Kate Cronk is an illustrator and calligrapher based in Forest Hill, southeast London. After collecting stationery for a number of years, she founded her own studio Peggy & Kate in the summer of 2014, combining her love of colour, painting and nature.
As both Peggy and Kate (Peggy is her middle name), she has grown her studio to include prints, notebooks, her own line of sassy greetings cards (‘I can’t even’), custom birthday and wedding invitation suites, and bespoke paintings of houses, people and pets. Seeking both humour and beauty in the everyday, Kate’s projects are also inspired by the places she loves – from the lushness of her family home and plant nursery in Kent, to London’s historic architecture and gardens.
Kate kindly contributed one of her beautiful greetings cards (pictured above) in our event goody bag back in January. Such beautifully illustrated, Lou chatted with Kate to find out a little more about her and her work.
PLEASE CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOU, YOUR STUDIO AND WHERE YOU LIVE
I design stationery and illustrate from my home studio in South East London. I share my studio with my boyfriend who is a video artist, our studio is packed to the rafters with my paints and his synthesizers, it’s an interesting mix! My stationery line is the core of my business, but also I illustrate for commissioned and editorial work as well as teaching calligraphy workshops.
WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND, HAVE YOU ALWAYS BEEN CREATIVE?
I have always been creative, my grandfather was an artist and carpenter and my parents own a plant nursery, so I was always encouraged to create very varied things.
YOU WENT TO CENTRAL ST MARTINS AND STUDIED WEAVING – HOW DID YOU TRANSITION TO ILLUSTRATION?
My woven work was always very illustrative and focused heavily on pattern, I was always trying to tell a story through my fabrics. When I graduated it was the very beginning of the recession and it was so hard to find a creative job in weaving! I started to really suffer with low self-esteem, which triggered anxiety, as I wasn’t doing anything creative. It was actually my old boss who suggested that I try doing something creative in my spare time, and I’m so glad I did as that’s how I discovered my career in illustration.
HAVE YOU BUILT UP THIS BUSINESS ON THE SIDE OF ANOTHER CAREER?
Yes, until just last week I was working full-time for an independent accessories company, my role there was varied and great for learning about how to run a business but it wasn’t very creative. For the last 3 years I have had to work pretty much every evening and weekend, and I am so excited to finally have time to give my business my full attention as well as having time to relax, as this is when I always have my best ideas.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE STARTING UP THEIR OWN BUSINESS FROM SCRATCH?
I would say.. just start! And it’s okay if you’re making it up as you go along! I’m naturally a very cautious person who really overthinks things, but almost all of my big exciting successes in my business have come from me pushing myself to do something out of my comfort zone.
WHERE DOES YOUR INSPIRATION COME FROM?
The outdoors has always been my biggest source of inspiration; I have always been my happiest when I’m outside or drawing plants. I love walking, noticing the tiny way plants grow and change everyday brings me so much joy!
DO YOU EVER EXPERIENCE SELF DOUBT AND WHAT STEPS DO YOU TAKE TO OVERCOME IT?
Self doubt is something I have always struggled with; I can’t pinpoint why but I’ve never been a naturally confident person. I find that my self doubt is linked to my anxiety, so I tend to deal with my anxiety first. I find that I can usually manage my anxiety taking a long walk, meditation before I go to sleep, writing in a journal and I have recently got into cold water swimming in a big way! It’s hard to describe the feeling of bliss that it brings me, the moment I step into the water I can think of nothing but the sensation of the water on my skin and my breath. The elation afterwards is similar to a runners high, it’s highly addictive!
WHO’S WORK DO YOU MOST ADMIRE?
I admire so many people, it’s really hard to pick one person. I guess the person whose illustrations that I first fell in love with was Carson Ellis, her work is beautiful, colourful and always has a wonderful sense of ease about it.
WHERE CAN WE PURCHASE YOUR WORK?
My work can be purchased via my website www.katepeggycronk.com, here you will find my stationery and prints as well as information on my commissioned artwork. I also sell my stationery to various independent stores within the U.K.
Lou Archell, a writer, photographer, stylist and the founder of Sisterhood Camp.
Lou is also a busy mum of two amazing boys and can be found over on her blog Littlegreenshed, where she shares her life, loves and inspiration. Lou is passionate about supporting and inspiring others whether through her workshops, writing, photography or lifestyle hacks.