Kitty And Dude is ceramicist Cosima Sempill and is based in Edinburgh at Coburg House Art Studios. All pieces are designed by Cosima, and majority of them are handmade by her in studio in Edinburgh. Her designs have a feeling of nostalgia and sentimentality, and are a little tongue-in-cheek. She’ll be showcasing new designs for Kitty & Dude’s tableware range at Tent London. But until then, she tells us all about her love of design and her hatred of mushrooms.
When did you know that you wanted to design? From a very early age. There was no discussion about University, it was straight off to Art School and then straight into making for me. Creativity/self employment has always run in the family. My Mother ran her own successful interiors business for many years, so majority of weekends where filled with renovating furniture or creating mood boards. She is a tour-de-force and a great source of inspiration and support.
What are you most proud of in your work? My ability to combine contrasting ideas. I design products that focus on delighting both the aesthetic and intellectual senses. I also love seeing peoples reaction to the products, the works aims to ignite feeling of nostalgia and sentimentality, so it’s fantastic when people immediately engage with the products.
What kind of material do you think has great possibilities? I think that there is a plethora of possibilities with digital decals. The freedom they give to ceramicists who want to adorn the surfaces of their work is endless. Translating your designs, drawings or photographs directly onto the clay body is an exciting process and the quality of the decals just keeps getting better.
Which product would you redesign if you could? Hmmm, quite a tricky one…. not sure I’m quite arrogant enough to redesign someone else’s work but I do think that Mushrooms should be banned.
Which designer has inspired your work? Eric Ravilious is a huge inspiration to me. I adore his etchings and I wish I had designed his collection of Commemorative mugs that he created for Wedgewood in 1939. A wonderfully modern collaboration at the time; it was brimming with optimism and unashamed forward thinking. Bravery like that symbolises what I think is great about British design.
What designers you know should we watch out for? Rebecca Wilson Ceramics, a young Scottish ceramicist who makes deliciously irreverent work, which has already caught the eye of Anthropology. Her work is not only brilliantly made but instantly engaging, her latest conquest being a giant Jammy Dodger Chandelier, containing 1,500 bone china biscuits!
What are you looking forward to about being at Tent? Meeting new people, making contacts and exposing my products to a wider audience. Also the added excitement of taking part in London Design Week and getting a chance to view and all the amazing International designs on display.
What’s your next grand plan? In the next couple of years I hope that Kitty & Dude will become my main source of income. With more time to devote to my work, I’d continue to expand my interiors and gift ware collections with new designs. At the moment I am launching my new Jewellery range and Wedding Favour Service which I hope will be well received
What do you get up when not being a brilliant, cutting-edge designer? Describe your perfect day off… Scottish weather can be temperamental so on a sunny day the plan would probably begin with a guilt- free lie in, breakfast in the garden and then a long dog walk on the beach followed by fish, chips and white wine down by the shore in Leith. A rainy day would begin much the same way but I would probably visit some Galleries and shops in town and soak up some culture. Then in the afternoon I’d go for an indulgent High Tea at the Glass House in the Botanics and then maybe a late night trip to the cinema, for a bit of escapism.
Tell us a secret… My great-great grandfather was one of the ‘Glasgow Boys’.