I woke up with butterflies in my tummy. I had an amazing opportunity not only to meet, but interview the incredibly talented Kate from Uberkate. I was a wee bit terrified and excited all squished together. I needn’t have worried so much though, as she put me at ease from the minute I saw her. She walked over, gave me a huge hug and said “Shall we go and get coffee?”. Just like that we were sat in a little coffee shop, and chatting as if we’d known each other for years. I had my note book tucked away in my bag but I didn’t even get it out – I was too absorbed and fascinated by her stories. I’ve never met anyone before with so much passion. She has a real softness about her too, nothing like the hard hitting business woman I thought she might be. She was real, down to earth and just simply lovely. After we’d finished our coffee and conversations about life, I had a few questions I wanted to ask her about Uberkate and she was so happy to answer them. Robyn: What was the first piece of jewellery you ever made? Kate: You won’t believe this but it was actually an earring hook. Mine always used fall out or break and then I’d end up loosing an earring, which was sooo annoying. So one day I got out my tools in my Dad’s garage and decided to make my own. Robyn: Is that what started Uberkate? Kate: (laughs) No, I started Uberkate a few years after that. Although I’ve always been a creative and a silversmith, it was only something I did in my spare time. I actually worked in TV and media for long time, alongside my husband. It was fun and exciting but it did eventually take it’s toll on my health. After our daughter was born, I often felt so far away working all those crazy hours as well as travelling. So I created my original Ubercircle with her name on it so that I could feel she was always with me whenever I wore it. I started making those ubercircles for friends and family too and as word of mouth spread I set up a little online shop. It wasn’t until I was unexpectedly made redundant that Uberkate was officially born. It was a crazy, brave move but I don’t regret it for a second. Eleven years on and I still love it just as much. Robyn: Are you amazed at how much the business has grown since you started? Kate: Totally! Although it’s not been without blood, sweat and tears. There have been moments when I’ve had to re-evaluate my sanity, but I love what I do so much that I just couldn’t ever contemplate giving up or doing anything else. My organic growth is what gives me the biggest encouragement. It’s so humbling and truly amazing to see just how much people love their Uberkate pieces. It’s what keeps us going. Robyn: Does it frustrate you to see your ideas and designs being copied? Kate: (Sighs). I’d be lying if I said it didn’t. Some days it upsets me so much, that I can’t even bring myself to go into the office. The best way I can cope these days is to just block out the noise. I don’t even look at other peoples stuff anymore, there is no point. I have to remind myself that my designs are 100 percent original, and from the heart and that’s all that counts. I also have to make sure I stay one step ahead of the game too, by continuously coming up with new designs. There is lots of new stuff to come in 2015 so watch this space……. Robyn: Do you have a favourite piece of jewellery or something that you would never sell? Kate: I do, yes. I made a ring from all the precious stones that my husband and I collected from every country we’ve visited together. It’s a one of kind piece and I absolutely adore it. I also have a rubiks cube that my husband made me for my 40th birthday. Every square has a word or a name of someone I love, inscribed in their own handwriting. It’s amazing, I cried buckets when he gave it to me. Robyn: Where do you get your inspiration from? Kate: So many different places. My family, my favourite people, my passion for creativity and of course from my customers too. Some of the heartfelt inscriptions that I’ve engraved into jewellery for customers has reduced me to tears. They’re just so special. I especially love capturing handwriting. It’s something you can treasure forever. I love working with metal too. Moulding it, shaping it and turning it into something beautiful. The possibilities are endless. Metal is just like a lover – it’s beautiful, flawed and yet perfect. I once decided to use another silversmith to make some circles for me. It was the run up to Christmas and we had so many orders, I needed a bit of help. However when I got them all back they were totally wrong. Not one of them was the right size, and I had to re-make ever single one. It was stupidly stressful, but we managed to get all the orders out in time for Christmas. I was then left with all these imperfect circles. I sat with them for ages, wondering what do, and one day I twisted one into a figure of eight and that was the moment our infinity pendant was born. That’s the beauty of silversmithing, often from complications, something beautiful emerges. After we’d finished chatting (I mean ‘interviewing’) Kate asked me if I’d like to see where she worked. Of course I did! I followed her into her tiny workshop and from the minute she sat down you could see it was ‘her place’. It was a bit like a time warp with several very `old fashioned’ pieces of machinery, and she knew how to work every part as if they was a person. She picked up a piece of metal and started hammering and twisting it, all the while still chatting to me. She was so comfortable and yet so passionate all at the same time. It was really inspiring to watch. “Do you make everything yourself as well as design each piece of jewellery?” I asked her, feeling blown away by what I was seeing. “Absolutely”, she said, “every single piece is hand made.” There is no end to this incredible lady’s talent and I was so grateful that she’d made time in her busy day to show me what she does. There is no doubt that Uberkate is filled from top to bottom with passion and love and you can be sure that every piece of jewellery she makes is as special to her as it is to it’s new owner.
Do you have a piece of Uberkate jewellery?
What is your favourite?