This afternoon we're sharing a conversation with founder of design studio RE_KCUT, Penelope Tucker. Penelope is a painter, a jewellery maker, and as we discovered a soon to be tufter too! We speak to her about the creative fields she works within, how making and creating is a form of therapy, and find out the inspirations and ideas behind the forms, shapes and colours she uses in her paintings and jewellery designing too.
Hey Penelope, are you able to tell us about how you decided to work under your pseudonym name RE_KCUT, and what this artist name means to you?
I’ve chosen to work under the name for a couple of reasons, one, it’s my surname backwards (wild I know) and secondly, as a designer I wanted to create a space to enable me to work on various projects and creative art forms. The idea is that RE_KCUT will evolve as I do, I just bought a tufting gun for example… rugs incoming!!
Many of our followers and subscribers know you for your paintings and artwork, however you also create custom jewellery too! How did you get into the jewellery side of things?
I basically just love making stuff. I’m a Fashion Designer / Brand Consultant as my main source of income and working in a creative field is something I always wanted to do, I always had this fear growing up of just having one job, one thing that you have to do forever… so I think I just obtain hobbies as a way of mixing things up and keeping myself challenged. The jewellery thing started a few years ago when my parents bought me a ring making course as a birthday present (my parents are fab with the gifting) it just kind of escalated from there, I launched an Instagram for my rings that I was creating and now I make one-off pieces (@saint.kilda). I’ve always thought that jewellery was pretty special, I like making pieces that are one of a kind and completely unique to the person that owns them… each piece has a story of it’s own.
Are you able to give us some insight into your jewellery making process? Perhaps the main steps involved from start to finish in creating a piece for a client?
I make the rings using a wax casting process. Generally I start out drawing some shapes, sometimes to a specific brief for someone. I carve it out of wax to create the form I want then I take the piece to my caster in Hatton Garden where it goes through the process of lost wax casting. Then I get it back, file and polish it ready for the client. I love working with wax, there’s something so nice about creating the shapes, it’s super therapeutic.
Both creative outputs are technically very different, is there something about the juxtaposition of painting and creating jewellery that you enjoy, or do you believe that both practices align?
The processes are different, but I find I’ll be sat doing one and it’ll hugely affect my work in the other if that makes sense. I’ll often be sat painting and come up with some new shapes I’d like to try from a jewellery perspective and vice versa.
In a previous discussion we discovered that your paintings are largely responses to light breaking through your windows in the early hours of the morning, and that you sketch these abstractions as a way to overcome sleep anxiety. Your honesty and openness about this is wonderful! By talking about your own anxiety do you hope to convey any specific messages, or open up important conversations through your art?
Talking about these experiences is so important. As someone who suffers from anxiety, painting and creating things in general is a huge help for me. It brings me into the present, calms me and gives me a sense of achievement and purpose. When I can’t sleep at night because my mind is going at a million miles an hour I find sketching is so useful, if talking about that makes someone else grab a pencil and try it for themselves then that can only be a good thing.
You have mentioned to us that you've recently moved to more of a 'warehouse style' living space, which will allow you to have a larger work space within your home which sounds amazing! How are you settling into your new place, and have you already found that your new surroundings are affecting your work in any way?
I’ve literally just moved in so it’s a bit chaotic right now! Finding space to work in London can be tough so I’m lucky to have a place to live and work in the same space. Can’t wait to get the paint out!
Could you tell us about the mediums you choose to paint with, and why you like using them?
I work with acrylic for most of my pieces, I find it works well for the style of art that I’m creating right now but I’m really excited to get going with some yarn and my tufting gun too… I think it’s nice to mix things up and try new mediums. It keeps the results interesting.
Finally, your colour choices for your paintings are really well considered and often contrasting, which gives your work great impact. How do you go about deciding your palettes for each piece? What inspires your choices?
I’m hugely influenced by mid-century design and architecture. As simple as it sounds I just go for colours that I want on my wall! I’d say I have quite a minimal taste and aesthetic so I like to stick to 2-3 colours in general. I go through phases of creating bold, colourful pieces and then I’ll go through a very neutral period like right now, I can’t stop painting with black and ecru… it just works.
See Penelope's available artwork under her design name RE_KCUT here!