Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures. ~ Henry Ward Beecher
Telling stories through quilts has become Kate Gorman’s passion. She enjoys sharing that love with school children whenever she gets a chance. At the present time, concentrating on line, instead of color, has become her main focus as she uses drawings and hand stitching in her creations.
At a recent display at the Columbus Cultural Arts Center, Kate displayed her work along with two of her close friends and co-workers, in a show titled “In Close Proximity”. Every piece told a meaningful story.
Family history and birds appear time and time again in her art work. One series depicts the verses from “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”, where each stanza has been developed into a picture. Kate explained that in her mind birds represent migration and travel, something she wishes she could do more often. As she remarked, “I’m always thinking about being somewhere else from where I am.”
Her oldest quilted work showed her son, who she hoped would have a safe journey through life. Using the mythological legend of Icarus as her basis, she feared that perhaps her son would fly too close to the sun. Even here she used one of her birds, a rare albino blackbird. Many artists stay with one form throughout most of their life, but Kate enjoys experimenting from one thing to another and goes back and forth in her mediums as she expands her knowledge of different techniques.
Kate taught herself how to make quilts, but has since taken some workshops to improve her skills and share her ideas. She originally decided to make quilts in her spare time, but that wasn’t enough. She liked to tell stories through pictures so discovered that fabric provided a great medium because of its color, pattern, and texture.
Once the quilt is finished, she can easily tell a story using the quilt as her script. Recently she even developed a “Family History” quilt with pictures of family members and bits of information about their occupations. The first in that series, entitled “Bernadette in Artichokes”, served as her Quilt National Entry in 2013. When she asked Aunt Bern if she was sad because she never married, Bernadette answered that she always enjoyed her own company. What a great lesson for all of us.
Her 2015 entry, “A Keeper of Secrets and Parakeets” was also a hit. The Dairy Barn Arts Center in Athens, Ohio displayed it this past summer. A recent Individual Artist Grant from the Ohio Arts Council will take her to Scotland for an artist residency there in October, 2015.
But Kate didn’t always make quilts, even though she has always been artistic. In the past, she worked mostly as an illustrator for text and trade books for early readers. After graduating with a BA in English from Waynesburg College, PA, she did graduate work at Ohio University before finishing her education as an illustration major at Columbus College of Art and Design . Now she uses needle and thread for her artwork, in addition to watercolors and ink.
When she is not at home in her studio in Westerville, she works at Goodwill Art Studio and Gallery in Columbus, Ohio creating art with adults, who have disabilities. Everyone has a story to tell and Kate draws that story from them as they create their own artwork.
While many have “advanced” to use of technology in their quilts, Kate seems to be going backwards in time as she enjoys working from sketches, and stitching by hand. Her outstanding work tells a story of her life and the things that have touched her along the way. May new adventures continue to inspire her as she journeys onward.
Visit Kate Gorman’s website for more information at http://www.kategorman.net. You will find many of her paintings for view on this site.