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Art & Life with Kait Hurley

 

 

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kait Hurley.

Kait, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
Growing up, like most kids, I was trying to find my niche in life. I was the kid that always wanted to try anything new. I played about every sport you can think of, made commercials with my friends on my parent’s VHS camera, and even did a modeling audition, which totally freaked me out. When I was about seven years old, my cousin gave me this beautiful wooden art set for Christmas and that’s where I really found my love for art and – it just clicked. In school, I took every art class I could, but my favorite was a 3D art class I took in my senior year. Creating pieces of art that had varying appearances from every angle and dimension was so satisfying to me and I couldn’t get enough of it. After high school, I had the hardest time figuring out what was right for me and what I wanted to do. Deciding what you want to do for the “rest of your life” at the age of 18 is terrifying.

I decided to try to do “what an adult is supposed to do” and find a lucrative job. I chose to study nursing and, after four years, graduated with a bachelors. I worked as a Registered Nurse for two years and, despite all I had accomplished, it was my lowest point emotionally. To be committed to something that was so wrong for me, was really hard to deal with and that working a job that you hate is “normal” because the phrase “that’s how it is” was something I heard from many of my peers throughout my nursing career. Even though I knew it wasn’t for me, I tried to stick with it and make it work. People told me that hating your job was normal and that all of the issues I had with nursing were just part of the job – “that’s just the way things are.” After almost two years, with the amazing support from my husband, I realized that a job is just a job and I left nursing. I started to put happiness first.

After that, I worked as a visual merchandiser with H&M for about two and a half years and absolutely loved it. During my time with H&M, I rediscovered my love for making things, and found the world of fiber art. I was looking to create a piece of decor for our home, and decided I would give it a go. After creating my first wall hanging, I hung it above our bed and posted a picture of it on my Instagram. From that post, I received so many requests from friends, family, and strangers from all over, and with the encouragement of some amazing friends, I opened up my own Etsy shop. Working full-time as a VM I could only work on tapestries in the evenings and on weekends, so it was a bit of a balance struggle for sure, but I enjoyed every minute of it.

Creating one of a kind pieces for people to hang in their homes felt amazing and I felt so lucky that people loved my work as much as I did. After about two and half years at H&M and creating tapestries part-time, my husband and I decided to sell everything we had and move across the country to Los Angeles. We had visited California a few times to see family in San Diego and, after years of dreaming, we decided to make Los Angeles our home. We packed up exactly one cardboard box, one suitcase, and a backpack for our dog and we hit the road. I have always dreamed of being my own boss and, when we moved, I decided it was now or never – I was ready to give it my all and create tapestries full-time. We have been living in Los Angeles for about seven months now and I still feel so lucky that I get to do what I absolutely love for a living and I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support from my amazing family, friends, and clients.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I create fiber art with various kinds of wood and 100% wool that is ethically sourced in the US. Each piece begins by choosing the right kind of wood panels or dowel, and is carefully cut, sanded, and stained. I then cut and attach each strand of wool one by one to create my blank canvas and am then ready to begin the dyeing process. I have always enjoyed creating art as well as decorating my home, so in a way I have combined my two loves into one to create statement pieces of art that act as home decor as well.

As far as inspiration, I am definitely inspired by my experiences and traveling. I am a curious person at heart, and am always so fascinated with the colors, textures, and smells of new places and take what I’ve learned and experienced with me back home to create. For me, I think traveling and experiencing the world has made me a better person over time, and I hope to inspire others with my work as it is a reflection of my passions and experiences in life.

Artists rarely, if ever pursue art for the money. Nonetheless, we all have bills and responsibilities and many aspiring artists are discouraged from pursuing art due to financial reasons. Any advice or thoughts you’d like to share with prospective artists?
For me, financial concern was the main reason holding me back in the past. Leaving a job that has guaranteed income and benefits to being your own boss and not knowing how well your artwork will be received, is terrifying. To be able to create artwork for a living takes a lot of work and sacrifice, but is totally worth it in the end. As far as advice, I’d say put yourself out there, showcase your work when you can, and create what you love. Also, I suggest reaching out to other makers and artists! The community of makers is absolutely amazing and so supportive -I’ve met so many others with similar stories and have learned so much about everything and anything related to running a small business.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
I post monthly collections as well as commission pieces on my Instagram and Etsy shop @ColorandPeaks. I also currently have a few pieces available at Oak Nashville in TN for purchase as well.

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