Kate Hursthouse @ 1B Ponsonby Road

We’re running a series of articles on the creative inhabitants (and our neighbours) at 1B Ponsonby Road. Today’s article features Kate Hursthouse, an artist and designer specialising in calligraphy, lettering, illustration and typography.

We visited Kate’s studio and asked her a few questions:

Kate – visiting your studio was so much fun, it’s inspiring to see all the facets of your work [design/illustration/calligraphy]. Do you set aside time for each discipline, or is it more of an organic approach for you?

It is usually determined by what jobs or projects I have on at the time. Often client jobs involve all the facets, for example – lettering and calligraphy is incorporated with illustration which often ends up being digitised and incorporated into design collateral such as an advertising campaign. When I am working on personal projects and my own artworks I like to have a big session just using my pens and brushes, developing several ideas. Then I will take those ideas and develop and refine them at the same time, so I often have analogue days and digital days.

Your calligraphic work is fascinating, how did you come to this rare profession?

When I was studying design and illustration the typography section was quite small and we didn’t really learn how to construct type. What used to be key part of design school has been reduced quite significantly with the onset of computers and digital type. My tutor told me that if I really wanted to learn about typography and the construction of letters I should learn calligraphy so I took up night classes. From there I joined the New Zealand Calligraphers and have continued to learn from them, as well as through my own personal experimenting and workshops both here in NZ, Australia and over in Europe.

What is the most interesting project you have worked on lately?

It is probably some of my personal calligraphy work. I was recently at a workshop at SSiW2016 in Melbourne with Belgian calligrapher Brody Neuenschwander and we were experimenting on a large scale using Japanese Kozo paper stretched out over large frames and built up layers of calligraphy using acrylic and then oil based mediums to create really interesting effects and textures. We also worked on a large scale using fabric, experimenting with different brushes and calligraphic styles to create contrasting compositions. The final results, especially the fabric, were beautiful and I am definitely wanting to create more pieces like this.

What appealed to you about basing your business at ‘1B Ponsonby Road’?

I had been working from home in Mount Eden for 2 years and decided I wanted to seperate my home life from my work life. Every time I had work in progress for an exhibition or project it would explode out of the studio and into our lounge and bedroom, and basically every aspect of our lives!

Ponsonby appealed because it was close to home and central which makes it so easy to work and live, meet with clients and execute projects. I like the proximity to K’Rd also, there is lots to see when I go wandering. 1B Ponsonby Road is awesome, as soon as I saw the available space I just knew it would be perfect. It is an old ‘Sergeants Flat’ so it has a nice homely feel as opposed to an office. Being next to Studio One and part of the creative community on the block is really inspiring, all the people who work there are really supportive, welcoming and friendly. It has been a great move.

Lastly, what is the one item you couldn’t live without in the studio

A pen! I have so many, of all different kinds, and I have my definite favourites, but all I really need is a pen, or pencil, or something that makes a mark to be able to do what I do.


You can learn more about Kate and her practice via her website: www.katehursthouse.com, or follow her on Instagram: @katehursthouse

Listen to a recent Radio NZ interview with Kate here: http://www.radionz.co.nz/concert/programmes/upbeat/audio/201809701/a-spark-and-a-flourish

Better yet – take part in a hand lettering workshop with Kate! http://collected.co.nz/collections/workshopseventsandconsultations/products/workshop-hand-lettering-with-kate-hursthouse-session-1-thursday-18-august