Arts & Crafts Magazine

Katie Green Bean

By Bertyc @bertyc
Recently I met Katie Green Bean.
Or Katie Green, her real name.  She got the name at school as there were 8 Katies in her year.  Her surname is Green.  It turned into Katie Green Bean and stuck. Katie has created a world around her green bean identity, including a bi-monthly zine, polymer clay green bean badges, bird necklaces and a storytelling through her zine.  She's also got a graphic novel on the way next year.
Before I visited Katie's studio she warned me 'it's just a room in our house!' but I suspect this is a situation not unlike many artists, writers and freelancers.
Part 'happenstance' as Katie puts it, part hard work and part recognition of talent, Katie's art and storytelling skills were spotted by a publishing house after an introduction by another graphic novelist who took her under his wings.  She is currently planning and drawing the graphic novel, in between a day job and the rest of life.  She's a busy woman.
We talk about the message in her graphic novel, that it is about her eating disorder and that she feels it is an important story to be told.  She tells me there is a growing movement of graphic novels that discuss difficult issues, which I get the sense is another bit of serendipity. I really like the idea of using craft, illustration and other visual art to communicate important messages.  It's why I like Craftivist Collective so much too, and I'm looking forward to seeing Katie's graphic novel when it's finished.  What comes across when meeting Katie is someone who really loves what she does, is meticulous about detail (she describes this, half jokingly, as her OCD tendencies), is really quite ambitious and has a story to tell.
Another thing that translates in Katie's work is a level of detail and thought and process that I think shows a sense of integrity to her work.  The paper and card that the zines are printed on are high quality, she customises them when they come back from the printers by rounding the corners and colouring the green beans.  This makes the world she creates and shares feel special. In a world where cheap, throwaway high street rubbish is king, this kind of detail is nice to see and comes across in everything I handle and see in the studio.  Most things are ordered, neat and beautifully presented, down to the labels on drawers. Here's a look around a few bits of her art and her studio...
One of the meticulous drawings by Katie, check out the detail: 
Katie Green Bean
A cover for a zine, by Katie:
Katie Green Bean
Crafty, artsy books, sources of inspiration I'm sure:
Katie Green Bean 
Wooden gift tags, hand drawn and hand painted:
Katie Green Bean Mini Katie illustrations decorate the studio shelves:
Katie Green Bean
 Katie's scrupulously neat nature means she keeps things very tidy. I like a certain level of neatness, so I think this makes her studio look nice:
Katie Green Bean
Katie Green Bean
Katie Green Bean
Art bought from Etsy; one of Katie's hobbies is looking at and buying from Etsy.  We talked about the merits of squirreling packages away, because according to her boyfriend you can have enough Etsy bought items, a sentiment I don't think she agrees with. I think a handmade buying habit is one of the better buying habits you can have:
Katie Green Bean
Katie Green Bean
Lovely Etsy-bought task list holders:
Katie Green Bean A beautiful handmade patchwork cushion, also from Etsy:
Katie Green Bean
The last thing she shows me is an embroidery hoop with a needlework piece of Radford Mill Farm Shop by her friend Molly, who blogs at Wild Olive. My mother used to shop here and as a child I have fond memories of being allowed to pick out some dried fruit as a 'treat' there. I like that this shop immortalised in cross stitch:
Katie Green Bean 
This is a house full of art, with craftiness throughout and a lot of ambition.  But most intriguingly, Katie, with a fascinating graphic novel project has an important message to tell.  Thanks, Katie, for showing me your world and your studio, I'm looking forward to the graphic novel already. Read more about her graphic novel journey here or follow Katie's blog, twitter, or etsy page.

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