“In the end, we’ll all become stories”
– Margaret Atwood
Making a personal memory box is a lovely process. Together, we can create something unique that holds many special and emotive objects. It’s a wonderful way to capture the memories you want to cherish and to preserve them in a piece of art that lasts forever.
For each box I make, I personally take my customers through the process and ensure they move at a pace that feels right for them. I understand completely how important it is to get it right.
Here’s a little look behind the scenes where I reveal the exact steps taken to create the special memory box I made for …
From start to finish, this box took 1 month of discussion time, and 1-2 weeks of making time. It included over 70 objects.
Step One: Outlining the process
When Trev got in touch, I sent them a personal email outlining the creation process, as well as some images of example boxes and prices.
Step two: Securing the booking
I always ask for an upfront deposit of £50 for smaller boxes and £100 for large boxes. This secured Trev's booking and a discovery video call to find out more about the story behind the idea for the box, and the objects it was going to contain.
Step three: Sharing ideas
During the initial video call, Trev shared some of the objects they wanted to include in their memory box. We also discussed the size of the box, firmed up final costs and how they were going to get their special objects to me safely.
Step four: The making
Once I received Trev's objects, I started crafting, curating and making. As I developed the designs and artwork, I had several follow-up conversations with him via email and video chat, so he could see how everything was progressing.
Step five: The memory box arrives
When the box was finished, I packaged it very carefully and sent it to Trev via a specialist art courier. The box was now his to treasure.
I get so much satisfaction when I get feedback from my customers telling me what they think of my boxes. This is what Trev sent to me after receiving his:
"The more days that passed, the harder it became to bring ourselves to tidy mum’s things. It just felt like we'd be packing away small pieces of Mum from her home and our lives. When I saw what Katherine had created for someone’s late grandmother's items, I knew we had to do this – it was just perfect.
There were several video chats throughout the whole process, which was so reassuring as we got to see that Katherine wasn't just a talented artist, but was also kind, and really cared about creating something beautiful for us. Those qualities were important to Mum.
The whole experience was so cathartic, when we got the finished box home and presented it to Dad it really felt like a bit of the grief lifted. The clearing away of Mum's items had become a real burden for us, but to see them all displayed together in such a loving and creative way is a wonderful tribute to the most beautiful of people. And thanks to Katherine, Mum will always have pride of place in our house."
You can read about this commission in more detail here:
A guide to prices
Every memory box is made to order and no box is the same. As such, the final price will depend on the number of objects you’d like to include and how intricate the creation process might be.
As a guide, my smallest boxes, which are approximately 16cm x 21cm, start at £95 and my larger boxes, which are 50cm x 50cm and above, start from £500. I can also do a range of sizes in between.
Once I’ve received a deposit, your balance can be spread out over a payment plan with the final instalment being paid on completion.
If you have any questions, or would like to talk through your requirements, get in touch here.
“Katherine’s superb, high quality drawing of Dyffryn House perfectly captures the very essence of Dyffryn and its Grade II listed mansion house. It brings to life a family home that was once at the heart of a thriving estate and community. We are proud to showcase Katherine’s stunning collection in our gift shop.”
- National Trust Retail Team, Dyffryn Gardens
As well as from my website, my prints and cards are stocked by retailers around the country. My prints provide a unique addition to the range of gifts for small independent retailers, National Trust houses, the National Museum of Wales and Tower Bridge in London. They can be found in gift shops, galleries and home décor shops throughout Wales and beyond.
"Katherine’s artwork has proved a great addition to our range of local art. Her line drawings present elegant, intricate and unique views of popular sites and the Castle line drawing is particularly popular. We have even given framed prints to international dignitaries as a keepsake of their visit."
- Retail Manager, Cardiff Castle
My original pen and ink drawings can be turned into high quality digital prints and cards that are an accessible price for your customers.
I manage the whole process, so you and your customers can get exactly what you need quickly and easily.
I create, print and mount the drawings....
and then pack and ship the prints.
Nature is a big part of my life and I work as sustainably as possible. All of my packaging is plastic-free, biodegradable and compostable.
I’m absolutely thrilled to share that I have a new charity stockist. The amazing RSPB now carry my Long-tailed tit, Blue-tit and Peacock butterfly cards. To date, it’s been one of my biggest wholesale deliveries.
