At The Table With Cathrine Donohue


At The Table with Cathrine Donohue

INSTAGRAM: @smilingknots

VOCATION: Founder, Smiling Knots


My Smiling Knots journey started during the pandemic in Spring of 2020. I made a desperate attempt to get my boys off their screens and suggested knotting a bracelet together. And when they were finished, I kept going. It became my daily therapy and practice. I started making knotted wall hangings on sticks I found during our daily family walks in the woods or by the beach. From there, I started exploring different areas of products where knots could be used, bringing textural beauty and most of all a little happiness to others. Bringing a smile to someone else truly gives me deep joy.
Besides wall art I make table jewelry (aka napkin rings), knotted jewelry, home decor items, and there is more to come.
Coming from a fashion background I always felt at ease with fibers. I like the warmth ropes and cords can bring to a space. Knots are mesmerizing to me. There are thousands of knots, from utilitarian to decorative versions. They all have ancient history behind them from all over the world. It's truly fascinating.



Lately, I am inspired by giving new life to old materials. I love working with recycled sari silk ribbons. I enjoy hand dyeing them with different colors to give them a brand new "coat". I also use a recycled braided cotton rope from Poland that is super soft and comfortable to touch. Another element I use are beautiful glass beads made from recycled glass by women in Ghana. I love their artisanal look and stunning array of colors.

I love neutrals as well as color. I often work with natural rope just to emphasize the movement of knots without the distraction of color. However, I am a big blue fan. I am also obsessed with the Japanese book " A Dictionary of Color Combinations" by Sanzo Wada which laid the foundation for contemproary color research. I often look to the book for guidance on color combos before starting a new project.  


I usually like my table to be simple, but chic. I am always attracted to natural fiber placemats that let the wood of my dining table shine through. I love a nice linen napkin to add some color. My dinnerware is usually neutral. Some greenery or fresh flowers are always present to bring Mother Earth to the setting. The ONE thing I cannot live without are candles. There is something about the warmth, color, and movement of a flame that brings such a beautiful light and life to any table.



Spending time with people I care about. We all live such busy lives and taking the time to sit down, share a meal, listen to one another, laugh, and enjoy a moment around the table with good friends and wine is a gift to me. Nothing is more previous than creating memories with family and friends, both old and new.



A good glass of Prosecco is always in my house. I also like dry sake -- not only with sushi:)!


For entertaining, I love French classics from the 60's and 70's. Paris was my stomping ground for much of my 20's and I always remember the fun times we had entertaining in the tiniest of aparrtments.

For creating, I love an array of genres. It depends on my mood and the rhythm/movement of what I am working on. I love desert music. I also like Jazz, Classical, 90's hip-hop, Brazilian Bossa Nova, and other instrumental Chill Out music.  


My best frends Karina and Maurice Freedman--we have kown one another for 23 years. Having them for dinner is always joyful. There is no pressure to impress--everybody is at ease and we always share so much laughter. Another guest I would like to invite is Imran Amred, the founder of BOF. I absolutely love his podcast and from my perspecrtive, he is one of the most interesting and insightful people in the fashion instudstry. I am not sure what I would serve him...maybe a good Roeschti, a simple and traditional Swiss dish from my home country.