How Katherine Cross Became a Surface Design Pro

Aug 30, 2017 | Detroit Designers

Stunning. Unique. Vintage with a modern feel. This is the general consensus of those familiar with the designs of Katherine Cross. Made by repurposing scraps of fabric and small bits from magazines, each design is unique and one of a kind. Cross takes pride in breathing life into artifacts from the past and is perfecting her skill with each creation. Color, line, shape, and shadow are the design elements that motivate Cross’s creativity. Although Cross is presently gaining recognition for her hand made products, she admitted that the path leading to her career as a surface designer was an interesting journey.

“Green Hair” Jacket (Photo: Christian O’Grady)

Custom design by Katherine Cross (Photo: Katherine Cross Design)

“Green Hair” Jacket (Photo: Christian O’Grady)

Custom design by Katherine Cross (Photo: Katherine Cross)

For nearly twenty years Cross worked in the field of research at Wayne State University even though she possessed a Bachelor’s in Drawing, and a Masters in Art Therapy. “I chose to do work that paid a salary, offered benefits, and was steady income,” Cross said. “I enjoyed my job, but I would do what I could to make it more creative, from writing lay articles to creating interesting side-projects for myself .“ A few years later, Cross took a trip out of the country that would enable her to embrace her calling as an artist.

IGNITING THE ARTIST WITHIN

In fall of 2014 Cross and her spouse relocated to Germany from Bloomfield, Michigan due to a promotion through her spouse’s job. “For a year and a half I couldn’t work because I was an alien in the country, “ said Cross. “I used that time to reconnect with things I loved to do as an undergrad. I practiced drawing and would spend time cutting out beautiful moments in magazines. Shortly therafter, I began gluing the pieces into collages.”

Photograph of digital composition with Tiggert's head bowed into a fireball burning between his hands.

The assembly of a colorful collage (Photo: Khalid Ibrahim)

In April of 2015 Cross befriended a German swimwear designer who suggested that Cross should print her designs on fabric and gave Cross the number of her fabric printer. Before creating custom apparel, Cross began making greeting cards from some of her designs and went door-to-door soliciting retail shops in the area. “I was curious to see who might be interested in purchasing them. No sooner than I found my first customer, a local flower shop, my spouse and I had to abruptly move back home to Michigan.”

Example of a postcard with custom design (Photo: The Creative Armory)

THE POWER OF POSITIVITY

Back in Michigan and motivated by the work she started in Germany, Cross decided to launch “Katherine Cross Design” in June of 2016. Between managing daily operations and meeting project deadlines, Cross explained that keeping a positive mindset plays a critical role in the success of her business. “I’m a firm believer in the Law of Attraction. What you put out will come back. You have to project positive thoughts into the world and visualize good things happening for your company. Surround yourself with good people and take advantage of each moment.” When in need of inspiration, Cross noted her favorite designer Dries Van Noten as a go-to source.

Vendor booth showcasing one-of-a kind surface patterns. (Photo: Katherine Cross Design)

Like many artists, Cross works an additional job to offset expenses from her design company. Fortunately, she has found that her second job provides more creative fuel than burnout. “My job actually gives me a way to reserve my creative energy because there’s no pressure of having to be creative on the spot. I also get pretty good exercise which keeps me physically energized,” said Cross. Although working takes time away from her design company, Cross admits she is grateful for the ability to support her company while she is growing her client base.

I wanted to “wow” people with my work. I enjoy being different, loud, and colorful.

-K. Cross

Photography of fashion savvy female model sitting on yellow machinery sporting a yellow skirt and handbag to match.

A fun multi-color jacket design. (Photo: Katherine Cross Design)

I wanted to “wow” people with my work. I enjoy being different, loud, and colorful.

-K. Cross

Photography of fashion savvy female model sitting on yellow machinery sporting a yellow skirt and handbag to match.

A fun multi-color jacket design. (Photo: Katherine Cross Design)

ON THE PATH TO SUCCESS

On June 24, 2017 Katherine Cross packed up her collection of custom designed apparel and headed to the Fine Art Fine Wine Fair in Orchard Lake, Michigan. Cross enjoyed being in the company of fellow artists and chatting about her designs with visitors that stopped by her booth. “I wanted to ‘wow’ people with my work. I enjoy being different, loud, and colorful,” Cross said. The intent behind attending the fair was to gain exposure for her brand. To her surprise, she would return home having won “Best of Show.”

Photograph of woman dressed in all black attire, lying on her back poolside

Best of Show ribbon awarded to Katherine Cross. (Photo: Katherine Cross Design)

“I was humbled, honored, and shocked,” said Cross. “For a while I didn’t know if I was headed in the right direction with my art. The positive feedback and excitement of the crowd gave me confirmation that this is where I’m meant to be. I am confident in my work, but to be recognized amongst peers was the best thing.”

Future Plans

Since the beginning of the year, Cross has showcased her unique creations at a host of design themed events and has no plans of slowing down. As evidence of her hard work, she was selected to be a presenter at this years PechaKucha Night; an event that showcases Detroit’s most talented designers. “The world would be better served if more people could do what they love. It doesn’t have to be complex. People say they don’t have time to color, but it really doesn’t take much to express yourself,” said Cross .

In addition to creating new product-lines for her brand, Cross shared that she would like to be involved in a large-scale project that would help contribute to the beautification and aesthetic of the city. “I would love to do a mural of some sort. I like mixing it up and doing something different. I believe in being creative in all sorts of ways.”

Golden schmetterling reversible bomber jacket. (Photo: Katherine Cross Design)

Custom over-the-shoulder bag (Photo: Katherine Cross Design)

Want to see more designs by Katherine Cross? Visit her website Katherine Cross Designs. What are your thoughts surrounding Surface Design? Have you ever wanted to try it? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Future Plans

Since the beginning of the year, Cross has showcased her unique creations at a host of design themed events and has no plans of slowing down. As evidence of her hard work, she was selected to be a presenter at this years PechaKucha Night; an event that showcases Detroit’s most talented designers. “The world would be better served if more people could do what they love. It doesn’t have to be complex. People say they don’t have time to color, but it really doesn’t take much to express yourself,” said Cross .

Golden schmetterling reversible bomber jacket. (Photo: Katherine Cross Design)

In addition to creating new product-lines for her brand, Cross shared that she would like to be involved in a large-scale project that would help contribute to the beautification and aesthetic of the city. “I would love to do a mural of some sort. I like mixing it up and doing something different. I believe in being creative in all sorts of ways.”

Custom over-the-shoulder bag (Photo: Katherine Cross Design)

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