Makelight Magic with Katie Robbins
Katie Robbins is a ceramicist based is Birmingham. Always super active on Instagram, her images showcase her striking bright and modern handmade pottery.
Katie's beautiful vases and planters are often photographed hanging in her gorgeous home, styled with cascading green ferns of all varieties.
White ceramic against contrasting shades of green is a hallmark of Katie's feed, which we know you're going to love as much as we do!
Can you begin by telling us a bit about your lovely Etsy shop KTRobbinsCeramics?
I make a range of porcelain vessels, planters and jewellery, taking inspiration from the natural world.
Much of my work is 'slip-cast' which means that I use a mould (that I have made myself) as the starting point of a design, which I will then embellish, carve into and decorate with coloured clays or glazes.
Where do you look for inspiration?
The natural world is a big inspiration for me. The crest of a wave, the radiance of a shell, rugged stones, sea-foam; many of these are hinted at in my designs. In addition to these coastal influences my work is informed by a love of pattern and texture - dots, circles, and leaves feature prominently.
Whilst I love the purity and simplicity of white porcelain, I am also excited by the colour potential of glazes and have started to experiment with soft blues, mint greens, sea-blues, shell-pinks and purples as my work develops a wider palette.
My friends also provide so much inspiration! I would never have started without their support and encouragement; it's so hard to put yourself out there in the beginning. Making is so personal, it takes courage to believe in yourself and the things you make.
How are you using Instagram to promote your work and your business?
I use Instagram as a daily source inspiration to challenge me to take interesting and beautiful photographs. I try not to limit myself to product shots, but instead show a variety of things that I love, as well as showing behind-the-scenes process shots. I think people like to understand who you are and how you create.
I don't have a personal feed. However on Facebook I share my everyday family moments - walks in the woods with my boys; inspiring scenery; little items that I've made; moments with my friends - and the odd selfie!
How would you describe your photography style?
Ooh - tricky question! Maybe clean, with a limited palette, using nature, ceramics and natural objects as a continuing theme. Still-life and flat lays seem to be my most popular images.
What does Makelight mean to you?
I have really loved being part of the Makelight community. I had followed Emily Quinton for a long time and never envisaged that I would be able to take part in one of your sessions. After I did I was able to connect with other Makelighters, not only in the group but generally on Instagram as well.
It's so nice to have that extra resource available if ever I have a photography question! I also love the email updates from Emily about inspiration for that month, or exploring a particular photography question or issue.
Do you have any advice or insight about being an independent maker that you'd like to pass on to the community?
Practice! Push yourself beyond your comfort zone. I made a video recently and was a bit nervous about posting it. But you have to give it a go.
Never stop learning. Whether it be a new skill in photography or a new craft; by trying new things you will keep your creativity fresh and allow your style to evolve and flourish.
Also I encourage everyone to find their tribe on and off-screen; immerse yourself in the hashtags that are meaningful to you when using Instagram. Off-screen you may have to move beyond your normal circle to meet new people to achieve this but the rewards are worth it.
If you could be anywhere to take photos, where would you go?
I'm pretty lucky to have a light-filled studio where I can take most of my flat-lay and product photographs. However, my dream location has to be anywhere near a beach - the rocks, skies and waves provide the perfect natural inspiration in an uplifting setting!
You can use the link below to start following Katie's gorgeous Instagram feed and be sure to take a closer look at her Etsy shop too!
If you've been inspired by Katie to improve your photography, have a look at our online Beautify Your Instagram course which starts in early July!