A few people have asked me how I got into designing and making jewellery, but there really isn’t a short answer. I started Kat Loves Steve because I had a hole in my soul, a space that needed to be filled, a place where creativity was being stifled and needed to break free. I started Kat Loves Steve because I love to make, I love colour, I love my family and wanted to be an inspiration to my children.
In 2014 I had a huge car accident and rolled my X-Trail on the way home from a consult. Back then I was a wedding photographer, and had been for 5 years. My husband and I ran a boutique business together, his photo-journalistic style complimenting my more creative ideas – we were a great team, and met many amazing couples during that time. Fast forward a year or so, and my pain had reached the level where I physically would break after each and every event we covered, and sometimes during.
Over the years we had won many awards, met tons of fabulous people – clients and other creatives, and enjoyed the creative expression we had been able to share together, but in 2015, we regretfully decided that we would need to listen to medical advice and we closed our business. Physically and mentally, I had broken down.
In May 2016 my husband and I had the hard decision to have me admitted to hospital for help with my depression and suicidal thoughts. Back then I was so ashamed to admit to anyone that I needed help, especially hospitalization. Steve and I had barely been apart since we had married 15 years before, and leaving him and our children for weeks was so hard on us all. It did help me to see though that suicide was not the answer, as it dawned on me that I’d then never be seeing them again, instead of just a short while whilst receiving medical help! Those weeks were incredibly hard, and I admit I was so frightened to attend therapy sessions with all the others that were also inpatients, however this was probably where my creative love had time to germinate again after being buried by depression and pain.
Art Therapy, the words on the paper stood out, two words that had drawn a taste of bile into my throat. I was horrified that I had to choose between that or Yoga, but when it came to it, there was zero chance I was going to go and bend and stretch and “ooohhhmmmmm” in front of anyone else – which meant, I was expected to attend Art. I quietly snuck into the room, and found myself a chair where I felt safe, away from the door, and situated between two friendly folk I’d met the day before who seemed quite happy to do their own thing without making small talk.
I found myself a sheet of paper, and put my shaking hand to drawing. Tiny doodles of flowers and leaves, over and over again, nervously I focused on the black and white contrasting on the paper and tried to drown out the beating of my heart and the nausea of being in a room full of strangers. As I left, one of the men sitting next to me asked to look, and I will always remember what he said. “That is beautiful!” I shrugged and muttered something self depreciating, embarrassed and deeply low on self confidence, he then replied “No, what you’ve drawn shows that there is light inside you”.
Those sketches grew more and more detailed, and then became my own personal therapy over the past couple of years. Recently the designs moved from paper to polymer clay and into my earring designs. Each design takes hours to make, but each intricate floral that is cut and placed, every colour that is mixed, it helps to remind me that there is light inside.
I still live with chronic daily pain, migraines, back pain, and neck ache, and my health has worsened even more with auto-immune issues added, occasionally depression sneaks in for a little while too. But the work soothes my soul, to see others enjoy something I worked on, something I designed and created with love gives me purpose, and faith that even on the hard days there are always better things ahead.