Kathie B.

This took me a long time to write.   And as Jane promised I found threads, and I found my rebel artist. I need her right now so I am thrilled that I will be able to call upon her. 

This is still a very rough draft.  My husband was a gifted writer and a wonderful and supportive editor.  I am sure that he would have done wonders with this if I could have handed it to him. But I can just keep chipping away at it to condense it and perhaps flesh out the third paragraph.  The house is for sale and has been for a long time.  The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina are calling me and when relocate there I know the mountains will influence my new work .   

Any feedback and/or suggestions would be most appreciated.

From the beginning art was something that fed my soul. I grew up in the fifties in Detroit when it was a wonderful place to be a kid. The parochial school I attended didn’t offer art classes but I was always drawing or making things from cardboard, cloth, yarn or whatever I could find. My high school offered a wonderful art program; since Art I was required I got to take it but my ever so practical parents insisted I take typing rather than continue with Art. I punished them by earning the only “D” I ever received. They relented and I was able to take Art III my senior year. Despite the “D” in typing I earned a full college scholarship. I wanted to major in art but did not have the portfolio or courage to follow the dream. I spent a lot of years working in left-brain jobs that didn’t offer the personal satisfaction I got from drawing, crafting and sewing. The first turning point came when I admired art dolls at a show and my husband encouraged me to create my own. Soon my cloth art dolls were featured in books and magazines. I published my patterns and began teaching which put me in contact with art quilters and a new way to use fabrics to make art. The second turning point came during a visioning exercise where I was supposed to envision my career path with the Federal Reserve System. Instead I clearly saw myself in a northwoods studio creating art with fabric. So I wrote a 5 year plan to make it happen and it did.

Texture, both tactile and visual, is what draws me to textiles as a medium. I learned to use a sewing machine at 11 and was always fascinated with the what happens when you sew two different pieces of fabric together. My art dolls were fantasy creatures created from a wide variety of exotic fabrics in vivid colors. But as my focus changed my palette evolved to subtle natural colors and my materials to primarily batiks and fabrics I dye or print myself, though I occasionally break into saturated color to tell my story. My process begins with sewing together small pieces of fabric in related tones to create a background with a quiet visual noise. While I work on this I contemplate how best to portray the imagery I will applique to the stitched background.

Nature and the environment are vitally important to me. Living in the woods I have gotten to know the trees and like Treebeard the Ent these are my friends as are the creatures who live in the forest, fields and lakes. My work continues to evolve from a somewhat realistic portrayal of the flora and fauna of the north woods to more abstracted exploration of of both natural elements and how we coexist for better or worse with our environment.