Katherine Bree is an established London based jewellery designer. With a degree in textile design, Katherine had worked for several years as a commercial knitwear designer before being inspired to change direction and make jewellery.
Katherine works in a fashion-orientated way, producing two collections a year. Designed with semi-precious stones, sterling silver and gold vermeil, her pieces are characterised by strong shape, sophisticated colour and attention to detail.
Everything is made by hand in her north London studio. Although she produces repeats of designs, every piece is slightly different as she works with naturally shaped stones. Previous stockists have included Liberty, Selfridges, Victoria & Albert Museum, Tate Britain.
How do you start to design a collection?
“Each collection starts as a story. This might emerge from a walk in my local woods, or from a film I have seen, or an exhibition. One season I was inspired by the beautiful colourful plumage on birds in stark contrast to their urban environment in the Freightliners city farm in London. The next collection was sparked by a visit to the earth galleries in the Natural History museum, London, and an amazing find of electroplated crystals reminding me of comets and meteoroids. From these stories I produce a series of mood boards, with an emphasis on colour. The pieces in each collection then emerge, inspired by the story and the gemstones that I have collected”
What inspires you?
“I love natural materials and working with my hands. My urge is to keep creating and constantly work to keep moving forward, experimenting with new designs. I have never been creatively blocked as a jewellery designer which I find amazing and I never have enough time to realise all my ideas. I have built up a massive back catalogue, and only now am beginning to refer back to it for inspiration.”
When and how did you start?
“With a BSc(Hons) in Textile design, I worked originally as a textile designer, specialising in knitwear. I discovered jewellery design by lucky accident, after a succession of career changes culminated in a job working in the jewellery room in Liberty London in 2000. The jewellery stocked in Liberty at that time was very exciting, featuring a lot of small designer/makers as well as pieces from designers from all over the world. This inspired me to attend a jewellery making evening class. My lucky break was when, after wearing one of my jewellery designs to work, the jewellery buyer admired it and placed an order. Liberty bought my work for eight years. I also went on to sell in Selfridges, the Victoria and Albert Museum and Tate gallery shops.”