“I have always been this way,” explains Kit Palaskas. Like many of us, the craft-based designer had a childhood love for arts and crafts but it’s been her ability to channel this passion into a successful career path that sets her apart from the pack. In addition to writing DIY projects for publications and teaching craft workshops, Kit is known for her colourful handmade creations for clients like SBS, Lego and InsideOut magazine, each day proving a love of art and craft can be elevated far beyond a hobby.
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Tell us a little about what you do.
I am a craft-based designer specialising in the creation of playful, tactile objects and experiences. The things I make are mostly unique one-off creations for editorial and visual merchandising campaigns, commercials, music videos, installations and events. I also teach creative workshops and produce DIY tutorials for a variety of publications. Everything I do is colourful, fun, and made entirely by hand.
How did you first get into the field?
I studied printmaking at uni but I honestly didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life – I mean who really does at that stage? I have always had so many varied interests when it comes to creative stuff, and I’m not satisfied with just doing one thing only, so after uni I put printmaking on the back-burner for a while and tried my hand at fashion design, only to realise that despite loving the design process, I wasn’t really cut out for the fashion world. I had always played around with craft but more as a side hobby to everything else. At the time I was assisting this amazing stylist, Georgia Ashdown, and she had been commissioning me to make bespoke handmade props and costumes for her shoots. One day she was like, “You know you could actually do this kind of thing for a living?” Safe to say it was a total light bulb moment! She hooked me up with some of my first major clients and her support really helped me start shaping a career for myself in craft-based design.
What is one of the most challenging yet rewarding jobs you’ve worked on to date?
All my projects are rewarding and challenging to me in different ways. I’m super excited about a couple of my more recent projects though, one being a commission to create a collaged felt plaque for Lily Allen to commemorate her Australian record sales for her new album. I freehand-cut what felt like a million teeny, tiny letters out of felt. I’d never done anything that intricate with felt before but it all paid off because she loved it.
Another project which I am so excited about is a craft show that I’m working on with Warner Music’s Cool Accidents blog. It’s called Craft With Kit and it basically involves bands coming onto my show to do craft and chat with me in a crazy, kooky studio setup. It’s been so interesting to work because I’ve been involved in all aspects of it, from set design to scripting, as well as producing the projects and hosting it all. It’s all being shot entirely on VHS by these amazing filmmakers, Arthur and Angus, and we’ve filmed with bands like Skaters and Grouplove so far. It’s been so fun!
Do you ever experience creative slumps and how do you overcome them?
Of course! Every creative person does, though weirdly we don’t seem to talk about it that much. I think that there’s this stigma of feeling insecure about admitting you’re in a slump in case it’s seen as a sign of failure, which is so ridiculous. Everyone goes through it – it’s a natural part of being creative! When it happens to me I try to give myself some TLC. Get off the internet – that’s the number-one most important thing: get outside, go on an adventure, have ridiculous good times with my friends, explore Melbourne on my bike, take a nap, make myself a glamorous dinner, drink a whiskey in the bath, booty dance in my room whilst singing into a hairbrush. Anything that stimulates my mind in other ways that have nothing to do with craft. I find that this gets me out of my bubble, gives me perspective, and lets the ideas flow again.
If you had to design your dream sneaker, what kind of colourway would we be looking at and what style of sneaker?
Something cushy enough to race around in all day with a simple, streamlined fit and either a crazy tropical pattern all over it, or a plainer combo, maybe pastel pink – to match my bicycle, with a black and white Memphis-inspired print. Also cute shoelaces are a must!
What’s the best part of your job?
Getting to do craft all day erry day.
And the worst?
Having to be my own HR manager, payroll officer, and accounts person because I suck so hard at admin.
What is your next big creative goal?
To write a craft book for kids! It’s been something I have wanted to do for so long. That, and plan a trip to Mexico to learn how to make piñatas from traditional craftspeople.
What’s your advice for Limit’d readers wanting to pursue a career in the creative industries?
Try everything and anything – you don’t have to lock yourself in to one specific thing. Find a mentor who can give you some guidance in the early stages of your career – just ask someone you admire, you have nothing to lose! Go to exhibition openings, events, lectures – anything to expose yourself to the creative community around you. Make friends, not ‘contacts’. Work hard. Stay true to your own style no matter what because no one can be you but you and that’s your biggest asset. And when in doubt, ask yourself “What Would Beyonce Do?”
Check out more of Kit’s work on her website.