10 Questions with Kathryn Harmer Fox
Posted on 19 October 2022
Kathryn Harmer Fox, a self taught mixed media artist, is known predominately for her work with with fabric and thread. She has honed her drawing skills over decades of "doing" creating her artworks from ideas penciled on paper to final detailed masterpieces.
"I focus on the process rather than the product. It is the doing that counts; this is what shifts oneself out of place, out of time into a healing, meditative space called flowtime. Creating art is restorative and although the product may be beautiful and inspiring, it is truly the process which is both beautiful and inspiring, says Fox.
She is one of our selected 10 Art.co.za Watch List artists for 2023. The new annual list of the most on-the-rise artists in South Africa features the artists across various media and subject matter who are gained momentum in the past year and who are reaching new heights in their art careers.
If not art, what would you do?
I have no idea, I would be bored, irritable and totally impossible to live with.
Where does your inspiration come from?
So many things; life around me, words I may hear, my own hands. To give you an idea, I have just completed two works for a group exhibition to be hosted by the JVH gallery in Pretoria. My inspiration for the works (see below) were the concept of visible mending, "Chickenspit" the name of my son's new bespoke clothing range, and colour being the primary subject matter.
What's your secret obsession?
The process of making stuff, the actual products are just the cherry on top.
Do you have a creative muse?
No, I don't think so but having a specifically designated work space is very, very helpful - could my studio be my muse?
Which creative medium would you love to pursue but haven't yet?
Metalwork. Making furniture frames and then covering them with fibre art.
Favorite time of the day?
Early morning. I get up, do my yoga, grind my coffee, have a couple of smokes and then head off into my studio.
What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can't live without in your studio?
I can live with anything, at the same time I love my colors, paints are something that I prefer to have all the time.My sewing machine. I won a state of the art Bernina sewing machine and it just stopped working. I burst into tears, loaded it into my bakkie and headed out onto the highway towards Shawn (Bernina East London). He consoled me, fixed it and sent me on my happy return.
Favourite or most inspirational place in South Africa?
Ooo...this is a tough one. I love my back stoep; it is filled with birds, and has snakes and frogs and porcupines. There are sculls and sculptures, lavender and planted driftwood collected from the beach. The back wall is filled with eyes that I have painted onto found scraps of wood and heads of beasties that I have made from papier-mache. Sacred? Yes, I suppose it is.
What, in your opinion, is the hardest step in creating an artwork?
The beginning - the time when you have to fill the paper or the canvas; the time before flowtime. It is just hard work and the empty spaces need to be filled. And then, so quickly, this hard slog shifts into pure love: all else recedes and you are wholy enveloped by the process of making.
What's the best creative advice you've ever received?
Don't be smug or bathe in self-satisfaction, always be critical of your own work.
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