I’m so excited to be working with this wonderful charity. As you know, I absolutely love watching birds flit in and out of my little urban garden.
The RSPB do such important work in the UK and around the world, carrying out conservation work that you can even see from space. Through science, species, places, people and policy, they protect habitats, save species and help to end the nature and climate emergency.
Click here for my current list of stockists.
Would you like to stock my work? I’d love to hear from you. Contact me by clicking the button below:
Exciting news - I have teamed up with BBC Gardeners' World to offer one person the chance to win a commissioned piece worth £350. To enter head to this link or click the image below.
Entries will close on 20th October.
I absolutely love doing house and building commissions. It’s really mindful and relaxing – sometimes having to focus on drawing such tiny roof tiles for example, really makes me slow down and concentrate only on what is in front of me.
I thought you might like to have a quick look at some of my recently completed house portraits and private public building commissions:
500-year old Cotswolds house:
A privately commissioned drawing of this stunning 500 year old house in Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire.
“We LOVE it so much! Thank you x” – @oneoldtown
Torispardon, Scottish Highlands:
I was commissioned to draw this wonderful home as a surprise for my friend who designed it. A fantastic example of what happens when you mix old and new architecture, this amazing home was featured on BBC Scotland’s Home of the Year Show.
St. John the Baptist Church, Cardiff:
This drawing of St John the Baptist Church in Cardiff city centre was commissioned by a customer who got married there, and gave it to their partner as a wedding anniversary gift.
I always love learning about your lives and hearing your stories about the places and buildings that mean so much to you. If you’d like an original drawing of your home, university, wedding venue, or your favourite city, please get in touch!
See more examples of my private commissions here.
“Our experience of a place, knowledge of it, the emotional attachments we form to the people who live there, all affect how we think and feel about a particular place”
– Carol-Anne Davies, Chief Executive, Design Commission for Wales
Lovely to see my drawing of Cilely Colliery featured alongside the wonderful article written by presenter Will Millard describing his emotional response to the abandoned space.
We, as humans in this post-modern world, rarely consider what lies beneath our feet. We see, and celebrate, our world on a horizontal axis only. One that is mostly surrounded by open air, and, for at least half a day, sunlight. When we do venture underground, it is hard to engage with the actual physical and emotional feeling of what it really means to be under the earth. The London ‘underground’ for example, is a well-lit, efficient and sterile tube sealed from the actual element that makes up its name. Being underground, and being able to touch and tunnel through earth, is a different experience altogether. It is claustrophobic and hot; dark, and often quite primal. Your senses are warped, you lose your sense of time and your spatial awareness; you adjust to hear better than you could ever see, your sense of direction is more instinctual, your movements are restricted, yet efficient and effective. Then the release back into the air and sun feels like a rebirth – you can actually smell fresh air when you come back up; you are suddenly so much more aware of how the air moves. Freely breathing and openly seeing somehow feels like an all-new privilege, and not a right to be taken for granted.
What we see here though, and when we consider the legacy of south Wales coal especially, is a world in a cross section and scale that heads directly down in its importance. It is that cross section that still continues ‘hidden’ beneath our feet – and yet, holds so much of the historic value. We have largely removed the pit wheels that would have hung in the air in every direction across the south Wales coalfield, alongside many of the old buildings and pit chimneys. Much of the folklore and culture of mining exists today only in stories, old films, images, and the scars of the last living generation of underground workers. Yet the real area and arena of work, lives on, for now, in a darkness locked deep below our feet.
When many of the mines closed after the strikes, the coal board removed the buildings and repurposed their materials and machines, but they simply capped- off the shafts themselves. Leaving the actual workings intact, and the tools and chambers behind in the dark, ossified for only the length of time it would take for a timber prop or roof support to rot through and collapse. Surprisingly, the process of collapse has taken far longer than the miners back then might have expected. A metaphor in itself, for the enduring resilience and spirit of the Welsh miners.
Thank you for your evocative words Will.
“It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty; the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living” – Sir David Attenborough
I couldn’t let August go by without writing about our amazing trip to Costa Rica! I still can’t quite believe we finally made it after the last few years – we were supposed to go in 2020!
