With her sunny disposition, eye for detail and strikingly vivid designs, it’s no wonder that artist and embroiderer, Katy Biele has already earned herself a flock of enthusiastic followers in the short time that she’s shared her work on Instagram. Her hand-stitched designs are filled with colour, texture and character; a reflection of both her Chilean heritage and her bubbly personality, which shines through in her perpetually cheerful posts. A lover of nature, art and travel, Katy currently lives with her husband on the idyllic Vancouver Island, Canada.
Tell us about yourself, Katy. What’s your story?
I was born in the south of Chile. I went to school for graphic design and have used that skill to earn money at various times and places but my passion is fully in the art of textiles, painting and illustration. I have spent a lot of time in South East Asia and fell in love with travelling and learning about other cultures. I met my Canadian husband in New Zealand in 2014 and that is why I am living and working in Canada now. Since arriving here I have really focused more on my art than ever before. It has been a very challenging and emotional ride with lots of ups and downs. I’m so grateful to be recognised and appreciated for something I feel so strongly about. It took so long for me to even say “I am an artist” but now I embrace this life.
Where does your inspiration come from?
I am inspired by the endless colours of nature, especially when I travel. If I fall in love with a beautiful place I can get deep into creating something and almost lose touch with everything else around me.
I have been living on the west coast of Canada for almost a year now and it often reminds of some of my favourite places in Chile where I am from. Being away from home seems to bring out more of my South American roots through my art.
What’s your creative process like?
Sometimes I get an idea or an image in mind and I sketch it out first to see it clearer. Other times I just do it. It just happens like a magic process. I don’t look for ideas or inspiration too much. I either feel it and get working or I feel nothing. Sometimes I will look at photos of my past work and it brings back memories of what I was feeling when I was making the piece.
Tell us about your experience with Instagram…
It can be very fun and exciting or it can burn me out. It’s a good way to show the work and the life of the artist but more than that I like how Instagram can inspire people and give them motivation for their own creative process.
What is your approach to posting images?
I like to take photos of the work in progress. I try to put most attention on the colours and textures of the art. Sometimes they just don’t pop the way the do in real life and it perturbs me. I want people to see the images and feel instantly happy from all the bright colours.
If it’s not of the art, I will post images of the place where I am that is giving me the inspiration.
Who do you most admire?
Sarah Benning is a huge inspiration for me. In my eyes, she is at the top of the world of fibre art. I strive to have a similar lifestyle of creating as she does. Check her out @sarahkbenning
I admire a talented contemporary from Chile named Trini Guzman, @cosiobordaotejio. Her website is www.cosiobordaotejio.com and her YouTube videos are so jazzy and cool. Trini is the one who first got me turned on to hand embroidery.
Tell us about your relationship with flowers, foliage and plants…
I have a really close relationship with plants and flowers – the thing I love about the changing seasons is the colour palette, how it tells its own story of change over and over again. I have always surrounded myself with plants and flowers as they remind me of my Grandma, who was a poet and a storyteller. She never quite lived in reality and believed that flowers contained magic.
Follow Katy’s work on Instagram @katybiele