Artist Spotlight and GIVEAWAY: Ragged Edge Print Studio
Nestled behind a yoga studio in Cohoes New York is Ragged Edge Print Studio. It's a wonderful workspace where handmade silk scarfs come to life with vibrant colors and organic shapes.
Many of the creations from Kathy Klomaps remind me of an earthy, nature loving woman. You'd love to sit with her on a comfy couch and share a calming cup of vanilla chai.
I had the honor to spend time with Kathy and can't wait to take a class from her.
1)--Kathy, your designs are so beautiful. While recreating your design may be difficult, you told me the actual process of printing your own silk scarf is not difficult at all. Can you explain?
A) The process is a version of monoprinting, a very painterly type of printmaking that creates single, unique images. I start with a silk scarf blank, the edges are already finished. As I want the scarves to be soft, vibrant and colorfast, I use a fiber reactive dye, rather than a textile paint. The dye is mixed with a thickener derived from seaweed , and soda ash is used to initiate the reaction between the dye and silk molecules.
The fun begins when the dye paste is manipulated on a large plexiglass plate - as large as the scarf. I use a variety of tools to achieve different textures - paint brushes, Q-tips, silicone pastry brushes, combs, cardboard tubes, sponges. Finger painting would be fine too, as long as you are protecting your hands with gloves.
Once the details on the printing plate are complete, I set it down on the scarf, and apply some light pressure. What I love about the process is the looseness. You have to love the quirky patterns that may result from thick globs of dye squishing, thinner areas of dye imprinting brush marks and other textures, colors merging and creating fresh colors.
Sometimes the scarf is complete with one plate, but often I will paint another plate, and print on top of the first pattern to get more complex patterns and richer colors.
2) -How did you go from working a 9-5 job to creating scarfs and teaching your art for a living?
A) I have always loved fabrics, textured or printed. I studied textile design in college, both weaving and surface design. Busy with a career in the retail field, I took lot's of classes, but mostly I satisfied my creative urges by enjoying the drama of the clothing and accessories I was surrounded with, and took satisfaction in encouraging woman to express themselves creatively with their clothing choices.
But the hands on playing with color and pattern was missing, and to fill this urge I began taking classes in printmaking.
Funny, though, my work on paper so often was reminiscent of fabric patterns!
Soon I was tearing up my monoprints and stitching them back together!
When my studio mate and I set up Ragged Edge Printmaking Studio, we were focused on traditional fine art printmaking. Having the luxury of a spacious studio just seem to gel all the creative energy, and I ended up back at my roots, using a process I learned for paper to be applied to fabric.
3) -What inspires you and how does that translate into your work?
A) I just love to see how the patterns change, the colors come alive, and a positive energy is brought forth when the scarves are worn. Much as the one might notice the light flickering through trees on a walk through a forest.
4) -What piece of advice would you offer to someone who wants to create their own scarf?
A) For this process, stay loose! Just dive in, go for it! Work quickly, don't fret over your color choices, be ready for surprising and luscious details to emerge. Use your whole body, feel free and trust your instincts.
5) -Where can people get your scarfs and find out more about classes?
Folks should check out RaggedEdgePrintStudio.com, and Kathy.Klompas.com for schedules classes. If you don't see one that fits your schedule, contact me. I can do a class for 3 to 6, so consider getting some friends together.
My scarves are available by contacting me directly, The Open Door Bookstore in Schenectady, The Textile Studio in Saratoga, and The Artisan's Gallery in Middleburgh. Dec 3 and 4 she will be at the crafts show at the Women's Building in Albany. Also you can find her work at Boght Art Center in Cohoes, where a portion of the sales goes to support their wonderful programs.
Kathy, thank you so much for being in the Artist Spotlight!
Would you like the beautiful scarf Kathy is wearing in the picture to the right? Kathy is giving it away to one lucky reader!!!
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