Monday, June 27, 2011

Q and A Monday- How? and What?

Judy Hayes, a fellow Minnesotan, asked the other day, “How did you get started making pattern paper dresses? And, “What inspired you?”

First, what inspired me?

Long story short, I started out life as a potter, and pottery deals with containment. Not that I was a production potter, but I do know how to throw on the potters wheel and have made my own dishes, cups, teapots, etc., so the whole concept of “containment” in deeply entrenched in my brain. Plus, all of us are essentially “containers” moving through the world. Our bodies literally contain our thoughts, ideas, and memories, in addition to the stuff of our physical beings. So, I‘d have to say that concept is the jumping off point for the dresses and almost all other work that I do.

On using actual dress patterns as material, well, that takes a bit longer to explain.

I collect things and vintage dress patterns have long been on my list of favorites. It probably started with the patterns that my Mom used while I was growing up. Both of my sisters and my Mom were great seamstresses. Me on the other hand, not so much. I loved looking for fabric and patterns and wearing clothes that reflected my design sensibilities, I just wasn’t good at sewing. In high school I actually had some of my clothes made by a local seamstress. So the sewing machine as my go to tool didn’t happen by choice.

Fast forward approximately 20 years to when I was invited to do a themed show about “transparency.” My original idea didn’t work out as I had hoped and with a looming deadline, Plan B was hatched. I thought to use some of my vintage patterns but quickly realized that I needed two matching patterns for my vision to work. Nix the vintage patterns and buy new ones. The next hurdle was how to stabilize the patterns to withstand the actual sewing process and survive getting delivered to the gallery. Which I eventually figured out through much trial and error.

I have been making them for 6 or 7 years now and I have fine tuned the process even more. In the past few years I have moved beyond dresses into other forms including a swing set and a boat, with still others yet in the works. I’ll share pictures of the newer work in the near future. In the meantime, here are pictures of the swing set and boat.

Games People Play by Kim Radatz,
installed at
Gala Corina’s iluminación, 2007

Wishful Thinking by Kim Radatz
installed at
C. Emerson Fine Art in St. Petersburg, 2010

Thanks so much for asking, Judy.

And may all of you have a creative day!


Jenny said...

I got my CPS issue today and just read your article. Congratulations on a beautiful piece. I was a finalist in the stitch category and was thrilled to be included with such amazing competition.
I have just begun to take my art more seriously after ignoring it for too long. Reading about other artists and seeing their work is so encouraging. Your work and your blog are an inspiration for me!

Kim Radatz said...

Ah, Jenny, thanks so much! I too felt honored to be included with the entire group of artists, quite a talented bunch we are.
I am happy to hear that you are inspired by my blog posts. Good luck to you with your art. It is a difficult challenge at times, so forge ahead and soar to new heights.

mconte said...

so glad to have you back and can't wait to see the new work. margaret

Kim Radatz said...

Thanks much, Margaret! Glad to be back myself.

Judy Hayes said...

I never expected to see my name in your post! Thanks for all the answers!
I find it all so fascinating! Did you ever think your sewing skills would be so successful?!!! It amazes me that you thought of doing that!
I'm inspired.