Wool blanket, disassembled threading, Sewing, Kancan denim
“Someone’s labor is creating these objects that we wear. I hope by dissecting these pieces and having them on display in this arrangement will be able to pique your curiosity in the process of how these things were made and created.”
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Catherine Reinhart is an interdisciplinary artist who earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in fiber and printmaking from Iowa State University and a Master of Fine Arts in textiles from University of Kansas. Her main focus has been using unwanted textiles for fiber art that is socially engaging through the act of sewing it together. Her work is largely centered on themes of motherhood, community, and care. As a mother, her art is inspired by her consistent and persistent care towards her family and community. As a child, Catherine was always around textiles because her mother was a quilt maker who came from a lineage of German tailors. Growing up in the rural Midwest of the US, she is surrounded by second-hand garments that she breathes new life into by mending them into visual art that can be seen in galleries and museums today. Through her creative process, she relies on her intuition when choosing her materials and often times she will revisit an old project and expand them with newfound techniques. Not only is she recycling materials by nurturing it into a new piece, but she is often revisiting ideas and redeveloping them.
MEANING OF DENIM
As a theoretically trained artist, Catherine finds the unseen processes of making denim and its history as the most fascinating. When she thinks of denim she recalls a documentary where the first pieces of denim were unearthed from “the ground that were worn by cowboys or workmen” like an archeological artifact. She describes denim as an ambiguous and versatile material that can be easily overlooked. To her, it “connects with invisible things in our lives” because of the labor and history that goes unnoticed when you glance at a pair of jeans.
ABOUT THE WORK
Catherine describes her Kancan x Artist collaboration piece somewhere in-between fiber art and a floor installation. The inspiration behind "Leavings" is derived from her inquisitive nature and domestic landscape as a stay-at-home mother. Surrounded by pieces of her children’s laundry and blankets strewn across her domestic space, the shapes and folds that the fabrics created served as a blueprint for her installation. Using a thrifted wool blanket, she personally used to keep warm, it served as an archeological landscape for her arrangement of denim. When she started working on the pieces of denim she became curious in dissecting a pair of jeans and learning how it’s made. Catherine’s past works are largely centered on the theme of invisible labor that comes from caretaking. So through her research, she translates the industrial processes of how denim is made by showcasing each piece and thread like it is part of a historical archive in a museum.
“When I disassembled the jeans and cut them into different pieces, I also kept the thread that came undone from the seams and so, it’s the collection and arrangement of all the materials that would go into making the jeans separated out into these categories, like an archive of denim.”