Featured: Kate Gurska of Woodland Tale

Kate Gurska of Woodland Tale

My first glimpse into Kate's creative world was through her Etsy page where the images of her incredible hand-embroidered critters, woodland inspired jewelry and home decor, and beautifully hand-carved rubber stamps (created by her beloved husband) made me swoon immediately.  I was instantly transported into a fairytale world of friendly woodland creatures, where everything is light, sweet, and lovely.  I want to live there, snuggled up with a stuffed bear, with stuffed foxes and birds as my friends.  

Kate is a full-time creative based in Ukraine, and sells her work through her Etsy page, entitled Woodland Tale.  Woodland Tale came to be through an evolution of Kate realizing that her creativity could not only be a valuable kind of personal escape, but also could be a successful business.  What started as a side project while working her day job grew into a full-time living, which Kate describes as being very fulfilling, giving her confidence, and making her truly happy.

When talking with me about her creative process, Kate explains that she attempts to keep her working hours to a traditional 8 hour work day, but described this as "easier said than done, as it is hard to stop making things."  I hear ya, sister.  Kate's creative process requires a lot of bright, natural light so she tries to work as much as she can during the day, although she tends to be more a night owl.  She spends half of the day stitching and bringing her critters to life while listening to music (her favourite bands include Madrugada, Tiger Lillies, and Ane Brun) or having a favourite, know-it-off-by-heart movie or TV show on in the background.  Coffee is also a requirement.  For Kate, the act of stitching (providing it's not an rush order) is almost a meditation for her.  While Kate would love to focus just on creating, like most who run a creative business, she spends a substantial part of her day on social media and responding to messages and emails.  She posts regularly to her social media sites (see below where you can follow along with Kate), and spends time on Pinterest and Bloglovin', which she calls "dangerous" and a "crazy time-eater."  I can so relate to this girl!  Kate loves connecting with people from all over the world, which is good because with almost 4,000 Facebook followers and nearly 10,000 admirers on Etsy, she's definitely one of the super popular cool kids.

I asked Kate a few questions about her process, challenges, inspiration, and where she sees her business in the future.  Check out her (super cool) responses below.

What is your favourite part of your creative process:

My most favorite thing about making critters is actual embroidery.  I really love adding stitch by stitch and seeing how a naked creature turns into a wily raccoon or a dreamy fox. As for costumed dolls, which I also create occasionally – it’s making the clothes. Maybe when I was a child I didn’t have enough of it and now for me it’s a sort of child’s play, you know. Dressing up a doll and seeing how she acquires her personality is such an amazing thing!

What challenges do you face in your creative business and how do you overcome them?

To organize myself. This is something that drives me mad. My creative process is a mess no matter how hard I'm trying to harmonize. This is the hardest thing about any creative business - you are happy to work for yourself, making things you enjoy, but there is no angry boss who would put the heat on you to make everything regularly, timely and desirably, within a set period of time.
Planning out my day helps a lot. I set up time for work and for rest or change of activity – without this my days would turn into either endless stitching or total social media surfing. Both are not very productive when they are on their own.

Where would you like to see your creative business in 10 years?

Standing steadily on both feet, developing and growing. I hope by that time, my woodland jewelry line has a wide variety of products, my embroidered critters range increases to a beautiful and cheerful huge woodland band of various sizes and colors. And my one-of-a-kind dolls are made on a regular basis. At the moment, they are a sort of an escape but I do have a pile of adorable ideas in my head which just need to come to this world – and they are many!  And of course, the stamps created by my husband have their own growth and development, attracting a lot of interest from all over the world. 

Who are your creative inspirations?

People. Other artists – illustrators, photographers, doll-makers. Just a person passing me by in the street. Children – there is nothing like watching them playing with your creature and seeing whom they see in it. Animals and birds, too.

Don't you just want to be her friend?  I do.  Kate is a truly wonderful soul, who lives a life filled with a love for all things creative.  She's the embodiment of what The Creative Wild stands for, and I'm thrilled to have featured her on the blog. 

Want to know where you can buy Kate's critters, jewelry, decor, or stamps?  Her Etsy shop is well-stocked and you can also shop in person via the France-based boutique fée pas ci, fée pas ça.  Also, I highly recommend following her Flickr photostream.  It's chalk-full of images of her creatures, her surroundings, her works-in-progess.  It's awesome.

Get Social

Follow Kate and her woodland friends all around the web!

All photos courtesy of Kate Gurska and Tori *Tokabari* Rumyantseva

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  1. I follow Kate and her lovely creations on Facebook and pop into her shop often to see what's new. The simplicity and charm of her work touches a place in my heart every time. Wonderful feature!