Kate Kessling is an exciting artist based in Oxford, working in a broad range of media. Born in 1967, Kate studied at Goldsmiths in the late 80’s, followed by an MA in conceptual textiles through a British Council scholarship to Poznan Academy of Art.
She has long been fascinated with buttons and has one of the largest collections in the UK. Her ‘Button pieces’ are vast mosaics, each piece containing two thousand individually sewn buttons. Using the latest in high resolution digital printing, Kate has discovered a new and vibrant technique with which to produce her button and other images. Each print is produced in a small edition on Fine Art paper to Archival standards by Contrary Press.
Kate exhibits widely and produced a set of prints for Habitat in 2008. Kate’s work is described as Pop minimalist
“ 'found objects' contain so much more information, emotion or life than I could ever create myself because they are real and honest , representing genuine actions: a button worn from use, a toy whose paint has been rubbed away from play (such a shame we can't let kids play with lead toys anymore). I do paint, print, make sculpture but find the most interesting aspects of this for me are when the materials take on a life of their own -the way colours randomly combine, ink splurges under a screen or sanded paint reveals layers of colour and pattern. Collecting is a big part of my psychological makeup; I've got lots of buttons, not smart collector's pieces but the rather plain ones. I prefer the ones you pick up from the street that are perhaps a bit dull but have had lots of use. I also have a big collection of Britain’s figures (I like the old ones with worn paint, lots of character - I'm not at all interested in the pristine ones) cotton reels, 'hook and eyes', button cards, vintage fabric. I have a feeling that a lot of artists like to collect; it's our way of cataloguing the world around us. It's like gathering together memories, emotions and events and holding onto them in physical form - even though in the case of an old button picked off the street, it's not my memories or actions that it hold, but it still feels like a relic of somebody else's life and therefore relevant.
Loss of individuality is a problem when presenting my collections of objects. It is not something I have figured out how to get round yet; I hope that people will be able to identify the detail, to be able to take on the everydayness, or the out of the ordinariness of my collections as they form pattern and change scale”.