Meet The Maker: Kate Millbank | The Chuffed Store Meet The Maker: Kate Millbank | The Chuffed Store

No products in the basket.

Search products on the Chuffed store Mobile navigation

Who are you, where are you from and what do you make?

Hi, I’m Kate Millbank and I am a print and pattern maker based in East Lothian, Scotland. I work predominantly in the medium of lino printing. I love how accessible lino is (you don’t need lots of fancy equipment to do it), and it gives a wonderful end result, full of texture and pattern with a naive quality to it.  


What inspires you?

My work has always been inspired by the natural world around me, particularly the plants and animals found within the British rural landscape. I have a keen interest in British folklore and paganism and often find the symbolism and seasonal traditions associated with this have a strong presence in my work.


What is your workshop luxury?

I have just moved my studio from a tiny room off the side of our kitchen to a larger room in the house. It is wonderful to have a bit more space and I have been able to treat myself to a new (old!) work table and chair, to which I immediately added one of the wonderful hand printed cushions by Fungus and Mold (who you also stock at The Chuffed Store!). It’s lovely starting the day (after dropping the children at school), leaning back on this beautiful soft cushion, drinking my morning tea and thinking about the day ahead.


Your favourite studio lunch?

I am pretty lucky with my lunches. My husband taught himself to make sourdough bread over the first covid lockdown (like most of the country!), and he has really stuck with it. We now have fresh bread every day. It’s wonderful! I just need to get more organised and start making soup to go with it.


Best spot in the British Isles?

Goodness this is a hard one, I love so many places across the British Isles and have lived and spent time in many wonderful places. Cornwall holds many wonderful childhood memories, but as an adult it is the wilds of Scotland and Wales that now hold my heart. Some of my happiest memories are from when I lived in Wales with my husband and we spent every weekend exploring the beautiful Ceredigion coast. The cliffs, hidden bays and swirling seas are stunning. In Scotland there is a special spot near Braemar (in Royal Deeside), that I discovered with my family a few summers ago while camping. A wild river gushes down a narrow gorge, with woods on both sides. You can find pools away from the main torrent where you can swim, along with big rocks to lie out in the sun for drying off afterwards! The water is absolutely freezing but beautiful, and in places it is almost turquoise in colour.  


What do you find challenging about being a creative?

I love being creative, it is just part of who I am. It can be a challenge to keep myself focused as I have so many ideas! And then of course there is always the worry about making sure I bring in enough income. It is a real leap of faith every time I invest in a new product, hoping that it is going to be well received and sell. It’s all worth it though, I love what I do and really couldn’t do anything else.


What would you like to learn next?

I am really keen to experiment more with repeat pattern, especially on fabrics and using natural dyes. My background training is in fashion and textiles, so it feels a bit like returning to my roots!


How do you let your hair down?

Ha ha this has changed somewhat since having a family and getting older! I no longer crave wild nights out with friends, but prefer something quieter and simpler. Walks along the beach, swimming in the sea and warming up with a nice beach bonfire always make me feel great. Swimming in the sea just washes the worries away, it really makes you appreciate the moment (probably because it’s freezing!) and then warming up around the crackle of a fire. It feels very elemental…fire, water, sand and usually a strong breeze!   


What are you listening to at the moment?

I love The Waterboys and have done since my early 20’s. Their music just sums up what I love….landscape, nature, folklore and a fiddle. Oh and it’s great to dance to!


What makes you feel well chuffed?

The most recent memory of feeling ‘well chuffed’ has been my first exhibition (held this September at Amisfield Walled Garden, in East Lothian). It took almost two years of work to prepare for it and it just felt brilliant to finally bring everything together in one beautiful venue (along with 7 other artists who agreed to exhibit alongside me). The exhibition was a great success and we had amazing feedback from everyone who came to visit. We also managed to raise over £2000 for the garden to help them continue the great work that they do (it’s run entirely by volunteers).