Over 25 years ago military supplies depot workers found me in rural China and I was given the name Qiū lián, which in English translates as ‘Autumn Lotus’. Though no one addresses me by this name and hasn’t addressed me by this name for 25 years, the name always floats in my mind. ‘Autumn Lotus’ carries weight, as a lotus can be a symbol of perseverance, strength, and life. A single lotus seed can lie dormant in the depths of a muddy riverbed for hundreds, even thousands of years, and one day germinate and grow. What seeds lie within me and are pushing to the surface?
My embroideries are stitched portraits, stories stabbed into cloth, offering memories and reflections. Inspired by relationships and mundane and dramatic moments in my life, I recreate these raw and personal moments that touch upon a myriad of emotions in the semi-abstract form.
Wading is a lotus that describes the more mundane parts of my past year. The days slowly follow each other like my feet meeting resistance in sand in shallow water. It is an ode to moments that are quiet, contemplative, and peaceful with the absence of prescribed purpose.
(Wading is an iridescent piece that changes value as the viewer changes their positioning around the piece.)
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Katie Mongoven (Chinese-American, b. 1995) is a fiber artist based in Cleveland, OH. Born in Shanggao, China during the One Child Policy, Mongoven grew up in Washington, DC and received her BFA from the University of Michigan’s Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design in 2017. Mongoven has exhibited nationally for her innovative fiber pieces including University Hospitals, Cleveland; Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT; Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts (LHUCA), Lubbock, TX; Yeiser Art Center, Paducah, KY; and ARC Gallery, Chicago. She has received grants from SPACES (2020), Red Bull Arts (2020), and the University of Michigan (2017 and 2018) and awards including the Praxis Fiber Arts Award (2020) and Second Best in Show at LHUCA (2019). Mongoven has attended residencies at California Institute of the Arts (2017), University of Michigan’s (2018), and Vermont Studio Center (2018).
© Katie Mongoven