A Glimpse into The Magical World of Kate Rohde

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By Celeste Hawkins

If you happen to be going anywhere near the NGV International at Fed Square or Highpoint Shopping Centre in the coming weeks, then you will most certainly stumble into the Magical and Fantastical world of Melbourne based artist, Kate Rohde. I had the opportunity to have a quick Q & A with her, just to dig a little deeper into a few more things that could give me a greater insight into her practice.

Crystalised 1

Kate Rohde: Crystalised 1

Where does your love for the ornate and the excessive stem from? Are there any hints from your childhood that might give us some more information?
I grew up in a very minimal, Japanese inspired home, so all the decoration that I loved was very foreign to me and fascinating. Also you never really saw first hand examples of it in Australia, so it had an exotic far away appeal as I never travelled overseas until I was 19 years old.

Ornamental Crimes 1

Kathe Rohde: Ornamental Crimes 1

What sort of materials have you worked with in the past and what draws you to working with resin? You said that you loved the transparency. What is like to work with as a medium?
In the past I used more craft materials; papier-mâché, fake fur, glitter etc. But more and more I’ve worked mainly with resin, I like it because it’s very versatile and you can be quite experimental with it.

Kate Rohde x Romance Was Born

Kate Rohde & Romance Was Born

Did you major in sculpture at VCA? How has your work changed since or are their elements that have stuck?
I actually majored in painting, but became interested in sculpture about half way through second year. Many of my influences are still the same, but my techniques and finished pieces are way more sophisticated.

Ornamental Crimes 3

Kate Rohde: Ornamental Crimes 3

What has changed about your installation works over the years? Are they getting larger and more intricate, more colourful?
They are definitely getting larger, more intricate and colourful. As my skills have improved all these things have become possible, plus being more established I’m able to invest more money into producing the works and I also have a bigger studio to work in and make bigger pieces.

Kate Rohde x Romance Was Born 1

Kate Rohde & Romance Was Born

Please tell me about your foray into jewellery making:
I started making jewellery after the fashion designers Romance Was Born invited me to collaborate with them on their 2010/11 SS collection Renaissance Dinosaur. It was something I was interested in doing but had never made the time to do, but they asked me to make some pieces as part of the collaboration, which really forced me to commit to finally making some jewellery. It went really well and the opportunity arose to continue making it, and expand upon what I’d made for them, which is what I’ve done ever since!

Hybrid Geology 3

Kate Rohde: Hybrid Geology 3

How did you find working with a 3D pen?
Working with the pen was interesting, kind of difficult at first, but I felt I got the hang of it fairly quickly. It had some vague similarities to some other materials I’ve used like hot glue and acrylic gap filler. I liked the bright colours you can use with it as well as transparent sticks.

Wunderkammer The strange and the curious 2

Kate Rohde: Wunderkammer The strange and the curious 2

You talk about art making as a primal instinct, with that need to ‘decorate one’s cave’. I’m curious about your own cave-is it also highly decorative? Or is there a need for you to have a more minimal space at home?
I live and work in the same space, the studio which is downstairs is quite hectic as I’m a sprawling messy kind of worker, and I have a large archive of materials and molds which are stored there. My living area upstairs is pretty minimal, largely as it’s a work in progress, but also because I like to have some uncluttered space to escape to. I’ve also never really kept any of the pieces that I’ve made over the years, they’ve all sold pretty much.

Hybrid Geology 2

Kate Rohde: Hybrid Geology 2

Are there any new materials you would like to work with in the future? Or a particular project you see yourself doing?
I am interested in exploring and working further with 3D printing technologies, and also now that I’ve had worked a little with metal casting I’d possibly like to incorporate more of that into future pieces.


Kate Rodhe’s work can currently be experienced in two places:

At the NGV International at Fed Square and Highpoint Shopping Centre


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