Talk Crafty to Me – Kat Cole

Talk Crafty to Me — An inside look into Arrowmont instructors’ connection to craft, Gatlinburg, and studio practice. 

Artist-in-Residence Maia Leppo interviews Kat Cole – full time studio artist in Dallas, TX and co-founder of Jewelry Edition. Kat taught “From Industry to Art: Liquid Form Enameling” July 31-August 6, at Arrowmont.

7-31_10-copyWhat is something you learned about yourself or your practice at Arrowmont?
I am always reminded of how much I enjoy having more than just a couple days with students. Five focused days of studio time gives me a chance to see the work develop and students begin to pursue their own ideas in the material or technique.

What is your connection to craft?
My studio practice is craft-based. Whether I am making functional or nonfunctional work, an understanding of materials and techniques informs my decisions.

What is a non-art inspiration in your current practice?
I am continually inspired by architecture and cartography in my work. I love hand drawn maps.

What was your first ah-ha piece of work that you made?
Thirty Days of Clouds was my first piece I made about a place I was living. It really opened the door for the work I make today.

Tell us about your studio space. What is your favorite part of it?
I work out of my house. My studio is now what used to be a single car garage built into the first floor of the house. My favorite part is the wall of windows where the garage door used to be. The windows give natural light and a view of the street.

What are you reading currently?7-31_14
Not much at the moment. It’s a very busy fall for me so most of my time is spent in the studio.

What themes are in your current work?
I’m working on a show called Built/Unbuilt right now that will open in Minneapolis in October. I’m dealing with the urban landscape in transition and the idea of a lifecycle of a building or structure.

Current obsessions?
Watermelon. I eat a lot of it in the summer. It’s so hot in TX and there is nothing better than some cold watermelon.

Best piece of advice you have gotten?
I have gotten so much good advice at the right times in my career. When I was just starting out I was told to stay involved in the art community if I wanted to eventually have a career in the field. When I was considering graduate school, I was told to look for faculty that would help me make professional connections. Now that I am a full-time maker, my advice is to remember to make time for yourself and personal life – to have a balance.

How do you want someone to feel while wearing your work/ looking at your work/ using your work?
Powerful, striking, bold.

Tell us a guilty pleasure or secret hobby of yours.7-31_9
I will watch anything sci-fi.

What are you currently listening to in your studio and why?
Rhye on pandora, upbeat but still smooth.

Any shows or exhibitions coming up?
BUILT/UNBUILT opening October 1, 2016 at Gallery 360 in Minneapolis, MN.

For more information about Kat and her work, visit or follow her on Instagram: katcolemetalsmith



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