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Kat Howard

Two years ago, I bought an old house in Kingston that needed a little bit of love. Kat Howard lives across the street in a beautiful stone house that was built in 1680, and I discovered that she is a very talented fiber artist. Her studio is located in midtown Kingston where many of the old industrial spaces have been converted into artist studios. While studying book art and creative writing, she found herself drawn to the possibilities of weaving and its tactile nature and how it could represent a physical manifestation of her poetry. I am looking forward to exploring more local artists from this area.

What is something that I would be surprised to find in your space?
A basket of hundreds of silk worm cocoons.

Describe your ideal workspace in three words…
Intuitive, stimulating, inspiring.

Does the space you work in have an interesting story?
It’s owned by a woman artist who renovated this abandoned warehouse in midtown Kingston to house artist studios.

Do you work and live in the same space, if so how does that affect your work?
No, the separation of work/live is key for me to focus with two small children at home.

What are you most proud of in the space?
All of the work I’ve created in my studio (and the 24 feet of shelving I installed myself to display my yarn).

How would you describe your neighborhood?
Post-industrial, part of an urban renaissance.
What can you see outside your windows?
A brightly colored mural called “Survivor Love Letter” on a women’s shelter.

Describe a real life mundane situation that inspires you!
I’m obsessed with materials, and often find tactile inspiration in the strangest places, recently it was the old handmade fishing nets in the local Maritime Museum.

What themes do you pursue in your work?
I make fiber art that addresses the history of the persecution of women, through which, I interrogate my own identity as a survivor of violence and assault. I use abstraction, the innate language of texture, and the repulsion/attraction of touch in my 'fiber poems' to capture the fight to break free from trauma.

Favourite song/band while working?
The cellist Zoe Keating.

What's the best advice you've been given and from whom?
The best advice I’ve been given was from a professor in grad school who taught me the value of critique, and challenged me to be the first to ask the difficult questions about my work.

What is your most important artist's tool?
A six inch metal needle.

What mindset/mood do you make your best art/work?
Under pressure, and in an emotionally vulnerable place.

Photographed by Paul Barbera Text Queenie Chan

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