The rainforest is the most magical place – Costa Rica holds 5% of the world’s biodiversity and the Osa Peninsula where we stayed for the whole trip, has over 2.5%. There was wildlife everywhere you looked, and I was definitely in my happy place!
For the last three weeks of my trip, I volunteered with the amazing Osa Conservation – a non-profit dedicated to protecting the biodiversity of the Osa Peninsula.
I mainly worked with sea turtle conservation, which involved collecting eggs from new turtle nests to protect against poachers and predators and then releasing the babies when they hatched.
Every morning I woke up at 4.30am and spent the morning on the beach looking for turtle tracks. We’d find the new nests and excavate the eggs. Once we had all of the eggs, sometimes over one hundred of them, we would relocate them to the hatchery, where 50-70 days later they start to hatch. One morning I was lucky enough to see a big mother finishing laying her nest, which was really special as they usually do it overnight. They are absolutely incredible animals and I have so much respect for them – they have to make it against the odds in order to survive. It’s estimated that for every 1000 babies, only 1 will make it to adulthood.
In the afternoons I spent my time climbing up and crawling inside trees. At one point I was surrounded by hundreds of vampire bats – it was terrifying and amazing at the same time!
Other activities included hiking the rainforest, working on the organic farm, helping with reforestation projects and painting and drawing murals too! At all times I was surrounded by crazy amounts of wildlife. One morning I was collecting turtle eggs and nine scarlet macaws flew overhead. I turned to look at the ocean and saw a whale from the beach!
Costa Rica is such a special place and gives me a lot of hope and inspiration for a country that really values their wildlife and landscape.
There are some wonderful people doing wonderful things there, and if you are interested in conservation, I urge you to check them out at www.osaconservation.org.
You can see more of my adventures on my instagram page.
Thrilled that my Welsh Industrial Revolution boxes formed part of the “Objects” exhibition at Blackwater Gallery, Cardiff Bay – a dynamic display showcasing 40 individual artists in a broad spectrum of mediums.
The exhibition explored the question of how we view and consider objects in the context of “Art”, by examining the notion of objects as seen in everyday life and through the lens of the mundane, extraordinary and emotive.
My Industrial Revolution boxes include curated objects and images that tell the colourful story of this aspect of Wales’ past.
Browse and buy more of my “Storytelling” boxes here.
“I don’t think there’s anything on this planet that more trumpets life than the sunflower…wherever light is, no matter how weak, these flowers will find it. And that’s such an admirable thing. And such a lesson in life”
– Helen Mirren
I'm proud to have worked with my partner Sion Llwyd and City Hospice, Cardiff to design the display of metal sunflowers for the hospice’s unique Forever Flowers event in Cardiff Castle.
Inspired by the ongoing challenges around bereavement, and the charity’s wish to support people with their grief, City Hospice says their choice of sunflower symbolises for many, “positivity, admiration, loyalty and devotion”.
Tasked with designing an eye-catching layout for the flowers to be displayed in the grounds of the castle, we wanted our design to be joyful and memorable – a representation of a bright and happy life while at the same time communicating the message behind the campaign, which is one of remembrance, and celebration of those lost to cancer.
It was such an honour to work with this wonderful organisation, who enable their patients to live their lives to the fullest for as long as possible. City Hospice said:
“We cannot thank Katherine and Sion enough for producing such a powerful display. The display symbolises everything about our Forever Flower campaign and we were so excited to work with a local artist.”
City Hospice and I were lucky enough to win Cardiff Life awards this year. Read more about the event here.
You can read more on City Hospice's website here, but below is the full text:
We asked Katherine why she’s supporting City Hospice:
“City Hospice is a wonderful charity enabling their patients to live their lives to the fullest for as long as possible. Their work is incredibly inspiring and helps so many people. A big part of what I try and do is collaborate with charities, and like-minded organisations, so that my artwork is helping give back too”.
It’s been great working collaboratively on this as a result of us both winning awards at Cardiff Life Awards 2022. We asked Katherine about her win, “Well, what a night! I was up against some amazing organisations, so still can’t quite believe that they chose little old me! A huge congratulations to all the finalists & winners. The judges’ remarks were absolutely lovely and I’m so pleased that they specifically commented on the memory boxes and how they help people to deal with their grief”.
