Katie Bunschotens Painting

Artist’s Corner

3715 Winston Avenue, Latonia, KY 41015 · (859) 261-1029

Kay Knigga

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     A Kentucky native, Kay Knigga learned batiking while pursuing her degree in general crafts at the University of Tennessee. Now working in the medium for thirty + years, Knigga has developed a knack for turning fabric and gorgeous dyes into not only a painting, but into meaningful depictions of her own eloquent prose.

     While she won’t term herself a writer, this award-winning artist will admit that she keeps a journal and is “a keeper of words.” Many times Knigga will utilize quotes in her work, which can be seen especially the series, Hands. In this series she depicts a lineated rendition of different hand poses, with the explanation in an artist’s statement that speaks of a creative life.

     Southern to the core, Kay’s vibrant personality comes out in her beautiful manipulation of wax and fabric. While many stay away from batiking because of the considerable time commitment required to produce good work and clear color, Kay embraces the chance to become immersed in the creation of each piece. In her words, “my studio is my playroom.”

     This fun and quirky artist loves the surprise element as well. While starting out with a clean piece of muslin or other fabric, the knowledge that her piece will take on its own life through each repetitive layer of dye is invigorating to this long-time artist.

“I like how it’s so fluid,” says Kay. “I like the way when I start I don’t know how it’s going to end up. It’s like life.”

     Knigga is skilled in many forms of art from jewelry-making to pottery, but nowadays she concentrates on her fabric work.

It took her a while to find her true calling. While in college Kay tried an industrial arts course. While she ultimately finished the class, she bemusingly reminisces on the day she “massacred” a piece of redwood in an effort to create a flowing wood sculpture. “Wood does not flow,” she explains with a grin.

     While her earlier pieces were true batiks, meaning they utilized wax on cloth with washes of dye to create the painting, Knigga now utilizes acrylic paints for their tendency to resist fading and for their trueness of color.

     “I had a hard time finding black in dyes, and decided to try acrylic.” She goes on to explain that due to the color traits of black, the black fabric dye tended to appear more like one of the root colors instead. She tried acrylic, and has never looked back.

     What draws Knigga to batiking? “I like the oopsies!” She says with a flash of a smile. To the observer there aren’t any oopsies in her work, but that’s what she enjoys most; the process and the flow of the work are more important than the original plan in Knigga’s mindset, and it works.

     Take a look at any of her vibrant, colorful works and you will see an artist who has refined a difficult skill in order to create a thing of beauty for all.

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