Interview: Katra Awad

Katra is the artist and jewelry designer behind To the Nile, a collection of jewelry and print pieces inspired by her...

Posted on October 13, 2020

Katra is the artist and jewelry designer behind To the Nile, a collection of jewelry and print pieces inspired by her family's Egyptian and Hispanic heritage. We spoke with Katra about her work, go-to outfits and a few things she does to unwind. 

Tell us about starting To the Nile, your intention with the brand. What has been the most rewarding aspect?

To the Nile has evolved through my love for making small batch jewelry and print pieces while paying homage to my heritage. The collection is handcrafted and made from my tiny studio, each piece tells a story. My hope for the brand is to be able to continue making beautiful quality pieces that can be enjoyed and accessible to all while still incorporating repurposed materials that have a lesser environmental impact on the planet. 


The most rewarding part has been given the opportunity to volunteer and work with women overseas through causes I believe in. Just the whole creative process of making any kind of art is such a healing and I realize that it's also a privilege that I will never ever take for granted.

Can you talk a little more on how you draw inspiration from your heritage? 

I have a collection of digital art prints I’ve made called ‘The Heritage’ series, they are colorful and are rooted in cross-cultural memories growing up. My father is  first generation from Egypt and my mother is Mexican. I’m proud of my heritage and have always been inspired by the stories of our ancestors and what they built and the ways they tended to the earth and communities.


Favorite neighborhood spots?

Claro Coffee Cafe issuch a warm space surrounded by good woodwork and design. If you go south of San Diego, I recommend Brew Bar Cafe, they are a super kind, small biz and have really yummy empanadas. The botanical building and lily pond are a must see at Balboa Park too.


What are your go-to outfits?

As of lately, my go to has been a jumpsuit or the Primavera Dress from Lacausa along with a pair of comfy sneakers. 


What books are currently on your nightstand?

-Lo-Tek by Julia Watson

-Love by Leo Buscaglia

-The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

-As Long as Grass Grows by Dina Gilio-Whitaker


What are a few ways you practice self-care?

My day usually begins with a hug from my dog and a cup of tea in the morning. I try and remind myself to slow down and take a couple of deep full belly breaths throughout the week. Nature helps me stay grounded, I love gardening, swimming in the ocean and making new plant recipes. I keep a sea of sticky notes from loved ones and inspiring messages on my wall above my art desk; one of them reads ‘Honor Yourself’ it's a reminder to practice self care.  Journaling, singing and going to therapy have also been very loving practices in life and I am grateful for them.


Photos by Stefanie Vinsel. More Katra here and here.