I am an interdisciplinary artist who makes fiber art and conducts socially engaged projects with abandoned textiles. These works center on the themes of domestic labor, connection and care. As artist and mother, I am both archivist and field hand, creating studies in the accretion of domestic life and cataloging its labors. Caregiving girds up our society and is based largely on the undervalued labor of women.
Tending to one’s family and community is built on consistent, repetitive actions which provide comfort, ease suffering, and connect us with our fellow man. Mending and stitching by hand parallel these tending actions. Through their use, I communicate the transformative power of caregiving. I am also interested in the point at which motherhood becomes untenable; exploring the limitations of maternal labor, the baggage of inherited possessions and the societal pressures of caregiving. Fiber works “take care (exhausted)” and “Doing OK?” become faded in the sun and worn in the center, reflecting the exhausting experience of mothering during a global pandemic. With these works, I join the growing ranks of a constellation of new artist-mothers giving voice to the maternal and domestic experience.
Recently, my socially engaged project “”The Collective Mending Sessions”” rely on the communal actions of mending together. By synthesizing the slow fiber movement’s focus on locality, quality, and craftmanship with the ancient practice of mending, I am creating new forms of communal making. “”Mended I”” is the first completed work of this project. With my work, I contribute to relevant and timely discussions reframing the value of care and connection to our neighbors and our possessions. I give voice and hold space for stories of repair, loss, and kinship.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Catherine Reinhart is an artist living and creating in Ames, IA. She received her BFA in Integrated Studio Arts – Printmaking and Fiber in 2008 from Iowa State University. In 2012, she completed her MFA in Textiles from the University of Kansas.
Reinhart exhibits her work locally and nationally. She has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards. These include a 2015 Personal Development Grant from the Surface Design Association, and Art Project grants from the Iowa Arts Council in 2016 & 2019. Her work is included in the Southern Graphics Council Print Collection and Archives at the University of Mississippi at Oxford, Mississippi and the Print Department Permanent Collect at Kyoto, Japan.
Catherine has served as a selected panelist on “Visualizing Place: A Conversation with Visiting Artists Featured in the Power of Place”, Power of Place: KU Alumni Exhibition at the Spencer Museum of Art in Lawrence, KS and “ Figuring it Out: Truths of being successful” held in conjunction with the Surface Design Association’s 2019 Conference & Future Tense 2019 exhibition in St. Louis, MO. Her work has been included in the 2015 Surface Design Journal.
Reinhart has attended several invitational artist residencies including the 2018 Pentaculum at the Arrowmont School for Arts & Crafts in Gatlinburg, TN. She has been named a 2020 Iowa Artist Fellow, an 2021 Artist-in-Residence at the Terrain Residency in Springfield, IL and an inaugural recipient of the Alex Brown Foundation Artist-in-Residence for Fall 2022.
© Catherine Reinhart