We had the good fortune of connecting with Katie Cote and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Katie, what makes you happy? Why?
I have been drawn to creativity since I was a child. It was something that always made me happy. This is still true for me today as an adult. I have worked as a floral designer and as a chocolate maker and decorator for a number of years, each having their unique formulas and processes. While working as a floral designer, there was always that moment when you show a client/customer their finished bouquets/arrangements, and they gasp and have a emotional reaction. The thought that something I created can cause this kind of experience for someone, gave me immense joy and happiness each and every time. And with chocolate, when people would taste high end chocolate made intentionally, the emotional experience they would have would bring about a similar experience for me and it honestly never got old. When it comes to creating, I tend to be all over the board. I dabble in a wide variety of mediums, while maintaining a focus on jewelry. I find that I tend to make things that I like and turns out lots of people like it too or see the value in it, which is just such an amazing feeling. I sell mainly earrings, but I am interested in exploring and creating more androgynous options. I am drawn to and constantly interested in texture, natural materials (metals, wood, clay etc), earth tones and finding a use for any random thing. I find myself asking myself questions and pondering thoughts like, “how could I use this and turn it into something unexpected or something other than an ignored object/material just sitting there?” I believe that everything has a purpose or can be of use, even the most unlikely of items can be used in a variety of ways. These thoughts started happening when I took a ceramics class in college. The tools that were made available to us were things I did not expect to see: Gatorade caps, cookie cutters, random plastic pieces that had interesting shapes or textures, springs, paddles and more. At first, I didn’t understand what the intended use was for all of those random items until I realized that they can be used in any kind of way, not only one. There are literally so many ways to use any one of those items, it really opened up a massive door in my mind; explore freely using my own intuition. To press forward even if I’m unsure of what the outcome would look like or if I would like it or not. It is always worth it to explore and challenge and shift perspective. I find this way of thinking to be incredibly useful in day to day life as well. Look around and learn from your surroundings but then go inward and learn to trust your instincts. And, that people are going to do things differently than you might do them, but it doesn’t make it wrong or better, only different and different is beautiful. I get endless joy thinking about that aspect. My creative journey has been a fun and interesting ride and I am so happy that I continue to create as an adult. There is a buzz, a feeling of thrill and anticipation when I get an idea for something. There’s the build up of the idea and how to actually execute said idea and what needs to be in place or what I need to have on hand to be as prepared as possible and to set myself up for success. It is unlike anything else in the world for me and I feel extremely happy knowing I have all of this curiosity and creativity innately in me. I believe it is my gift I need to share with the world.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
When I make earrings, my intention is to create something unique. I think of snowflakes or finger prints. We are all unique in our own ways and I find it to be satisfying to know that no one else has this exact pair of earrings. Feels extra special. This is my intention with each pair that I make. Now sometimes it’s tricky to do that every time depending on the beads and design but even down to an extra jump ring or an extra seed bead will be enough to make it unique for me. I also love exploring and experimenting. Currently I am working on ideas to incorporate more clay into my current creative works. I’ve got a plethora of ideas but got some things narrowed down to where I’m just a step or two away from fully diving in. I take inspiration from the things I like or find interesting from movies to seed pods. When I think of things I am proud of it always seems to be a project where I pushed myself and the final outcome was better than I imagined. I think of a couple projects in college. First one was a poster about George Melies, a French Illusionist in the late 1800s and early 1900s. He was a film director and later in life he opened a toy/candy store. He was fascinating and was the director of A Trip to the Moon. I created a poster using self hardening clay to make the moon, cardboard and silver foil to make a rocket (that I molded into the moon) as well as different scrapbook stickers of toys and candy. Everything together gave the poster a whimsical feel and was easy to stare at because there were so many details and textures to see. I also invited my classmates to touch the moon and to gently feel the different scrapbook stickers. That was something I loved about that project. Opening up the touch/feel experience when it is usually a big no-no in the art world to touch anything. I’ve always loved that and have been proud whenever I see it.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Hands down Cultura Craft Chocolate. First place I though of. Delicious, ethically sourced chocolate made intentionally with good ingredients. Plus coffee and horchata and so much more. There are also beautiful art murals to see and wonderful women working there. Cultura is connected to the Rise Westwood Collective which is a collective of small businesses and micro-businesses in the Westwood area that aim to support the local businesses and shed light on the beautiful things happening there. They sometimes host dinners made by local chefs who produce incredibly delicious food. I also love Crown Hill Park. It is beautiful and serene with great mountain views and plenty of walking paths. I am originally from Minnesota, land of 10,000 lakes, and crave bodies of water, which are hard to come by here in Denver. Crown Hill has everything I am looking for, plus their facilities are well maintained, which is always a huge plus, haha. I’d also probably take a trip out to Dillon, Colorado because it’s a cool town and a mountain drive is something everyone needs to experience. With being a recent transplant, and having moved right before the pandemic hit, I didn’t get a good chance to explore the area much.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
First of all, I would not be writing these words without the support of Teresa Suydam. She has been supportive of what I do since I met her and has included me whenever possible. Secondly, my friend and former boss, Damaris Ronkanen, owner of Cultura Chocolate. She supported my creativity and offered to carry my earrings in her beautiful store. She has opened so many doors for me by doing this and connected me with many people that I would not have otherwise. Thirdly, my family. They have always loved hearing about my ideas and could see the excitement rise in me whenever I talked about it, showed them my progress and then finally showed them the final piece. Just yesterday I was talking with my mom Cheryl and brother Rob about an idea and their encouragement is so fueling for me. And a book that has helped me, not necessarily creatively but in life, is You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay. Incredible self help book that is great to have on the shelf. I tend to pick it up and flip to a page and it always resonates with my current trials of experiences in life.