An Interview with Kathreen Ricketson and Whipup.net

Following on from our ‘Action Pack‘ feature post,  we are thrilled to introduce Kathreen Ricketson. Kathreen is a dynamic force of generosity and creative living, she has recently celebrated a milestone birthday and here she answers some BIG birthday questions to give us a behind-the-scenes peek into her life and work.  We absolutely love the Whip Up manifesto which expresses so clearly Kathreen’s deep valuing and importance of creativity in the hectic lives of both adults and children.

Tell us a little bit about your background and what it was that led you to Whipping up the world?

I am an artist/mother/designer/maker/writer, I went to the Canberra school of art and studied photomedia, then stayed at home for a few years to raise my children, during that time I connected with likeminded makers and creators online. I started Whipup.net which showcases on a daily basis my passion for all things handmade and creative. Whipup.net introduced me to the publishing world and Chronicle books gave me a wonderful opportunity to launch myself as as a writer. Whip Up Mini Quilts was published in 2010 and Little Bits Quilting Bee will be coming out in October this year. I also have been working with Australian publisher Hardie Grant who asked me to curate and edit a series of craft books for kids. At the same time, with the help of my husband and two super children we launched the Action Pack series of E-magazines for children.


How would you describe the distance between the first gem of the  ‘Action Pack’ idea and the day you pressed ‘publish’ on the first issue? 

Oh very short, when we have an idea we just go for it. And online publishing is so instant and gratifying, you can test out a concept and see if it works without a huge investment in money. My two kids, Orlando (8) and Otilija (11) and my husband and I all work on these as a creative team, taking turns to come up with ideas and to create the projects. My background in magazine publishing and photography have been a huge help here and my husband loves to invent and illustrate in his spare time – so we make an amazing team.

What has been the most energising part of the Whip up and Action Pack journey so far? And the most exhausting?!

The most energising part is the creative bit – thinking up ideas and making the projects together. I also love taking photos and even the layout and design is fun. The most exhausting is probably editing and testing and marketing – only because its not my forte and my brain really hurts during this necessary process.

Do you have a specific daily work structure or does it depend on the will of the wind?

The wind, the children, the mood, the air – yes indeed. I do try to have a work routine – a couple of hours of emails and writing on the blog, then time working behind the business – marketing and advertising and PR and all that sort of thing. Then I might get some time to work on my own ideas and projects … I tend to work creatively in spurts rather than any daily sort of routine.

The latest issue of Action Pack has recently been released – does the experience of making the mag get easier each time round or is it more like labour where no two births are the same!? 

Each one is different — although I am starting to get a routine going. The last one was a bumper issue and so while it was three times as big as the regular ones, we did give ourselves a bit more of a break in between. We are gearing up for the next one – preparing and researching and testing our ideas.

Do you have a particular toy/activity or childhood remnant you share with your children? 

My two teddies from my childhood have been passed on to my kids – they have one each – and they treasure them – which is lovely. We moved around a lot when I was a kid so my memories from my childhood are fragments and difficult to pass on – which may be why I am so keen to help my children create meaningful memories and really treasure their childhood.

Would you say you are now “what you want to be when you grow up”, and do you have other current dreams you can share with us?

Having recently turned 40 I have had a bit of a time of pondering this question. And I can say that I am satisfied with where I am at – I like my life and love my kids and enjoy what I do. But of course I still have dreams and am on the path towards them. We all feel quite strongly about living a more sustainable life closer to the earth and nature and so we are planning a move to the country – don’t know when or where but we are dreaming about it more and more. And we also really want to spend more time discovering this great country of ours – so we plan to take a year out of our lives and go camping around this great big land – take off on a big adventure. As for my work and career – that seems to have a life of its own …


                                     Bravery is... just getting on and doing stuff – following your dreams.
Imagination is… thinking outside the usual.
Generosity is… giving without expectation.

on Jul 8, 2011

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