“Crafter” of the Week: Kate Kretz


Art can often be deceiving. Sometimes the most stoic looking art requires the most delicate of applications, while other times the most delicate pieces are actually the most irregular. Similarly, sometimes something so beautiful is actually extremely disturbing upon a second look.

This is one of those last times.

Kate Kretz, an American artist based in Florida, makes tiny, incredibly intricate embroideries out of human hair. On her website she doesn’t mention if it is her hair or someone elses, which adds to the creepy yet incredibly appealing feel of the work.  Her website seems to focus primarily on paintings and the process of the works as being integral to an artists process, however it is really the embroideries which shine.

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Through using the human hair to paint images of mouths, eyes, and other parts of the body, Kretz plays on our concepts of the abject, forcing us to imagine our bodily parts interweaving and combining in a disturbing, if not painful way. Hair in our eyes could pierce our retina, hair in our mouth is drying and gross. These are not things we want combined, and yet the embroideries are still appealing.

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Works like this one, Pillow (2005), plays with the hair is a slightly different way. While less abject, by embroidering a mirror of one’s head on a pillow, the work acts as a ghost of us, a symbol of our eventual decay, reminding us that only small traces of ourselves, like hairs fallen onto a pillow, will remain in the end.

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Not to be outdone by herself, Kretz is also a master at traditional embroidery. This is a detail of the work Crying Man III (2005), which uses various shades of pink thread on red cloth to give depth and shape to the man’s face. The small, haphazard stitches look like knots from far away, giving an incredibly tactile feeling to the work. As with the hair pieces, it is this touchable idea that makes the work unique and allows them to stand as paintings in thread.

Check out Kretz’ website for more information on her art and non-fiber works. She’s in a bunch of exhibits throughout the country this summer, including some fiber fairs, so make sure to check this incredibly tactile work in person if you can. As always, all images are copyright Katie Kretz, and are used here for commentary and to promote the artist. Give credit where credit is due!!!!

I also wanted to say THANK YOU for all the views, since I now have over 1,000 views!!! What a cool milestone for me. Super excited and hope more and more people become interested in my ridiculousness.  I’d love to see your crafts and interact with you guys more, so please do comment and share your work with me!

Stay tuned for more cool stuff to come, and in the meantime . . .


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