Katherine Mayhew’s quilted artworks have been included in several shows for the Dallas Area Fiber Artists and in the SAQA “This is a Quilt!” traveling trunk show. Mayhew first began working with dye during a one-week course with Jane Dunnewold at Quilting by the Lake (NY) in 2009. In 2013, Mayhew began the Surface Design Mastery Program in San Antonio, Texas. Her work is included in a number of private collections. Mayhew is also employed in operations and production management for a global entertainment technology company.
Although my mother instilled in me a deep love for all acts of creativity, there is something about the tactile experience of fabric and thread that sets it apart for me. I may use paint, but I am not a painter. I utilize dyes, inks, paints, marks, paper, metal, stitch— but I always land back in the world of fiber layers held together with intent.
My art, with my primary medium of fabric, does indeed have a wide and varied history steeped in utility and frugality. My medium also has a history in storytelling, regal garb, physical need, servitude, and family. My art has a history unlike most others. My medium has a history steeped in community.
Regardless of what I add or subtract to a particular piece, I identify with the primary medium of cloth. I’m quite satisfied, thrilled even, to have such an incredible relationship with something wholly… ordinary.
What inspires me? I suppose the “concrete” answer is emotion, texture, and color – in that order. These are the things that assault me all day, everywhere, demanding attention and further inspection and reflection and investigation and exploration.
But really, it’s all about ant hills and rabbit holes. I love a good, twisty-turny-topsy-turvy tangent. I love that a simple play on words can open a whole new can of butterflies.
I love following an invisible trail of breadcrumbs – because, my goodness, the mental nutritional value of the fodder along the way can be incredible. It’s not about serendipity at all. It’s about an intentional “blind drawing” or sorts. It’s about typing without looking at the keyboard. It’s movement. Movement though information and ideas and structures and formulae.
Also, a good experiment – of any sort – will always lead to an “aha” of some value greater than nil.
The above piece (Untitled #17) is part of a series in which I examine several aspects of the notion of “Hiding in Plain Sight.” Primarily, I am working with a collection of glyph “alphabets” that have been developing in my sketchbooks for years. I wanted the viewer to see something bold from a distance — but have an entirely different experience when viewed up close. The detail is exposed only in moments of intimacy with the piece – when I let you in on the many layers of stories. We are each only truly understood by those who learn to ‘read’ us in our own language.
Secondly, this piece represents an examination of a pleasing, complex color dissonance using two base colors and the resulting blend. The product of the two becomes its own element. The joy, for me, is in the combination coming from a recipe of two parts – rather than intentionally creating -and placing- the third color. I enjoy the struggle, within the composition, of the bright red-violet and the dynamic tomato red that results when a particular golden yellow is added.