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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.