Whitworth University 2020 Faculty Biennial

Katie Creyts Part 3

Welcome back for our final look at the work of Katie Creyts.  Along with looking at her final piece from the exhibit, Katie answered a few more of my questions.

When asked about her use of watercolors for preliminary work rather than other materials, as well as the translation between watercolor and glass Katie responded, “I use pencil and watercolors to draw and paint out ideas for some work, though it is important to note that I don’t use them exclusively. 

First off, I like the touch of these two mediums and the way they look. They don’t assault the viewer with heavy greasiness and importance.  They can be ethereal, here and gone.  Watercolors have a variety of properties with each color – staining, opaque, transparent, granulating – I like what they do.  They relate to glass easily because you can glaze them, meaning you can overlay colors to create new colors (like how fabric plaid mixes) or deepen colors.  You also can use resists, like tape, frisket, or colored pencil which relate to the etching I do on glass.  Also, I have really painful arthritis in my CMC joints (from years of being a glassblower) which is very sensitive to drag – watercolors don’t bother that at all. Glass is really expensive, and there’s a lot of risk.  The watercolor helps me think about color reactions and issues of opacity and transparency.

I don’t feel like I have rules in studio practice, though.  Last night I was working fast and big with India ink on paper packing material. It depends on what’s percolating in my brain.”

Watercolor on paper.  Currently not on display.

I also asked Katie about the process of making one of her final pieces and the use and importance of opaque glass in their creation, and she had this to say, “These pieces tend to make us of opaque glass pretty exclusively.  This may be unexpected for those how associate glass work with windows in cathedrals.  

When I create a narrative piece with specific imagery, I want the etching to show.  Because these works are not windows or light boxes, transparent stained glass is too dark to show the imagery.  A lot of the powder colors I use are transparent and they are sifted on to white opaque glass.  I am not opposed to transparency, I think it makes a good metaphor for the “here, then gone” wild elements of my work – it just wasn’t right for these works.  In the Forest Allegorypiece downstairs (and also on her website), there’s a doily and the Clark’s nuthatch in transparent glass.”

Lead/Follow, glass and hardware, 2020, 18x14x1.75 inches, $1500.  Third of three pieces currently on display in the Bryan Oliver Gallery.

I asked Katie to explain what is going on in “Lead/Follow”, and this is what she shared, “The ram in front is called a bellwether.  The bellwether is similar to a eunuch in that it does the bidding of the shepherd in a language the sheep can understand, like the eunuch has sway with the people but doesn’t threaten the emperor’s power.  This is also weird to me because a bellwether is a metaphor for Christian pastoral care.

So, we have a bellwether (notice the gold lustered bell on his collar), who is a prized and trained castrated ram, jumping off the bridge – and causing all the sheep to do the same.  There’s a metaphor in there.”

Thanks for joining us as in taking a closer look at the work of Katie Creyts.  Before we go, I asked Katie what she has coming up next, and this is what she had to say, “I’m working on some more ideas surrounding animals and Covid.  I am looking at Aesop’s fables with their moralizing nature, and tweaking them with contemporary themes.  I am in a small group show at the Saranac Art Projects in April 21 and I hope to have a couple more works completed for that.”


Keep an eye out in the coming days for our next artist spotlight.

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