Chances are if you read Quilting Arts magazine, or follow the rising stars of the modern art quilt world today, you will have come across the bold and stunning work of Kathy York. I remember coming across Kathy’s Little Fish in a Big City quilt (below) awhile back and just having my breath taken away. I had never seen anything like it, combining the 3D element, intricate quilting, and gorgeous hand-dyed fabrics all into one simple indescribably amazing work of art. I fell in love with it! When I heard that Kathy was going to design fabric for us, I was thrilled. Her fabric is truly unique and unlike anything you will be able to find anywhere else.
Now that I am making a habit of getting to know all of our new artists better, I am pleased to share with you some Q & A that I did with Kathy, with some interesting answers!
Brandi: What inspires your artwork?
Kathy: Many things inspire me. Often it could be as simple as a found object that has an interesting shape. At other times I may get a mental picture of some life event that begs to be created, often in a humorous or whimsical portrait. Sometimes, learning a new technique will lead to new ideas. Fiber arts take a lot of time to create, so there is plenty of opportunity to think and gain insights which express themselves in the layers of the work.
Brandi: What is your creative process?
Kathy: I usually decide on an image that I want to create before I start. Sometimes, I have no idea what techniques to use to produce the image in my head, so I will experiment with small samples. I rarely have all the answers before I start. But I like that aspect because it keeps the art alive. I am faced with new decisions throughout the entire process of it’s creation. At other times, I might start playing with patterns or colors. I frequently use a digital camera to take pictures along the way, especially when I am making design decisions. I will rearrange the pieces of a composition numerous times and then compare the photos to decide which one I really want to make. Technology has enabled a faster growth curve for my art.
Brandi: How did the artist in you evolve?
Kathy: I decided to stop working when I had my first child. Somehow in the act of caring for this beautiful and engaging infant, my heart expanded. Life looked differently to me and my pace slowed down. I developed a need to express myself, first through scrapbooking, and then quilting. Eventually the quilting led to more self expression in art quilting. I found an art quilting bee that nurtured me and I took a few classes. I started becoming more prolific after the children started school and I wanted to share the inspiration by showing my work to others.
Brandi: Describe your creative space or studio?
Kathy: I have been slowly taking over my entire house! I have one living area that I use for my sewing studio. It has two sewing machines set up all the time, along with ironing boards. I also have a cutting table, a number of large portable design walls, many storage shelves, a couch and a computer area. Last summer I took over half the garage for my batik studio. I have also confiscated the children’s zip line in the back yard for dyeing and rinsing fabric yardage.
Brandi: What is your favorite color, food, place, song, artist, season, and animal?
Kathy: My favorite color is aqua, but it has to be a bright aqua, surrounded by other lovely bright colors. I am not sure if I have a favorite food, so many come to mind, enchiladas, coffee, chocolate, ice cream, avocados and grapefruits, cheese with any fruit, the list goes on. My favorite places include quiet natural spaces like cliffs, hiking in Yosemite, or underwater at a coral reef. I love too many artists to single any one out, I typically favor contemporary styles in fine art, kinetic sculptures, fiber, installations, glass, and architecture. But, my first inspiration was Van Gogh. Favorite season is easy, I love the spring. I also do not have a favorite song, but have fallen in love with my ipod. So many wonderful artists to sample! My favorite genres include rock, pop, and alternative. I also love movies. I watch a lot of movies while quilting. My favorite movie is one that involves character development and makes me laugh and cry. It needs to tell a good story. I love foreign films too, but find it hard to read the subtitles while sewing, that has to be saved for special occasions when I am not working. You asked about favorite animal? For now, it is the Four Flying Cat Boys, a litter of kittens we rescued that are almost 2 years old now.
Kathy has been featured on the cover of Quilting Arts Magazine 3 times, as well as on the Quilting Arts TV program. Be sure to check out this blog entry that Pokey of Quilting Arts did with Kathy earlier this month here. You can also keep up with Kathy’s latest happenings on her blog here.
Kathy’s first collection with us comes out in June 2010, and is called Urban Landscapes. Isn’t it gorgeous?
I hope you are as inspired as I am by Kathy’s beautiful art quilts and fabrics. So take that inspiration and go create something. Bye for now, and Happy Quilting!!