Facebook (A Howling Ruth Production)
Facebook (Kachina Leigh)
As the daughter of a mother who teaches in the field of fashion and design, I was acutely aware at a young age of the transformational properties of clothing. My artistic interests were equally shaped by my Grandmother who taught me to decode the language of patterns, to sew, and later, to knit, crochet, and embroider. My experimentation with dyes introduced me to felting, and I am fascinated by the sculptural properties of wool. Nuno felting enables me to combine my own fabrics with wool to add depth and dimension to my wearable pieces as well in sculptural pieces. I feel that my pieces’ wearability enhances, rather than detracts from, their depth. That the work will be worn is significant, indeed essential, to its artistic value. It is when the work is worn—when the wearer imbues it with her own sense of style and integrates it into her daily life—that the work truly comes to life. My wearable pieces are marketed under the moniker, A Howling Ruth Production.
While most of my work fiber-based, not all of my pieces are intended to be worn. I am drawn to old garments that show evidence of the hand that created the piece as well as the person who wore it. These indelible marks—stitches, stains, mended holes, and spots rubbed almost bare by continual contact with the body—speak to the hours invested in the making of the garment as well as the years that have passed as it was worn, again and again. In my most recent pieces, I have been working with both narrative and context, exploring how garments can be altered to reflect as well as defy societal norms and expectations, particularly of women. I also work in ceramics and collage, combining these media with fiber techniques.
I have taught numerous workshops and lectured throughout the United States and abroad on a variety of fiber-related topics. I am always seeking new opportunities to teach, but I am also a dedicated student, and seize any opportunity to travel to work with other artists and learn new techniques. Some Things Looming, a gallery dedicated to fiber located in Reading, Pennsylvania, has named me one of its Artistic Directors; the gallery and I share a dedication to education, with an emphasis on the preservation of textile traditions and interest in textile innovation.