Artist Katharine Watson created two exclusive woodblock print cards for us this Valentine’s Day. These exquisite cards are lovingly crafted by the artist in her studio in Vermont. Here, we speak with Katharine to get a behind-the-scenes look into her process and inspiration.
Can you tell me a bit about your artistic process/practice?
It comes in waves; there are periods when I won’t create new work for weeks at a time (when my focus is more on logistical or administrative work, or fulfilling and shipping orders), and then I might get the urge to make something and come up with ten new prints in a weekend. I’m always planning though, making notes or doodling for new work or new ideas, so that when the time comes to work on new pieces I’ll have lots of material to refer back to.
What inspired you to become an artist?
It was never a conscious choice, it’s just always been something I’ve had the need to do. My kindergarten teacher warned my parents that they couldn’t get me to stop drawing to go outside for recess. In high school I would spend hours in the evenings making things: painting or sewing or sketching. It wasn’t until the end of college that it dawned on me I might be able to actually be an artist as a career, and I started trying to sell as much work as I could and experiment with new processes and styles. A few years after college I started my company and have been working at it since!
What was the inspiration behind the Valentine’s cards you created for us? Were there any specific art works that you used as a reference?
I was given some reference materials from the “Fashion and Virtue” exhibit and looked over them repeatedly. I would scan through the images and then put them away and see what stuck in my head, and what new images popped into my mind. I was really drawn to the thin lines and intricate lace patterns, and went from there to create something that would work as a print.
How does it feel to have your work for sale at The Met?
It feels amazing! The look on people’s faces when I tell them is priceless. It feels a little strange to know that my work is next to so many of my favorite pieces!
Have you visited the Museum before? If so, can you share any memories you have of your visit or favorite pieces from the collection with us?
I’ve been to The Met several times, but the visit that stands out in my mind was in high school. I was taking art history and it was my favorite class, I really threw myself into studying. For the entire year I put all my energy into that one class and memorized more information than I thought possible. The summer after that year I was in New York looking at colleges and went to The Met, and I remember being blown away seeing so many of the pieces I had studied. There is something so much more powerful about seeing the work after you know the history behind it and what went into the creation of each piece. After staring at the pictures for so long, it was amazing to walk around the Museum and see them in person.