Kentucky Crafted Artist Page

Catherine Simpson

Fiber

The women in Cathy's family planted the seed of her artistic ability to think “outside the box”.  As a child she was inspired by her grandmother’s simplistic lifestyle that included outhouses, crocks and wood stoves.  Her great grandmother also lived a simple lifestyle and made do with what she had.  Cathy spent many days with her listening to her folk stories.  Once, while visiting her grandmother’s home, she collected all her favorite antiques, put them on the porch and took a picture of them.  Little did she know that later in life primitive antiques would become her passion.  These experiences exposed her to various cultures and lifestyles and widened her appreciation for the arts.

Cathy’s dolls are created from her heart.  They have a primitive folk spirit and are made in a traditional style.  Women and children of the 1800s created dolls using whatever materials they had on hand.  Sometimes they would take a stick and wrap it with an old rag and that would be their play doll.  Cathy stitches her dolls by hand or with a sewing machine and stuffs them with old rags, straw, grass, sawdust or any other material that is available.  She uses heavily distressed fabrics dyed with coffee, walnuts or tea to give the dolls an aged, primitive look.  Her fabrics are also scented with cinnamon or sassafras root.  For decorating the dolls, she uses antique buttons purchased at antique shows, flea markets and garage sales.  Some dolls are dried in the sun to give them the right patina.

Cathy wants to further the art of traditional Kentucky crafts.  “You can not look to the future unless you remember the past” is one of her favorite quotes.  She hopes to gain camaraderie with fellow crafters who share her zeal to preserve history.