Kathryn Knudsen: Transforming Scrap Into Vibrant And Therapeutic Artworks
Kathryn enjoys exploring and experimenting with all sorts of materials and is especially interested in the use of art to examine and bring notice to human’s impact on the environment. Kathryn’s work utilizes a variety of traditional media, abstract forms, and found objects to produce an artistic vision with the intent to heal, refashion, and beautify. The result–an unpredictable labyrinth of old recycled clothing, unwanted paintings, neglected thread, discarded paper, necklace beads, and other recycled materials. Picking up objects that might otherwise languish in scrap heaps, second-hand clothing stores, or boxes of discarded memories, her aim is to reintegrate the power of transformed media with the therapeutic promise of beauty and artistic experience.
1. So Katherine, when did you first start creating Art?
My mother is an artist so I grew up surrounded by art and art making.
In these works the possibility of refashioning the world of discarded consumption becomes an artistic reality, something more than an aspiration, a wholly new experience in itself.
2. I just love the vibrant color palette present in your work! What draws you to using such bright hues? What influences your color choices?
I think a lot of the color choices come from the materials I am working with, although I do tend to choose brightly colored items. I suppose I enjoy the way colors can alter the way we perceive things or even emotions.
3. Katherine, how has your upbringing affected or influenced your practice?
My mother is an artist and when I was young she was constantly saving little bits of paper or packaging and asking “What could we make out of this?”. I look back now and realize that sort of upbringing shaped the core of my art practice. She also always encouraged me to take classes and pursue any interests I had.
4. Your artworks are amazing, they do not seem to be made of scraps. Katherine, what is your process like choosing your materials? Are some of these made of donations too?
All the materials I use are recycled or donated. I mostly just use things from my everyday environment, whether it’s old clothing or toys or things family and friends bring over. I’m constantly amazed at how easy it is to acquire a new thread. Everyone seemed to have a bag of old yarn, thread, or embroidery floss. I also love the idea of combining all the materials that come from different homes with different histories.
5. Katherine your Artwork, what do they represent? Like your Art, ‘Hero’ reminds of a country girl plucking flowers on a sunny day. How would you describe it?
I named that piece Hero because to me the shapes and colors seemed powerful and warrior-like. Although I love the idea of a girl plucking flowers. I use women’s names for most of my titles because all the materials at one time came from the earth. The earth is often referred to as feminine and in many cultures natural resources are believed to inhabit a spirit or soul. Each time I make a piece I feel as if I am collaborating with the materials and I often find myself personifying them. I’m fascinated by the fact that no matter how artificial or synthetic something seems, its original resource comes from nature. I sometimes feel quite a sense of guilt for the amount of superfluous stuff that we as a society are manufacturing. We’re using up a lot of resources and the only things we’re giving back are piles of garbage. I like to imagine that by reusing these cheaply made items, I’m in a way expanding the use or maybe even honoring the raw materials.
I’m working on a couple of different shows for next year. I’m really excited because I’ll be collaborating with 3 different women artists that I really admire. It’s quite a challenge to work on the same piece as someone else. It really pushes new ideas and ways of working, which I find really inspiring.
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