Cycle 4 AiR: Interview with Kate Parvenski
Textile Arts Center: How did you first become involved with the Textile Arts Center?
Kate Parvenski: I first learned about the Textile Arts Center and the residency program during an open studio visit. I spoke with one of the residents at the time about her experience in the program and knew immediately that I wanted to apply. I became an Artist in Residence in September 2013.
TAC: What medium do you generally work in?
KP: As a sculptor, I’ve consistently been drawn to the use of textiles in my work. After moving to New York about 5 years ago, I started to experiment with embroidery because it was so portable and inexpensive. I would say that drawing has always been an important part of my process, and using a needle and thread gave me the opportunity to sketch out ideas on a new surface. Over time, I’ve been able to use embroidery techniques on different materials in both art and design projects.
TAC: What inspires your work?
KP: I’m most inspired by beauty in everyday objects or small moments. I like to find a discarded object, and figure out a way to repurpose it. Growing up my dad always took us to flea markets and antique shops, and we were always looking for new finds. I think I’ve kept that same sense of “the hunt” walking around New York. Sometimes an old lamp shade on the sidewalk can be the most exciting thing I see all day. I like to think about the possible stories I can create by repurposing objects, and that sense of curiosity drives my work.
TAC: What is your artistic process like?
KP: My process has definitely changed over time, and changes depending on what I’m making. Some of my embroidered work is very methodical; it forces me to slow down. At the same time, embroidery can be tedious, so I always try to balance the repetitive motion with quick sketches on paper. When I’m drawing, it can be more haphazard, and I always leave room for revision and improvisation.
TAC: What did you learn from your experience as an AIR at TAC?
KP: There are almost too many things to list. Coming from a studio art background, the program gave me the opportunity to explore my interest in design and learn from a talented community of successful designers. By the end of the 9 months, I was able to walk away with a set of very practical tools: from tips on marketing and branding, starting a business, launching a website, to actually going through the process of designing a product.
On a more personal level, I learned that having a consistent creative practice – in whatever form that may take – is crucial to me, and something that I hope to continue after I leave TAC. My main reason for applying to the program was to carve out more time for myself to be creative outside of my regular day job. The residency taught me that it is possible to do both, even with a busy schedule.
I think the most important thing I learned, though, is the value of an artistic community. I’ve never before been a part of such a supportive, creative group of people, all equally invested in each others’ work. I know that I can stitch away in my quiet apartment, but I’m not going to learn anything or improve my work until I share it with other people and ask for their feedback. I’m so grateful to have met all of the amazingly talented people at TAC who’ve let me be part of their community.
TAC: Who is your favorite designer or artist?
KP: I almost can’t answer this question! I admire so many artists for different reasons. Some of my favorites are Louise Bourgeois, Eva Hesse, Annette Messager, and Nick Cave.
TAC: If you could wear one article of clothing forever what would it be?
KP: I’m going to cheat in two ways and say my rings. I’ve always got one on my index finger and the other is a knuckle ring. It’s come to the point where I feel naked without them, so if we’re talking forever, I’m sticking with my rings!
TAC: What do you always have in your studio?
KP: Embroidery floss! Also, there’s always a lot of tea.
TAC: What’s your favorite place in the world and why?
KP: I’m most at home at the beach – any beach. There’s something really special to me about visiting the ocean every now and then. That, and I absolutely love to swim.
TAC: If you could recommend one class at TAC which one would it be?
KP: Weaving 101. I think it’s such a strong foundation for learning about textiles in general, and it really connects you to textiles in a way you might not have realized. I had a whole new appreciation for clothing after I took that class.
Artists in Residence at the Textile Arts Center Opening Reception:
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 17
RSVP at with our Event Page, or email us at email@example.com
See you there!