I focus on fiber arts, sustainability, and slow fashion.
I’m an artist, writer, and crafter working across disciplines to explore environmental and social issues through traditional craft techniques. Mostly, I rethink the relationship between fiber art, sustainability, and slow fashion. Since August 2013 I’ve been on a fashion fast, Make Thrift Mend, to focus on mending, plant dyes, and prioritizing handmade or secondhand garments instead of buying new clothing. I also grow, forage, and harvest dye plants near my farmhouse in the Hudson Valley.
My work has appeared in galleries, magazines, theaters, books, juried craft fairs, and alternative arts venues like the tiny house my husband built out of reclaimed materials that I used as my art studio on the sidewalk of downtown San Francisco. I published my first book, The Paper Playhouse: Awesome Art Projects for Kids Using Paper, Boxes, and Books in January 2015. I’ve received artist awards, grants, and residencies from the Vermont Studio Center, Zellerbach Family Foundation, Puffin Foundation, Creative Capacity Fund, and InstarLodge among others. My now-retired blog, Made by Katrina, won the Country Living Blue Ribbon Blogger Award.
I hold a BA in Environmental Studies and an MFA in Creative Writing but I’ve been working with arts organizations and making fiber arts my entire adult life. In 2013, shortly after the Rana Plaza garment factory collapsed in Dhaka Bangladesh, I finally combined my work and passions into one project, Make Thrift Mend, and I haven’t looked back. This project allows me to use my various training in sustainability, creative thinking, fibers, and community organizing with a single focus on sustainable fashion. Of course, this also includes larger themes like feminism, gender, class, consumerism, globalization, labor practices, cross-disciplinary communication, social practice, social justice, and the inherent challenges of sustainable living. In my opinion, this is all about healing.
I’m originally from Horseheads, NY, then I spent two decades between Brooklyn, NY; San Francisco, CA; and Oakland, CA before returning to Upstate NY in 2015. I now live in the Hudson Valley, two hours north of Manhattan, with my artist husband and our two young sons. We’re slowly renovating our 200-year-old farmhouse and converting the adjacent carriage barn into our art studios. We’re planting fruit trees, establishing gardens, tending dye plants, and preparing to welcome chickens and bees. Mostly, I try to shorten the distance between my studio practice and the plants in my yard whenever possible.