Featured Artist | Katrina Walker
|Katrina Walker is an educator and designer specializing in textiles, construction and surface design techniques. She traditionally works with natural fibers, particularly silk and wool. Katrina is also known in the quilting world for her simple but bold single-layer creations using Pojagi inspired seaming techniques combined with traditional quilting block designs.|
Where were you born?
How did you grow up (i.e. in a city, on a farm, raised by wolves)?
I grew up on a dryland wheat farm near Wilson Creek, Washington. It definitely taught me to be very independent, since it’s a fairly lonely way to grow up. I was a typical farm kid raising livestock and riding horses in 4-H, until I escaped to Wellesley for college. Sewing was one of those things that you did when you were snowed in during the winter.
When did you first know you wanted to be an artist/designer?
Impossible to say! I started making my own clothes in my early teens but never really thought of myself as a “designer” or “artist”. Once I began to actually be paid for my work – that’s when I began to think of myself as a designer/artist. I really identify more as an educator…I think my greatest strengths are sharing creative skills with others and helping them develop the confidence to be empowered to pursue their own creative ideas.
How did you get started in the Sewing Industry?
Oh, heavens. It’s a bit of a long story with many twists and turns. The condensed version: I was working in the fashion industry when I won a national sewing contest. Shortly afterward I happened to be hired as an emergency model at the Sewing and Stitchery Expo where I worked with many of the largest names in the sewing industry for two years of shows. I left the fashion industry and worked for a large sewing machine dealer as an educator and started publishing articles and projects for magazines. Started teaching at shows and conferences, and years later here I am.
Do you have any professional training or are you self taught?
I’m mostly self-taught. I watched my mom when I was a child, then started sewing myself, especially in high school. Studied everything I could get my hands on after college when I started getting serious about my sewing. I have completed part of a masters degree in clothing, textiles, and design, and have taken formal classes in patternmaking, fashion illustration, bodice fit, and pant fitting. I still study all sorts of topics constantly, and of course practice, practice, practice. I will always be learning!
What inspires you?
My bachelor’s degree is in history, and I’m still very much inspired by historical/vintage art, fashion, and architecture. Truly, inspiration is everywhere but those are some of my favorite sources. I own a lot of books on vintage fashion and tons of clip art!
We know sewing and textile art aren't your only hobbies. What other things do you like doing to express yourself creatively?
I enjoy making jewelry with silver, copper, and semi-precious stones. It’s another way to use my hands to create something beautiful. I’m learning how to cut and shape stones myself, as well as various wire weaving techniques which I find fascinating.
Of course I also have other textile related creative enterprises. I like to spin and knit – and I have my own flock of natural colored sheep! I have their fleeces spun by a local fiber mill into yarn for my Spoiled Sheep brand. So I’m a micro-scale yarn producer as well. Never a dull moment!
How do you come up with your designs and collections?
It’s difficult to say precisely “how” I come up with designs. I’m a strongly visual learner and thinker, and I observe and study art and design of all kinds regularly. Once I start thinking about an upcoming project or challenge, images start floating through my brain. My guess is that they’ve been sitting in my subconscious waiting for the right opportunity.
My first focus has been sewing education, so often my goal is to design projects that can be successfully created by others while they learn a specific technique. As a result, many of my designs use beautiful fabric in simple ways. It’s an interesting challenge to design with others in mind. I’m also often commissioned to create garments, accessories, or home décor items with a very specific inspiration provided by my client. So I already have a starting point, and the creativity lies in interpreting the initial inspiration in a way that honors the original, yet is fresh and new. Recently I have been doing more and more embroidery digitizing for fashion embroidery. I cannot always find designs that match my vision for the garment I am creating, so I create my own. It’s a direction I’m really enjoying and look forward to pursuing in greater detail.
What is your mission statement?
If I had one, it would likely be: To make the world a better place through the encouragement and empowerment of creative expression in others.
What is your vision for the future?
Professionally and creatively, I hope to continue to spread the joy of making things. Exactly what that will mean is yet to be seen!