A Cincinnati-based company, luvkt creates sweetly made crocheted animals and ceramics. We interviewed owner Katie Swartz to learn more about her local business and cheerful creations.
Meet lukt at our Summer Maker Mart on June 2nd in Columbus!
Tell us about your business.
My business is luvkt. Many people ask how it’s pronounced. I explain that it’s my name plus my effort. I work in clay and fiber. At times it’s one more than the other, but I adore both equally.
I grew up in Columbus and moved to Cincinnati for school. I liked it, had family there and stayed. Ohio is my home and I am proud of it.
When younger, I wanted to save the world and of course make it a better place. Cliché, but it still rings true. I want to make people happy, make them feel alive and elevate the moments we share. If my pots and animals can lift someone’s spirits, and bring cheer, then I am succeeding.
What drew you to your craft?
The moment I touched clay, I fell in love. There were times that I did not have access to working in clay so I delved into my fiber habits. The two bodies of work were separate paths, but I knew I always wanted them to merge. A few years ago I made myself a yarn bowl and decided to put a face on it similar to my crocheted work. Then and there, I felt I took a step in uniting my methods.
What is your favorite thing you have ever made?
There have been a few pieces that put a smile on my face over the years. I’ve since parted with all of them, but their memory lingers. There was a super soft cashmere blend white rabbit with an extra large head and floppy ears. Its proportions were just right to make it as adorable as could be.
The latest batch of ceramics I painted, I was particularly fond of. I was trying to channel the subtle colors of winter and was using some peach and blue combos. I was pleased as punch when I pulled them out of the glaze kiln.
I love to make old new again. The crocheted animals are made with recycled yarns as much as possible. I love to find an old gem of a sweater, one that’s an absurd style or past its fashionable prime. Once, I found a knee-length sweater coat, wildly fuzzy that was the color of Elmo. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It gave me a tough time unraveling it, but it made some fantastic foxes.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
An artist and a teacher. I also wanted to travel the world.
What is your creative process?
Make, make, make. One thing leads to the next.
If I feel uninspired, I take a break and do something else. Bake something, delve into a book with interesting images, or better-get out and experience nature, art, or an exhibit. I try to keep a sketchbook or journal with me all the time so I can make lists or sketches of ideas when they pop up. I enjoy making lists because it helps me feel organized. It’s satisfying to cross items off the list.
What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?
Take more pictures!! Document what I was making and what I was doing. I was fortunate to travel a lot 10 years ago, and almost every time arriving at the airport, I’d realize that I’d forgotten my camera. Those trips were a wealth of inspiration for the things I make now. I rely on memories and feelings those experiences gave me.
Why is it important to support local artists & makers?
There are so many reasons to support local artists and makers. It not only helps the local economy, but it elevates the community. Artists make a community sparkle in what they do and who they are as they exist in it.
Why do you love doing what you do?
I love creating, and building with my hands. I love that my work has the potential to bring people happiness, whether it’s with their morning coffee or a kid cuddled up with one of my animals. I am so lucky to be able to make art and make objects that people enjoy.
As a teacher, I love introducing people of all ages to clay. Giving students the tools to express themselves and guiding them to manipulate the materials to bring their ideas to life.
What advice do you have for other people who want to start their own businesses?
Do what you enjoy doing. Your love will shine through in what you create. Don’t try to do it all because your time is too precious. Ask for help, or hire others to help when needed.
What is your favorite thing about exploring Ohio?
I have only participated in one Ohio Explored event so far, and whew! I felt so honored to be a part of it. It was in a gorgeous space with so many talented and polished people. The collection of vendors was supreme and their wares amazing. I could have spent all my money.
Ohio is so lucky to have such creative minds making and working here, and calling it home.