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Positive Thoughts and a friendly shove to Just do it!

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19th February 2024

Hi there my name is Katie......

When I was 15, trying to decide what A-levels I wanted to choose I had no idea what I wanted to ‘Do’......

I wasn’t terribly skilled academically but I did have a natural ability to organise, sort out problems, lead by example, connect with pretty much anyone and wasn’t afraid to go into any situation and give it  go. I loved Art but I wasn’t an extraordinary painter, I loved to read and could describe in words vividly what I wanted to say.....sometimes with too much detail but I could definitely communicate my thoughts. I was enthusiastic, positive, practical and didn’t mind getting my hands dirty, putting the extra hours to get things done.

So I chose History of Art, Art and English. History of Art was a new subject but it combined my love of Art, colour, texture with English, understanding the stories behind paintings and the history of how Art developed. Most importantly my History of Art Teacher was brilliant. Enthusiastic and animated with her total love of History of Art she basically ‘willed’ me to do the best I could. It was she who could explain with her body language, her tone, her passion who showed me how to learn.

I got a D in Art, not great but it did mean that I could possibly think about going to do a Foundation Art course for 1 year at an Art College. I didn’t get offered a place......BUT when I was visiting these amazing creative places are saw their Textiles department. Fabrics, Silks, Leather, Fur, buttons, tassels, ribbons, rainbows of colours and textures.

My sister lived in London and suggested I try a course in ‘Interior Design’........what was that I asked? She sent me the Course brochure from The Inchbald School of Design – a Private college in London offering all sorts of lengths of courses. The 3 Month Diploma course was all that I could ask my Dad to pay for but it was enough! I applied with my 3 mediocre A-levels and got a place...... Even though it was a short course, I learnt so much. It totally opened my eyes to the wonderful world of Interior design and gave me just enough training and skills to start at the bottom and get my first job.

I sent 50 CV’s.......Had 8 Responses, 3 Interviews and was finally offered my first job. From then on I worked all over London in different roles in many different Interior design firms but my key roles where always:


Now that I look back I also surrounded myself in Natural colours, Muted Tones, Vegetable dyed fabrics, Botanical and Floral prints, warm and tactile fabrics, all inspired by Nature.

One of the roles I adored was Dressing the house for the final reveal, once we had hung all the beautiful new curtains, the furniture specially designed was in place we needed the final flourish. This was Floristry! So I would go to Covent Garden Flower Market at 3am to gather beautiful blooms brought in from all around the world but it was the English flowers and all the glorious greenery, foliage and wild harvestings that I was always drawn to. Christmas Wreathes and Garlands, Easter Spring bulbs nestled in Moss in wicker baskets, Huge bouquets of Paeonies and blossoms........This was my favourite part. All I had to do was arrange the Natural blooms and Foliage in a way that let them shine. My love of nature and wanting to make my clients homes look utterly stunning came together in my career in Interior Design.

By now I was 30 years, working very hard but at the top of my game unless I wanted to start my own business. But I also desperately wanted a child, before I became too old........so I retired and moved to Norfolk to raise my daughter who is now 18 yrs old. The minute I arrived here I was amazed at how abundant the hedgerows were and realised that most of the greenery I had been buying in London had originally been grown right here in Norfolk!

As I was now looking after a tiny child our walks in Nature took on a treasure hunt every time we went outside. Acorns, Lichen covered twigs, leaves, caterpillars, lady birds, butterflies all made their way back to our kitchen table to be marveled at. I realised that gathering and wandering in the woods was incredibly relaxing and brought me and my daughter such happiness and I started to buy more and more books about wildlife and nature.

I then instinctively started to bring more twigs, more clumps of moss, more branches of spruce home and started to remember all the skills I had learned when I was in London as a ‘Hyper Nester’ Designing peoples homes. I hung my first Wild Whopper Wreath on my front door and was so happy when my girlfriends, other mums from school were amazed and begged me to show them how I made it......and so ‘Wild Oak Workshops’ was born.

I share my love of nature, my creative skills with others, mostly women and whilst we were creating I give them all sorts of fascinating facts about the natural ingredients they are working with. They left with huge smiles on their faces and a real sense of pride at what they have created and a newly ignited fascination with their local natural world.

My message to you? Don’t worry if you ‘Don’t know’ what you want to do or be in your future life........it is incredibly rare that any one does certainly when you are young. So stick your hand up and try everything........you never know what skills you are gaining which you will use in future jobs.

Think of your Job journey as a Daisy Chain.....each one connects to the next. Who knows where it will take you!

Sending you Positive thoughts and a friendly shove to Just do it!

About Wild Oak Workshops

Wild Oak offers creative experiences that are inspired by Nature, to help people feel connected with nature, here in West Norfolk. Our workshops are held either here at The Nest, Watatunga, Ely Cathedral and Church in the Fields. We also bring tailored worksho...

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