Catherine Nice: ‘My proudest moment was seeing a print I designed worn by Michelle Obama’

The Kitty McCall print designer reveals the inspiration behind her latest collection of colourful homewares

Catherine Nice 003

Born in Dublin, graphic print designer Catherine Nice spent her childhood in Nigeria then Milton Keynes, before studying Textile Design at Birmingham City University.

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In 2011, she founded Kitty McCall. She lives in Folkestone with her husband and two children.

Catherine sat down with EKBB to chat about her life and career, her personal style and her plans for the future.

Where did the name Kitty McCall come from?

It was my grandmother’s name. She always encouraged my creativity and loved all the homemade cards and paintings I made her on birthdays and special occasions. Even as a young child, she saw something in me that I didn’t then see. To her, I am grateful. I now love that people call me Kitty because it makes my connection to her even stronger.

Tell us about your latest collection

Palm Springs is inspired by my travels to California last year. I wanted to create a feeling of summer on fabric, and colour inspiration came from the beautiful sun-saturated landscapes. The collection encompasses three new fabric designs available on cushions, pouffes and wash bags, and four new limited-edition art prints, all printed and made in the UK. I’m also adding two of my favourite woven throws into the range.

SS range Kitty-McCall-Palm springs 2020

Describe your style

Contemporary and eclectic. I collect a diverse range of furniture, art and found objects and I love to mix colour, scale and texture. Through Kitty McCall, I try to work in a powerful and bold style. My collections and design compositions reflect my interest in abstraction, asymmetry and nature. I find when designs aren’t regimented, your eye is drawn in and you see something different each time you look at one of my pieces.

Tell us about your design process

I’m always looking for new ideas and inspiration – whenever I find an interesting palette or image, I pin it to my mood board. I’m currently obsessing over natural landscapes and botanical plant imagery. I mostly draw in ink and then use my computer to add colour and texture.

SS range Kitty-McCall-palm springs gallery wall

How did you get into design?

The impulse to draw has been there for as long as I can remember. I have always just followed my inclination and heart through school and university, developing my talent without any idea where it was taking me but unable to consider doing anything else. After graduating I worked successfully for a commercial studio designing prints for fashion and interiors. My proudest moment was seeing a print I designed for a dress by Takoon worn by Michelle Obama. I set up Kitty McCall in 2011.

What’s been your favourite project to date?

Häagen-Dazs’ ice cream tub designs and graphics. It was a whole new way of working; prints had to be at a much smaller scale.

Your all-time favourite design you’ve done?

I find that the newest thing I’m working on is always my favourite. However, if I had to choose, it would be the landscape design – an abstract patchwork of colour and pattern that really helped me get noticed and cemented my style of work.

Proudest career moment?

Opening my shop in my hometown of Folkestone.

SS range Kitty-McCall-palm springs fabric

What’s your own home like?

Our home is a Victorian semi-detached property. It’s a contemporary, colourful and eclectic family home that we feel is both functional and cosy.

Favourite room?

The living room – it’s where we switch off from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and it feels like a cosy nook. I love the colours and layers, and it always gets such lovely sunlight. I just feel it’s the one room where everything just works.

What has been your best home buy?

The Sweet Savage artwork by Bonnie and Clyde that hangs in our dining room.

What’s going to be your next home purchase?

New Buster + Punch lights for our hallway renovation.

What do you collect?

Lovely ceramic bowls and serving dishes; I love nothing better than cooking for family and friends and I love to serve my food in eclectic colourful patterned bowls.

What would be your dream design project?

A Kitty McCall-inspired hotel would be amazing.

What’s next for you?

The launch of my collaboration with innovative bedding brand Koa. It was such a lovely project to work on as they valued my input on designs and colour palette. I think the result looks very sophisticated

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Portrait by Fiona Murray 

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Photos by Yeshen Venema