Kathleen Reilly is a silversmith and interdisciplinary maker living and working in the UK. She explores the expectations of our contemporary dining practice, by designing and making subversive tablewares. Her work is often concerned with manners, particularly the interactions between user and object.
What have you rebelled against in the past, and what are you rebelling against now?
I think I’m always rebelling a bit in my work, against entrenched habits, trying to change our everyday understandings and perceptions and making that more of the norm.
Do you need to be a rebel to enjoy your work?
Not a rebel as such, but you definitely have to look at it light heartedly and with an openness to accept new ideas.
Do you use your own work?
Yes I love to use my own work, it really makes it complete seeing it in action, it’s meant to be used! No point hiding it away in an archive box, it comes alive on the table.
Do you think dishware can still be improved? If yes, in what way?
Yes we have to make innovative wares more accessible and known, our daily plates, knives, forks and spoons can be so boring and sometimes uncomfortable and uncomplimentary to the food we are eating.
What was the inspiration for your Steinbeisser series?
My Steinbeisser series was very much about pushing simple shapes and lines as much as possible. I thought a lot about the space around an object, and how that can be utilised to provoke new order and movement. I try to let a piece of glassware or metal speak to me before I start making, I then try to encompass what I am feeling and seeing, which should hopefully result in a sense of visual and proportional harmony.
Describe your work in 3 words!
Poetic. Harmony. Light.
What kind of materials do you use and where do you get them from?
I use mainly metal, copper, silver, brass, aluminium and steel with various platings or powdercoating. I have a big scrap box so like to dig through that before having to buy new sheets from the metal supplier. The glassware I hunt about charity shops for nice shaped pieces or some I get made for me by specialists. I like to add details with ribbon or rubber from the local haberdashery.
What are you working on right now?
I’ve just finished my new collection “the kitchen is the gallery is the kitchen” for my Masters in Jewellery & Metalwork at the Royal College of Art, it will be on show from June to July in London. After that I will be having a good rest, it has been fun and inspiring but also very exhausting.
What excites you about tomorrow?
Right now after graduation its the relaxation but also the not knowing what might cross my path.
What has been your favourite dinner experience?
I love to cook especially with friends and fresh ingredients, me and my boyfriend do a lot of seafood, we made a dinner with tempura samphire, squid ink risotto and fresh crab its fun to learn while cooking and also enjoy together as a group. The Steinbeisser dinner I attended in Amsterdam of course was also truly unique!
What further ambitions do you have?
Next year I hope to begin plans for launching my own brand with a new line of objects available for purchase online and in stores.
What are your 3 favourite pieces on Jouw…?
I love love love the Water and Wine Glasses by Jochen Holz, I actually have a few pieces of his at home already, so all of his work is a must, Maki Okamoto’s Quintuple Fork, and Joo Hyung Park’s Moment Plates.