The Etsy Blog

Featured Shop: Kate Zaremba Company

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

My name is Kathryn Zaremba. I’m an illustrator and textile designer living and working in Washington, DC. My shop is a collection of wallpaper, gift wrap, illustrations and textiles.

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A little known fact for my Etsy besties: I was a child actress. Growing up in the arts, I was surrounded by sets, costumes, buttons and bows, and I was mesmerized by the facade of it all. I spent my time in a make-believe world, entertaining people and having fun. By the time I got to college, I knew I wanted to stay in the arts but was ready to go behind the scenes. Art school taught me what being an artist was all about: problem solving. I learned how to make unpractical things practically; how to develop a visual language versus a spoken one; and more importantly, how to see in a new way.

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I’m constantly drawing. I draw things over and over again, thinking about shape and pattern and trying not to be too harsh a critic. After I develop an idea, I imagine how to bring it to life – as an art print or a pattern for wallpaper, gift wrap, or fabric. I also make patterns and prints out of paper by cutting shapes and creating miniatures. I would describe my style as a little bit whimsical, with a dash of sophistication and a whole lot of fun.

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Once a drawing or collage is complete I scan it into the computer, which is where the pattern truly comes to life. Here I plan how it will repeat, and at what scale. It can be quite tricky, but every print is a challenge, like piecing together a puzzle. I change the scale and colors depending on the final product I want to make with the print, but I strive to make them all undeniably me.

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I also offer custom illustration in my shop, which keeps me quite busy. Nothing compares to products made in collaboration with my customers. My favorite piece-to-date (pictured above) was for a lovely young woman who was about to get married. She sent me a list of 60 memories she and her fiancé had made during their courtship, which I illustrated and turned into an archival print. She gave the illustration to her husband on their wedding day, and later sent me a photograph of the moment he opened the package. Helping someone see their idea come to life and share it with the person they love was incredibly rewarding.

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Etsy is not only the foundation of my business, but also a source of inspiration. Every day this community brings something new to my work, and has enabled me to do what I love full time. I am so grateful for the genius of this organization, and I am sincerely blown away by the amazing teams behind every door. It makes me proud to be growing my business here.

All photographs by Joshua Navarro.

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