Meet the Maker: Kata O’Donovan, Cotton Caterpillars

Posted 05.05.21

Meet the Maker: Kata O’Donovan, Cotton Caterpillars

Kata O'Donovan is a textile maker and DCCI member who runs her business, Cotton Catterpillars, from her studio in Clonakilty, West Cork. Kata designs and makes comfortable and funky kids clothing. Cotton Catterpillar products are made for little ones who love exploring. It is important to Kata to use materials that have low impact on the environment, and are safe for children. Kata's designs are available to purchase from her website cottoncaterpillars.ie.

What's a typical day in the studio like for you?
A typical day for me starts at 6:15am, I get up and do a workout. Then at 7:30am I start getting my two children ready to school. I am in the studio by 9am, replying to emails, and returning calls.

After the second espresso, around 9:30am, I start to work on the daily orders. I crank up the music and start cutting and sewing. If I have time before school collection, I photograph the item and pack it. I will turn the machines off at 1pm to collect my youngest from school, then by the time we finish his homework it's time to go and collect his older brother. If I have some parcels to post we do it together, and walk to the post office.

In the afternoon we enjoy spending time together, which involves the daily cooking. After bedtime I go and clean the studio, and sketch my new ideas. On the weekend I design clothes for myself.

What do you like most about your work?
I like that I do what I love.

I enjoy cutting into soft, organic fabrics and choosing colour coordinates. Adding that extra special touch to each garment, the decorative stitching, that is my signature.

What do you like least about your work?
There is nothing really that I don’t like about my work, but if I have to name one thing, I’d say labelling. It takes nearly as long as making a garment these days. I don't use garment guns with a plastic string, instead I attach each label with cotton string.

What's your favourite craft item in your home?
A cute owl-shaped door stopper, it always brings a smile to my face.

What other maker in your discipline do you most look up to?
I have to mention my grandmother and my mother. I grew up seeing their beautiful creations, and as an adult I wear clothes that were made by them.

What advice would you give someone who is considering this craft career?
I know it is hard to be a beginner at something. Give yourself some assignments that are easy enough to complete. Be patient and make sure you are upgrading your skills with each project.

What's your favourite time of the day?
Sunrise. Seeing the sun rising, feeling the breeze on my face and enjoying some fresh air.

How do you switch off?
I get up early to do my workout. I like weight training and, once a week in the evening, I join a Zumba class on Zoom.

How do you start your day?
I start my day bright and early, with a glass of water with a slice of lemon, then do my workout.

What's the first thing you do when you leave the studio?
Put on my shoes!

Favourite book?
The Independent Mind by Osho

Favourite film?
Self Made

Best concert you have ever been to?
Bon Jovi

Favourite meal?
Chicken and broccoli bake

Music when you're working?
Yes

What do you listen to?
Radio, but most of the time my favourite band.

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