Artist Interview: Kathrin Achenbach of Annekata

Jul 12, 2010

When I first came across Kathrin's blog last month, it was one of those new-favorite-blog freakout moments.  I was engrossed in every post, quickly falling into the "how many hours just passed before me" state.  You might remember me first mentioning her blog, Annekata, as the catalyst to my recent fabric tape frenzy.  And the fabric tape idea is just one of many clever projects that Kathrin demonstrates on her blog.  Having lived in cities all over the world and with a background in theater, Kathrin's craft and artistry is unique and refreshing, yet classic.  Her method is slow design, and her material of choice is salvaged. . . music to my ears!

How would you describe your work?

It is timeless, with the time trapped within,
low to no footprint,
recycled, and in some way, unfinished.

What inspires you to create?

I'm fascinated by the relationship people have with their "things" and the role that "time" plays. Two of my preferred mediums to explore those relationships are hand-sewing and embroidery. They're slow and let me explore the details of what's decorative and functional, and create a visual/tactile representation of it.

Some of the questions I ask are:
What is our time worth?
Why do we value our time more than other people's time?

And inspiring me are all the people who spend time making "something from nothing".

What artist tool/material do you love using at this moment?

Fiber. Always loved textiles. My grandparents had a small convenience/notions store when I was a little girl and I fondly remember the inventory. The old cash registers, the yarn spools, embroidery threads and the stacks of fabric. I still have some beautiful starched linen from this now long-gone store.

The store also sold paper goods: ledger forms, envelopes of all shapes and sizes and spiral bound notebooks.  I love paper for many reasons and am curious of its uncertain future as it seems to quietly fade away. Paper also lends itself to a myriad of different and exciting applications: decoupage, fashion, decoration etc.

As for tools, I love the simple ones. The ones I can manipulate with my own hands and repair or replace easily. I have a difficult relationship with my camera. It seems indispensable in our virtual world, but I'm not a fan of digital photography (even though there are some amazing artists out there). And my relationship with the sewing machine is simply neurotic.

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

I feel very much in charge of my life. I live where I want, with the people I love and do (for the most part) what I please.

My intention is to spend as much time as I can with my daughter, husband and my work. What I remember of my childhood is that my parents always had time for me. And how important that was.

Who are a few of your favorite artists?

Oh my, there are so many. As for writers I love Emily Bronte, Juan Ramon Jimenez and Garcia Lorca. Some of my favorite photographers are: August Sander, Dorothea Lange. And I like Ramon Masats a documentary photographer from Spain. Painters: Nicolas de Stael, Andrew Wyeth.  Gunta Stölzl produced fantastic work as did Hannelore Baron. And I love Joseph Cornell's boxes.  Andrew Goldsworthy makes me think and in the world of fashion I admire Rei Kawakubo and Alexander McQueen who sadly left this world too early.

What inspired you to start your blog, and what is the origin of the name Annekata?

I am not a very organized person, so many ideas and projects were either discarded or forgotten or given away, and I felt that it was time to create a visual file cabinet of my work. A blog seemed a great format to accomplish this. It forces me to be more disciplined in my creative process. Every morning I sit down and write. It seemed that the blog took on its own character and became another child (begging constantly for attention). We are figuring out together where to go with this. The feedback of readers has been most helpful and insightful, and I want to integrate that spirit into my work.

The name Annekata is an abbreviation of my full name: Anne Kat(hrin) A(chenbach). I wanted a name without defining my blog too much so it could go in any direction. The other domain names I came up with, unfortunately, led in some way or another to "inappropriate" content.

Apart from your creative work, what else do you love to do?

Traveling. On top of my list. And food. And the combination of both. I've been recently interested in the raw food movement. Primarily, because of its very artistic approach. The bigger the constraint, the more creative possibilities people come up with. And the presentation of raw food (done with care) is often incredible. (You won't believe how artfully one can arrange salad greens!)

If you had a spare hour in the day, how would you spend it?


Thanks, Kathrin, for such lovely photographs and a wonderful interview! I feel so inspired to embroider now- and eat a few raw broccoli while doing it. 


Charissa - The Gifted Blog said...

Ahh...thanks for this interview. I'm a new reader of Kathrin's blog, too, and am really enjoying it. I saw her embroidered ornaments post and immediately got out my sewing stuff! It's a pleasure to see her hand sewing and want to do it again.

Sharon said...

i love her!! everytime i visit her blog )(everyday) i find new inspiration for sewing, trying something different, reading something interesting or just soaking up HER creative spirit!

Chrissy Foreman C said...

Wow ~ Kathrin's work is fantastic! Thanks for sharing the interview!

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