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Artist's love of textiles inspires latest project

“The idea that I want is a flow of people going through the making, creating, the displaying, the viewing of art."
Kathryn Cooke sits in her gallery Blue Eyes Studio with her dog Beaux on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019. CHELSEA KEMP RMO PHOTO

CANMORE – Finding new avenues to showcase her art while encouraging others to embrace their inner creativity, a local artist is challenging the traditional ways of setting up a studio.

Kathryn Cooke is expanding her business Blue Eyes Studio in new directions, exploring different commercial applications of her designs and artistic practice.

She recently partnered with the Montréal based company Le Galeriste to produce kimonos and pillows that feature her art.

“I have always loved textiles … I love fabric and how it flows,” Cooke said. “I’m pretty excited.”

The partnership was the perfect opportunity to pursue a practice she had been keenly interested in, Cooke said, while embracing the art of home décor.

The pillows are a soft velvet and feature the vibrant colours that match the original artwork she created. She added she is pleased with the knee-length sheer kimonos because they create a new possibility for how people can view her art.

“The designs that came from my artwork just lends themselves so nicely to the movement that is created by the wearer as they wear their kimono,” Cooke said.

“Many of the subjects that I do are like portraits, but it’s the portrait of an animal. They just worked, I’m so happy with them.”

Cooke said she is interested in partnering with local galleries in the Bow Valley to market her new products along with using her own venue Blue Eyes Studio. The artist has a total of nine pillow designs and six kimono designs available.

Cooke has been gentle and patient to ensure she has given herself the time for ideas to percolate, she said, so they can unfold in the best way possible. It has been a humbling experience having the space where these opportunities are possible and she can share her passion with others.

Cooke said she is always looking to share her passion for expressive arts with the community and is working on creating a residency in her studio so she can share the space short-term with other artists. At the end of the residency, she hopes they can have a show to display the art created during the residency.

“The idea that I want is a flow of people going through the making, creating, the displaying, the viewing of art,” Cooke said.

The artist added she wants to at some point host two-day workshops for adults where they can engage with the expressive arts.

“We don’t get a chance to play as adults,” Cooke added, explaining that it can be challenging for students to let down their guard and let loose and explore the process of expression.

Everyone is creative, she said, explaining that the key is finding their modality and expressive arts move through poetry, writing, drama, music, 2D art and 3D art to aid people in finding their voice.

“I want to facilitate deeper ideas," Cooke said. "Big ideas, that are quite abstract and show how we can use the arts to experience those things ... To think deeper into these important abstract ideas.”

Visit Cooke's website for more information.

Chelsea Kemp

About the Author: Chelsea Kemp

Chelsea Kemp joined the Cochrane Eagle in 2020 as editor, bringing with her experience as a reporter and photojournalist. She writes about politics, health care, arts and entertainment and Indigenous stories.
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