INTERVIEW: Kitiya Palaskas and her felt faux foliage
This month, as we celebrate the arrival of Spring, our store windows have been filled with lush greenery. But there's a twist. The potted plants are all handmade by Melbourne's craft queen and our friend Kitiya Palaskas! Today we ask Kit about her life as one of Australia's premier craft-based designers.
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Tell us about a typical day as a craft-based designer.
Every day is different! That's what makes my job so interesting. I work from home at the moment so my day usually begins with a walk to my local cafe for a coffee, then it's into my studio to go through emails, do some admin, and then get stuck into my projects for the day. On any given day I could be working on design or construction, delivering or installing a project on site, teaching a creative workshop, or shooting content. I thrive off a busy productive day but full disclosure, sometimes I can also spend hours procrastinating while watching Royal Family Dance Crew videos on YouTube... it's all about balance!
(Top) Kitiya in her studio // (Bottom) Kit has become known for her bright and bold felt illustration and typography creations
What has been one of your favourite personal craft or design projects to date?
Publishing my craft book Piñata Party. Writing a book has been a bucket list goal of mine since I was 12 so this was a huge personal achievement for me. At the same time, it was also one of the most challenging projects I've ever undertaken and I learned so much as a result.
(Top) Kitiya can make a Piñata like nobody's business // (Bottom) Some of the felt foliage that is currently gracing our Northcote, Fitzroy and City store windows!
What was the most fun thing about creating your felt Forever Foliage?
Watching my cats try to eat the leaves because they thought they were real plants! 😂
Your Real Talk Project is all about encouraging dialogue about wellbeing issues experienced by creative people. Tell us about how it began and what you hope it can achieve.
After struggling with various creative wellbeing issues for years (but never admitting it out loud) I realised it wasn't doing me any good to suffer in silence so I took a leap and started sharing my experiences online and in keynote talks at conferences I was invited to speak at. I received so much encouraging feedback and discovered that so many of my creative peers were also experiencing similar things, many of whom were also hesitant to talk about it. Real Talk grew out of a desire to contribute to opening up the conversation about mental health in the creative industry and forming a space where people could seek solidarity through shared experiences.
What's the best advice — personal or professional — you've ever received?
Everyone is on their own creative path, you'll get where you need to be at your own pace, and there's room for all of us to succeed in our own ways.
What are some of your favourite travel destinations for art & craft inspiration?
Mexico – hands down! The colour and vibrancy, richness and diversity in culture, playfulness, and pure joy for all things handmade are the ultimate inspiration for me. I could visit a thousand times over!