TEA WITH THE TEAM - KATIE NEALE

Creative Artworker, Katie Neale joined Clive Christian Furniture Co. in 2017 straight from Manchester School of Art. We joined Katie to learn more about her, her role and how she puts the personal touches into our bespoke furniture.

INTRODUCE YOURSELF? 

My title within the design team is ‘Creative Artworker’. My main role is designing the marquetry pieces which feature within our cabinetry as bespoke pieces of art. Although my background isn't within furniture, I have always had an interest. I think coming from a family of joiners & carpenters may have influenced me slightly. I remember being amazed at the projects my Dad and Grandad used to work on. Even now my Dad still sends me snapshots of projects he is working on

HOW DID YOU GET THIS POSITION?

I studied textiles at Manchester School of Art. Here I specialised within mixed media i explored surface design and processes that could be applied to the discipline of interiors. 

It was at a university careers day that I was first introduced to the company. I found the company very interesting, I was stood listening to the team talk for nearly an hour! I wasn’t aware that there was a position available until I searched for Oli (the Product Manager) on LinkedIn. In a bid to contact him I paid to upgrade my LinkedIn account. I think the upgrade was worth the money as I joined the company before I graduated from University and I've now been here for a year and a half.

DESCRIBE A TYPICAL BRIEF, WHAT PROCESSES DO YOU GO THROUGH?

There are no typical briefs - every project is different, that is the exciting part of my job!

The diversity in briefsmeans that design/creation time is never the same. Timing can be dependent onthe scale and intricacy of the design. It's been known for some marquetry designs to take up to 4 weeks to complete.

A project usually follows this process:

  • · Receive outline brief – an overview of what the client is looking to achieve
  • · Research & mood board ideas- share with client for feedback
  • · Initial sketching and creating line work 
  • · From here the designs are vectorised and we start to discuss material choices
  • · I then prepare visual renders using the materials we have chosen (this allow the clients to see the final look before it is made)
  • · Next, I’ll programme the Laser for precision cutting – especially for the delicate elements that my designs can contain 
  • · I then take the design onto the laser and cut out all elements on the chosen veneers
  • · The lasered parts are then passed onto our Marquetry Team, who hand place them together. I work closely with the team through the manufacturing process, overseeing each stage.

WHERE DO YOU FIND YOUR INSPIRATION?

Inspiration is extracted through many platforms. I often use books, magazines, social media and websites to expand my ideas. I think it's important to stay up to date with trends, patterns and colours. It not only helps us to enhance our designs but gives usthe opportunity to experiment with new materials.

In terms of materials we are very fortunate! We have access to the most amazing veneers in the world. Choosing materials generally stems from the colour scheme of the surrounding room, we usually create a palette which is exciting but compliments the cabinetry. 

DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE PIECE?

If I had to choose a favourite it would have to be the butterfly door panels I created for our San Francisco showroom. I enjoyed the whole process, from the hand sketch right through to lasering of the veneers. The kaleidoscope design I created, made for a showstopper piece! The burst of colour added depth and fun, while the mother of pearl created an all-round eclectic feel.

WHAT IS THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF YOUR JOB?

Like any design process- knowing when to stop working on a design and let it run through the workshop. I aim to achieve perfection, I could tweak and edit a design for years and there would always be something else I could do to it. It’s a discipline I’m learning- to know when it’s time to stop!

WHAT IS THE MOST REWARDING PART OF YOUR JOB?

Seeing the final piece!

Although I work closely with the Marquetry Team I always love approving the final piece and seeing it before it is packed ready for delivery.

Also receiving photographs once the pieces are installed is great too, it’s very rewarding to see how something you’ve worked on has become a focal point in a home.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT?

My proudest moment would have to be when we were visited by The Princess Royal to celebrate the brands 40th Anniversary. I was immensely proud watching HRH Princess Anne unveil a plaque that I had designed. We also gifted her a piece of marquetry in thanks, it’s rather surreal thinking that she might have that pieces somewhere in her home. 

DOWN TIME?

Outside of work I visit home a lot. Living and working away from home makes me appreciate the time I have with my family/friends and boyfriend. My boyfriend also works away, so weekends tend to be filled with date nights!. 

IN ANOTHER LIFE?

If I didn’t take the ‘artistic’ route let’s say, I would most definitely have trained in medicine. I fancied myself as an orthopaedic surgeon (aim high!). Quite the opposite to what I do currently but something that I've always found interesting. Although working with the Marquetry team does get me close to surgical knives though!

LET’S STAY IN TOUCH…

We hope you have found our website inspiring, and we would love to stay in contact. To receive the latest news about our products, services, events and promotions, simply provide your details and we’ll do the rest.

REGISTER