Kate Owen Artwork x Goondiwindi Cotton | Australian Cottonseed Oil Hand & Body Skincare Range

Kate, tell us a little about yourself…

I grew up on a property near Moree NSW but high-tailed it to Sydney straight out of school to follow my passion to study and work in fashion. From there my career is a checkerboard of various jobs revolving around creating, from designing for Table 8, bespoke clothing and wedding gowns, retail jobs for brands such as JAG, Harrods and Harvey Nichols in London, a gift and homewares business, café, baking special occasion cakes and supplying cafes with treats to co-authoring a healthy cookbook called Friendship Food.
 
Along this path I moved to the North Star area married my farmer hubby Michael in 2000 and started a family being blessed with two beautiful boys. As the boys grew up I didn’t have a lot of time to paint but did dabble here and there. As they neared high school I had an increasingly insistent feeling that I needed to throw some paint around. So, I gave myself a goal that I would start to paint full time when my youngest, Sam, went away to boarding school which was 2017.

Kate, your bold use of colour is distinctive.  What inspired you to work with Goondiwindi Cotton...

Guilty….I am a colour addict! For me colour makes me feel alive and to be able to splash it around on canvas in endless combinations is what keeps me sane and happy. I love to be able to share this feeling with people through my work so that they too feel joy.

There’s no better way to reach people than to put your artwork on everyday items like soap. It’s a necessity but why not make it fun and beautiful. When Goondiwindi Cotton approached me with the idea of using my work on the rebranding of their cottonseed oil skincare range I was delighted to support a wonderful local business. I have had a long association with Goondiwindi Cotton going back to selling their cottonseed oil when I was selling pima cotton sheets way back in 1999 so now it seems we have come full circle.

Your works are highly sought throughout Australia. How do you think the retail landscape is changing in Regional Australia…

It has been an interesting time over the last two years to say the least. I was incredibly lucky to have started with Greenhouse Interiors before the pandemic hit as they were so well established in the online marketplace with a dedicated following. This in turn created huge amounts of work for artists like me as people who were locked down stared at empty walls and had extra time to beautify their homes. The type of work I create has proven popular during this time because it is emotionally uplifting which is sorely needed when we are constantly at the mercy of disruptions, restrictions, illness and loss. Can you put a price on the value of a lightening of heart as you walk past an artwork you love?
A positive to come out of the pandemic is the fact that in order to survive, businesses have had to reinvent themselves, learn and adapt quickly in order to grow or even just exist. I am really impressed with the number of businesses who have responded quickly and creatively to create an online presence which will hold them in good stead for the future. There will always be a place for bricks and mortar because as humans we require connection and physical experiences but we also love convenience so to back up your business with a solid online presence is not only a good idea but absolutely essential.
I am looking forward to seeing how we all grow in our third year of the pandemic, I suspect we will forge even new and better ways to circumvent it.

Visit @kowenart on instagram!

Images of Kate courtesy of The Real Deal Photography and Ken Bass.
Goondiwindi Cotton product images supplied by The Farmer's Friend.