After a series of 8 designs, City Hospice and Katherine decided on the starburst effect. Katherine explained the design chosen:
“This felt like a combination between my art and architecture projects! The design options were inspired by numerous sources – land art, sculpture and large art installations. The chosen final design is intended to be joyful, eye-catching and memorable. It represents a celebration of a bright & happy life at the same time as remembering the message behind the campaign”.
“I was delighted to be asked by the Forever Flowers team at City Hospice to work and collaborate on the design with them. I feel honoured to have been asked to be part of this campaign! Forever Flowers is a beautiful & fun public art display set in the iconic grounds of Cardiff Castle, but it also has such an important and special meaning behind it which makes it all the more interesting.”
Senior Fundraising Coordinator, Daisy Magill said:
“We cannot thank Katherine and Sion enough for producing such a powerful display. The display symbolises everything about our Forever Flower campaign and we were so excited to work with a local artist.”
Images credit : City Hospice
“The mother art is architecture. Without an architecture of our own we have no soul of our own civilisation”
– Frank Lloyd Wright
I am absolutely over the moon to be selected as The Royal Institute of British Architects’ joint second winner in their annual drawing competition! Andy Turk, CEO of Siderise Group who (sponsors of the competition) described my drawings as “fascinating”, and Niall Hobhouse, trustee of Drawing Matter, was ‘beguiled’ by my work – so lovely to hear!
The judges said my drawings are reminiscent of Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa, which is just amazing – he is incredible.
They also specifically commented on this drawing of Cilely Colliery, which was commissioned by a customer last year. The colliery is actually now in ruins, but my customer asked me to create a recreation of what the colliery used to look like. While researching, I found historical images of the mine and sectional subterranean drawings, which I then pieced together to create my representation of what the mine would have looked like, including tiny people and some of the inner workings.
The full article (published in The RIBA Journal):
Two variations on a theme of Wales gained this place for Katherine Jones, who enamoured judges with ‘flattened’ representations of its highly dimensional natural landscape - even if that wasn’t the country that Rory Chisholm, 2021 Eye Line winner (practitioner), first referred to when discussing her pared-back drawing style: ‘The tradition of oblique flat representational drawing is highly developed in Indian art and those very aspects seem to come through here. Its accuracy comes through the innate detail rather than the forcing of perspective.’ Jones’ style reminded him of the drawings of Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa, he added.
One of her Rotring pen images, of Clough Williams-Ellis’ Portmeirion Italianate fantasy village in north Wales, built from 1925 and 1975, beguiled Niall Hobhouse, trustee, Drawing Matter, even if he wasn’t quite sold on the topographical accuracy: ‘The Portmeirion image charms me just because the style seems to match the absurdity of the place,’ he noted, adding: ‘It looks like Portmeirion on the Sorrentine peninsula as the hill isn’t half that high’; though with Snowdonia in the distance, was its’ foreshortening intentional?
Jones’ sectional rendering of the subterranean workings of Cilely Colliery near Tonyrefail, created from historical images of the coal mine is, according to Jones, ‘a “pieced” together representation of what the mine used to look like.’ And while Andy Turk, CEO of sponsor Siderise, liked her ‘fascinating’ drawings, it seemed Kester Rattenbury, professor of architecture and cities at the University of Westminster, and Ana Luisa Soares, co-founder, Fala Atelier, while appreciating them, were less taken by their interpretive quality, happy to see the work take second place.
“I’m learning English at the moment. I can say Big Ben, Hello Rodney, Tower Bridge and Loo.”
So pleased to share that I’ve just finished the drawing that I was commissioned to do by Tower Bridge, London.
Many of you will already be familiar with my current Tower Bridge print, which has been stocked by the Tower Bridge gift shop since last summer. The new drawing is something different though, and really exciting!
The Tower Bridge team asked me to create a set of drawings including a new large scale drawing of the bridge, as well as a set of smaller postcard sized drawings zooming right in on some of the smaller, often overlooked, intricate architectural details. These included the top of the famous towers......
the beautiful windows.......
the boiler which powers the opening of the bridge.....
and one of the gargoyles that projects from the smaller towers:
“Her work is precise and meticulous but has the biggest heart at its centre”
– Lisa Evans, Cardiff Life Magazine
Canton-based artist Katherine Jones uses her work to help others connect with the people, lost loved ones, places and moments they cherish. She does this in many ways – from crafting bespoke memory boxes filled with curated collections of your treasured objects, to creating intricately detailed drawings. Inspired by her experience as an architect, her work is precise and meticulous but has the biggest heart at its centre. Here we chat…
You specialise in object art, and your memory box creations have aided many to overcome the grief of loved ones. Where did the idea come from?
