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Kathleen Kurtz

Fiber Art
Belmont, Michigan

Kathleen Kurtz has felt the draw to create from a   young age. While she has explored many art forms -- from watercolor, acrylic, sewing, and multiple 3D projects -- she has finally combined what she loves the most about them all. 

Currently she has found her love in 3D soft sculptures and woven bowls, incorporating bits and pieces from the Great Lakes beaches from which she draws inspiration. Using driftwood, stones, and birch curls alongside vibrant fabrics, yarns, beads, and old jewelry, she creates her own style of handmade spirit dolls and bowls. 

With her creations, she hopes it will bring a pop of whimsy or color into people's lives or a fond memory of their experience by the beautiful Michigan landscapes she loves so much!

Kathleen describes the process of creating her soft sculptures which  involves many stages....

“First I start with an infrastructure which is usually a piece of driftwood.  On occasion it will be perfectly straight but I love to use pieces that have bends and curves as I feel this lends to the character seeming more alive.  I add wire to construct a base form and then wrap in tin foil to create the shape of the body basics.  I use stuffing and/or soft white fabric to create a smoother surface and cover all wires and tin foil.  I design a head covering which I measure, sew, fit and attach to the main structure.”


“Then I take the colors of cloth I have pre-chosen, tear them into strips and wrap the figure creating the shape I want as I go and glue into place.  I use different types of yarn, string, old necklaces, or anything that calls out to me to wrap around the figure.  Searching through my many boxes of fabric, yarn and miscellaneous pieces of jewelry, beads and stone can often take a while as I look for the exact items that fit the sculpture.”

“I create the hair by using different types of yarn, twine, string and cord in a mix of colors.  All yarn is separated into individual strands (most yarn is a twist of 2-4 strands.) I then lay them out and sew them together, arrange the hair on the head, glue it in place and finish with any final details.”

“It’s a time consuming journey but one I get lost in and completely enjoy! I take time to listen to my intuition about what to use and when the piece feels finished.  Each sculpture is one of a kind with its own unique personality and can take up to 12 hours to complete.”

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