Maybe there’s something magically inspiring about the River Clyde, or is it simply the cider served in Glaswegian pubs. Any way, Glasgow is buzzing with young up-and-coming artists creating incredible things, either on stage or on fabric, with words or with paint. Every month or so we’ll chat with a Glasgow-based artist to see what they’re up to. Today: Chloë Knott, an actress, textile designer and blogger. “I love performing; it acts like a drug, it plays on your emotions, and it gets so addictive.”
People always tell me I do too much. Then I met Chloë Knott. Amazing actress, fantastic textile designer at the Glasgow Art School, and owner of a great blog and flawless Instagram. Not only has she always been involved in musical theatre and plays until sixth form, but she continues to act with Student Theatre at Glasgow, while juggling her degree, blogging, photoshoots and a small business.
So how did it all start? Chloë described it as “genuine being bored” at first. “At the end of foundation last year”, she continues, “I needed something to do. So I started making bags during the summer. People said I was good enough to sell them, so I gave it a go. Now I use Etsy, and also sell via people I know.” She stresses how progressively she developed her various activities: “I didn’t go into uni thinking that I absolutely wanted to do prints… It was more that I’d found I could do it and I continued. Something takes your priority at one point, and then another takes over.” For her, the importance of being able to alternate between activities was paramount: “I like being able to move between things. I was for a long time set on acting but I’m not thick-skinned enough for it. So now I wish maybe I had done more prints and textiles. I love performing; it acts like a drug, it plays on your emotions, and it gets so addictive. I’m sure I’ll be able to keep up with it but for now I’m going to be doing costumes.”
Having seen numerous pictures circulating on social media, I asked her about modelling, to which she responded: “My friend is a photographer. He’s recently gone freelance, and when he wants to try things out, I help him practice. It just developed.” But Chloë didn’t stop to posing just for her friends: “My friends pushed me to use a website and a couple of people started asking me to pose for them. It was weird doing my first paid photoshoot in the Botanics. I’m not a model, and never will be, but it’s the easiest money I’ve ever made.”
Noticing she mentioned her friends very often, I asked Chloë what inspired and pushed her: “Definitely teachers to start out with. I had a brilliant drama teacher. But more recently, my very creative friendship group from sixth form. Most of them are in drama school now, and when I see them, I want to be doing what they’re doing. One of them was directing a show we were in, and we were all collaborating. You get driven on that. And you have a support network around you as well. We’re all trying to work in the same industry, so we might all work together again.”
Amazed, I asked her how she manages to do it all. Her answer was “Most of the time I don’t think like I’m doing a lot. It just feels normal after A-levels. There’s definitely times where I realise I have to stop. But my attention span is terrible, so I need lots of things to do.” All these activities seemed to be very time-consuming but she explained: “It does fill your time, but there are definitely days where I’m looking for stuff to do. Uni is every day nine till five, then theatre most evenings. So the blogging gets done in between. It’s weird, I’d never liked writing. But from reading other people’s stuff, I got into it.” And that is exactly how Chloë works and thrives, by constantly trying news things and honing new skills.
However, most impressive were her views on stress management: “I try and make sure that it’s not an area that’s stressful. Because at the end of the day it’s my hobby, not a job… I don’t have ten million followers, no responsibility. I do it when I enjoy it, so it won’t be a chore.” True wisdom in those words. Especially coming to university, with the endless opportunities, it’s easy to do way too much to the point where it just becomes stressful.
When I asked her about her favourite part of acting and her work with textiles, she answered without hesitation: “Getting onstage and doing it. The rest is really enjoyable, but I do it for the performing. Having done a short film before, I know you definitely feed off an audience, not off someone going ‘cut’. For textiles, it’s similar, I prefer the final product. Designing, I get frustrated, especially looking at big designs I want to be able to do. When you have the initial project, it can be overwhelming. But then the ideas start coming in, you develop it, and seeing it all together is definitely the best.”
Chloë will be taking her skills to Guildhall School of Music and Drama next year: “I’m doing costume supervision. As much as I’ve enjoyed designing, I was never a director, I was always an actor. Maybe I’m not as easily creative. I enjoy making. Now, I’ll find what designers want, get people to make it and do the dressing of the shows.” She chuckled, “A degree in tidying and ironing, effectively.” But it will be much, much more. Intertwined with incredible modesty are great talents and self-awareness that I’m sure will lead Chloë to great things in her chosen path.
Website – https://fabricforward.com/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/cnknottay/
Youtube – http://bit.ly/1OZ7v1c