I am creative, colourful, reliable, self-disciplined, witty and sometimes quite brave.
Kate grew up sewing, making her own clothes, practicing hand embroidery and making unique cuddly toys, pillows and tea cosies! She trained as a landscape architect and it was a natural progression from technical draughtswoman to graphic artist and, finally, to fabric artist … the medium may have changed, but her eye for balance, colour, composition and design was transferrable. That, plus living in Northern Ontario for 8 years raising two young children … long winters, buggy summers … creativity was my survival and I had both the time and motivation to teach myself.
I am a fabric artist using fabric where a painter would use paint and stitches where a ‘traditional’ artist might use pen or pencil to render detail. I use sheer fabrics layered upon one another to ‘mix’ my colours. What I am not is a quilter, a tapestry maker, a weaver or a textile artist (since I don’t make and/or dye my own textiles).
My main influencer was a woman who taught a freemotion embroidery workshop in Thunder Bay, Ontario, in 1989 … in three-and-a-half minutes she changed everything about my work from my technique to my life goals. But here’s the tragic part: I can’t recall her name.
I am always inspired by people, artists in particular, who work hard, practice lots and eschew shortcuts. Probably my favourite artist is Norwegian painter, Frits Thaulow; he paints with light (and shadow) to deliver engaging, non-jarring landscapes.
I’m surprised that, after over three decades, I’m still doing and enjoying it! And, even though I’ve been at it a long time, I’m still surprised (and delighted) when a piece meets and/or exceeds my expectations. Conversely, of course, I am equally surprised by my despondency and sense of doom when it doesn’t … get over yourself, Kate!