i. I work as a zero waste textile and clothing designer.
ii. I do this creative work because I was born to do it.
iii. Personal qualities that help me in my work are patience, curiosity, adaptability and creativity.
iv. The greatest challenges around doing this work have been having to create a business model that honours the processes and techniques I undertake in order to transform the waste textiles I acquire into new materials, clothing, accessories and 3D forms.
v. Creative childhood hobbies:
I would have to say my first creative endeavor as a child started with music at the age of 3.5. I studied piano but I didn’t like performing in front of large crowds — which I had to do regularly. I realized I didn’t like being the centre of attention and was an introvert sort of creative soul. Music today is a major contributor to my creative process so it is still very much part of my life today and everyday.
Aside from music, I was a creative entrepreneur. At the age of four, I used to take veggies from my parents garden (sorry Mum and Dad) and would sell them to the kids in the neighborhood. I quickly upgraded when I learned to bake with my Mum and I would host bake sales often with a couple of my friends on a regular basis. I enjoy baking and the process — which is very similar to how textiles are hand dyed.
At around 8, though, I became obsessed with textiles and fashion and began to explore it as a vehicle of expression. This was hard at times not only financially (being that I am the youngest of 5 kids) but I grew up in a small town in southern Ontario and often stood out like a sore thumb. I am still a fashion chameleon to this day!
vi. Other creators who inspire you:
This is a hard one to answer and will keep this short. I am inspired by creators both past and present. Sonia Delaunay, Elsa Schiaparelli, Jean-Michel Basquiat, El Anatsui, Jeff Buckley, Leonard Cohen, Nina Simone, Judith Scott, Magdalena Abakanowicz, John Fluevog, Judson Beaumont, Rei Kawakubo, Julian Roberts, Sheila Hicks, Jennifer Angus and many, many more.
yii. Training that has helped me succeed in this career is a combination of a degree in Fashion (BAA), degree in Textiles/Printmaking (BFA), followed by a Masters in Applied Art (Visual Art/Textile).
viii. The biggest myth about this type of work is that people think my clothing is only for skinny, young people. My clientele range from 25-75 years of age.
ix. If you want to work in my field, I suggest that you possess a passion for textiles, be curious and let failure be part of the creative process.
x. A professional goal I have for the future is to create signature textiles and materials for others to create with.
xi. If you want to see my work, go to First Pick at Heritage Hall September 16+17. I am part of an exhibit, Regeneratus, opening July 30th at the Seymour Art Gallery. I will have an installation of what 150 lbs of hand dyed textile waste looks like. This display gives the public a chance to see part of my textile process in connection to others who works with the textile waste I produce.
* All photos courtesy of Katherine Soucie
* Header photo by Shimon Karmel