After returning from a five month trip to Central America with a rucksack full of tiny souvenirs, I crafted myself a wooden memory box to house them all. The box brought back so many fond memories, so I started making them for others too. They all feature curated collections of people’s treasured objects – there’s been everything from a 17th century coin, to a rare beer can, and babies’ teeth to a grandma’s curlers.
Each handcrafted box and its compartments hold a curated collection of cherished items that give people a unique way to remember a person, place or time that matters most to them. In 2020, one of my customers wrote on Twitter about her memory box – which she had commissioned to remember her late grandmother – and it was amazing to see over 25,000 people engage with my work online.
You are an architect by trade, how does this inspire your work?
After 11 years of architectural drawing and bringing buildings to life in my career as an architect, I realised I could help people connect with places in a new way. Taking inspiration from my architecture experience, I started creating meticulously detailed drawings of properties and landscapes that had meaning for people. Finding beauty in small details is one of the things I am most proud of, my artwork of Cardiff City Hall involved drawing 2520 individual lines – and that’s just the windows alone.
I use my pens, inks and watercolours to draw universities, first homes, wedding venues, cities and landmarks. I’m proud to say that my artwork now hangs on hundreds of walls and evokes precious memories for people all over the world.
When did you set up in business as an artist?
After I returned from travelling, I found a part-time architecture job so I could develop my artwork. I then worked all evenings and weekends, selling at loads of markets to establish myself. When the time came and I felt like I could support myself, I left the architecture job, in 2019. Covid struck halfway through my full first year of being self-employed, which was a challenge to say the least, particularly because I wasn’t initially eligible for any government funding.
Are you still an architect?
Yes, I’m a self-employed architect and I’m a regular guest tutor at the Welsh School of Architecture at Cardiff University.
Tell us about your artistic highlights so far…
I’ve featured on BBC Radio 4 and have been commissioned by the likes of the National Trust, the National Museum of Wales, and Microsoft. I also had a supersized version of my Porthcawl drawing displayed on Porthcawl Pavilion over the summer as part of an initiative run by the Anwen Cultural Trust. And, last year, I was asked to create a huge 6m-long bespoke piece of art – featuring three storks, which was an opportunity to raise awareness of the successful reintroduction of the birds in the UK – that is now displayed on the walls of the maternity ward at The Grange hospital in Cwmbran.
You won our Arts award at the Cardiff Life Awards 2022, how did that feel?
Well, what a night! I was up against some amazing organizations, so still can’t quite believe they chose little old me! A huge congratulations to all the finalists and winners. The judge’s remarks were absolutely lovely and I’m so pleased that they specifically commented on the memory boxes.
Have you done any collaborations with other local businesses?
I am a member of Cardiff Indie Collective – a fantastic group that champions small businesses in Cardiff. I also teamed up with Run4Wales to produce the official Cardiff Half Marathon artwork 2022 to celebrate the landmarks along the route.
And your work has been selected to appear at the brand-new Yellow TSE eco store in Cardiff?
Yes! It’s a social enterprise department store in Morgan Arcade, which is introducing a new sustainable way of shopping and promoting small, independent businesses. I’m incredibly proud to be one of their concessions.
Is there any good news you wish to share?
I work closely with wildlife charities; since September 2020, I’ve partnered with Hedgehog Helpline Cymru, the WDC (Whale and Dolphin Conservation) and Rewilding Britain. I’ve created drawings for each charity and I donate 40% of every item sold. During my time off, I can be found rescuing bats, bathing hedgehogs and hand-feeding rabbits at my local wildlife centre.
I have recently been commissioned by Tower Bridge to create a detailed drawing of the bridge itself. Tower Bridge has stocked my London prints since last summer, but this will be something different!
I’m an artist who creates beautiful memory boxes and intricate ink drawings to help you connect with the people and places you love.