Kate Smith (b. 1982) is an artist based in Chicago, Illinois. She currently works and teaches in the Fiber and Material Studies department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Kate earned her BFA (2006) in sculpture from Northern Arizona University and completed her MFA (2020) from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the Fiber and Material Studies Department. Her work currently focuses on an exploration of contemporary craft, utilizing both traditional and non-traditional basket weaving techniques, intersecting with sculpture and text.
A Note from the Artist
I explore the intersection of contemporary craft and sculpture, seeking to unravel the rich connections of human experiences. Through my work, I strive to bridge the past and the present, honoring the traditions of the past while creating layered pieces that resonate with contemporary audiences. By merging these elements, I aim to create artworks that weave together personal narratives, cultural legacies, and the power of language.
Drawing inspiration from the art of basket weaving, I employ both traditional and non-traditional techniques and materials as a foundation for my creations. Weaving becomes a metaphor for the interconnectedness of individuals within the larger social fabric. Each thread, wire, reed, or piece of wood carefully intertwined and interdependent, represents a unique narrative or memory.
Integrating sculpture into my practice allows me to push the boundaries of traditional craft, transforming utilitarian objects into expressive artworks. I explore the tactile qualities of natural materials, juxtaposing them with modern elements to evoke a sense of duality and tension. This interplay reflects the complexities of navigating personal histories in a rapidly evolving world.
Text plays a significant role in my practice, serving as both a visual and conceptual element. Embedded within the woven structures or integrated as standalone pieces, text invites viewers to engage actively with the artwork. Through poetic fragments, quotes, or personal reflections, I encourage viewers to contemplate the interconnectedness of our stories, the power of language, and the layers of meaning that can emerge from a single word or phrase.
Through my artistic practice, I aim to honor the craftsmanship of those who came before us, amplify voices that have been silenced, and ignite conversations that challenge existing narratives. With the blending of sculptural basket weaving, text, and histories, I invite audiences to unravel their own stories.