Katie, one of our amazing models, is also a professor, artist, and an advocate for racial reconciliation. Read more from Katie below.
Tell us a little bit about your sense of calling, and how your creative self coincides with this call?
I am a professor at Seattle Pacific University and have also worked in ministry. Both of these settings invite me to use creativity to think about learning, identity, belonging, and faith. I bring a lot of art into the classroom (and the church). Some of this is in the form of observing the art made by others or listening to the stories of others, but more often we make art together and tell each other our stories. Art and storytelling can be powerful forces in reconciliation. I love to sew and so I can also, occasionally, be found wearing clothes that I have made.
What are your creative inspirations?
I love the whimsical fairy tale fabric made by Heather Ross and the aesthetic of Alicia Paulson (a sewing blogger). I am also inspired by the poetry of Mary Oliver, novels by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, as well as the work of my less famous, but equally creative friends. I read a lot of children’s books and really enjoy Mo Willems and Jon Klassen, both of whom engage the reader in active ways that I have not found in other children books.
I am always curious to “see the world as otherwise,” as Maxine Greene writes about with regard to learning and art. I love artistic experiences that challenge me to notice something I have not seen before, or hear a voice that was out of my range until that encounter. I love concerts that envelope everyone into one musical moment and the way art can bring people together through a shared experience. I also love to be in the wilderness where beauty can be both severe and gentle, predictable and wild.
Who have your primary encouragers in your creative journey?
When I was growing up my parents were wonderfully supportive of my sewing endeavors. It was an activity that was truly my own. In elementary school I took sewing lessons in the basement of one of our friends along with a few other girls. In high school, I took quilting lessons with my neighbors in their 60s, 70s, and 80s. My three young boys love to sew tooth fairy pillows and little bags for books. I don’t have as much time or space as I have in the past, but in a way it makes these creative moments even more precious. I also find that with less time I enjoy the process even more and while the product may take longer to complete, I am better at taking the time to complete each step with precision rather than rushing to finish.
Why are you excited about the Story Shop?
I love the ethical consumer movement. I am increasingly aware that my money “votes” in a more powerful way than my “political vote” sometimes does. Because of that, I want to use my financial power to support people who are making clothing that is sustainable and ethically created. The business model of the Story Shop aligns with my values. I am really excited to see the beauty that is curated in this space.