“Art is my greatest passion,” says textile artist from Fermanagh

Textile artist Kathryn Coulter is inspired by nature and the flowers of her hometown of Fermanagh.

Working with fresh flowers, Kathryn incorporates them into her textile pieces using embroidery, preserving their beauty.

Here, she talks to The Impartial Reporter about her artistic journey, her most ambitious work to date, and what her art means to her.

What is your artistic background? Are you self-taught or have you studied art or taken courses?

MY ARTIST journey started with GCSEs, who completed A-Level Art, then a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design at South West College.

It was there that I realized that I wanted to study textile art. I then did an Honors BA in Textile Art, Design and Fashion at Ulster University Belfast, where I graduated with a 2.1 in 2017.

What inspires your art?

THROUGHOUT my last year at university, my work has been based on the places of Fermanagh, nature and flowers.

It was at university that I started working with fresh flowers and keeping them in my embroidery and textile work.

This was the start of working with fresh flowers and learning techniques. Since graduating from college, preserving flowers has been my biggest inspiration, and I mainly work with bridal bouquets.

Who or what are your biggest influences?

MY WORK is mainly influenced around Fermanagh, and the different seasons, nature and flowers.

I mainly work with sheer fabrics then I build up layers of surfaces with flowers, petals and pressed leaves, then I finish each piece with hand embroidery.

I like to add bright colors of yarn to my work, which enhances the colors of the flowers.

Is there a specific place where you do your work? Do you have a workshop?

RIGHT NOW I’m just creating at home in the guest bedroom as my artwork is independent and mostly a hobby so I don’t particularly need a studio.

What has been your most ambitious play to date?

MY MOST ambitious play, to date, would definitely be my last play in college. This is by far the largest piece I have ever created, with the most hand embroidery.

It was about six feet long and four feet wide. It was presented in three separate pieces, creating a wall hanging.

It was created on a sheer fabric so that the flowers, embroidery and textures almost float and shadows appear behind the room.

This piece was called “Place of Escape”, and my inspiration came from Castle Archdale.

What different art media do you use and which is your favorite?

I have used a lot of media over the years but once I fell in love with textile art it was from then on.

I mainly work with fabric, machine embroidery and my favorite which is hand embroidery and embellishment.

However, I push myself to learn more about textiles and to learn new techniques. So I recently worked with new media that I had never used before, one of which includes resin.

What are you currently working on?

RIGHT NOW my art work comes and goes as it is freelance work and mostly a passionate hobby.

I’m not currently working on anything, but since it’s now mid-November, I could start making handmade Christmas presents.

I love to make gifts for people that include “pebble” frames, tree ornaments, shadow box frames, and embroidery hoops.

Do you exhibit your work somewhere?

IN 2017, I exhibited my work for New Designers in London for ‘New Emerging Artists’.

I also exhibited my work for Broderie des Brodeurs in three locations in 2017/18 for the “Knitting & Stitching Show”, which included Alexandra Palace in London, Harrogate and Dublin.

It was an incredible experience to exhibit my work in so many places and to have been selected from among hundreds of other designers to exhibit as a graduate of the Embroidery Guild.

New artistic adventures planned for the rest of 2021?

AS WE are near the end of 2021, I have no specific business planned.

I will be spending the next month working on Christmas ideas as I love to make custom gifts, so every room is different, and every year I try new ideas.

What has been your favorite project to date?

I CAN honestly say that every project I work on becomes my “new” favorite. Because each project turns out to be different from the previous one, each piece is tailor-made.

Working with fresh flowers can turn out to be completely different from what I imagine when hot pressed. It’s amazing to create a surface from flowers and to create art from something as special as a bridal bouquet.

What do you do when you are not creating art?

MY SCHEDULE is quite busy because I work full time. I only recently returned to work after maternity leave because I have a beautiful 10 month old baby girl.

I still love creating art and it has become more of a hobby than anything else because life is so busy.

Art is something I love to do and will always be my passion. I can’t wait to teach my daughter and do art projects together.

How would you describe your artistic style?

I would describe my art as unique and bespoke, I am a bit of a perfectionist, especially when it comes to hand embroidery which I would rate as very delicate, but I also like the fluidity of drawing my ideas on paper and then see them become a reality.

What does your art mean to you?

ART IS my biggest passion, it’s something that I have always loved and that means so much to me and who I am.