January 10 - February 14, 2020
Reception: Friday, January 17, 5-7 PM
My love for history, kitsch and pop culture is always a huge inspiration for my art, and I feel like embroidery is a wonderful medium for my subject matter. Hand embroidery is a slow, meticulous technique that has existed for generations, and I love to use that skill to portray unexpected images.
My work travels through many time periods and various subject matter, from medical history in pre-industrial times to pop culture references from my childhood. I also love ephemeral images, like newspaper ads or instruction manuals, which were meant to be glanced at and thrown away, and capturing them in a very deliberate and permanent way.
Embroidery is a time consuming and old fashioned, but I think that adds interest and humor. Most people associate it with grandmothers stitching baby quilts or kitchen towels, and I want to break that association while also calling attention to it. I think art can be thoughtful and amusing at the same time. It can be old fashioned and yet new and unfamiliar. I love paying homage to an old craft, while turning it into something that makes the viewer laugh or feel a little uncomfortable.
Kathryn Leslie is a fiber artist based in Bloomington, IL. She started making art as a teenager, mostly painting and sketching, then taught herself hand embroidery and cross stitch in the mid 2000s as an alternative creative outlet. It was a more portable medium than painting, which was difficult with two small children, and learning the technique renewed her interest in making art.
Kathryn has always loved history and pop culture, and this is obvious in her art. With just a piece of fabric, a hoop, a needle and thread, it’s possible to take a very old skill, and turn it into something new and exciting. Kathryn enjoys the juxtaposition and humor of taking traditional, typically delicate and historically feminine skills and making something grotesque or kitschy. The blend of the past and contemporary design is apparent in all of her work. Most finished pieces are left in the embroidery hoop to further accentuate this blend of traditional and modern.
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