.”
Your products demonstrate a great understanding of humour. What does it mean to you?
“I think I use humour as a deflection. I’m just really silly and I find things funny. Sometimes I cannot move my arms and legs with laughter! I think people maybe take themselves too seriously. Maybe it’s with all the filters, people don’t want to look stupid. I like to do silly things like putting my face on a dog.”
Why is it important for designers and artists to have spaces like this?
“It’s so important. During Covid I needed to see other people. What’s good about this space is that it feels like you’re coming in to do a day’s work. Working from home can sometimes feel really unfulfilling and directionless. It’s great here because you can find structure, you can have a lunch break and there’s always different people here at different times. I work at all different times.”
Tell us about the community here?
“It’s so friendly and I’ve met so many different people that have come and gone. It’s really good they do socials and you don’t get a space like this anywhere else in Bristol. It’s light, you’re not in a box and you’ve got books, space and the contemplation shed. You can lock yourself in like Brian from Spaced and have a scream!”
Follow @GnarlyBazaar on Instagram.
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