North Farm and Katherine Kilgore in SF

 North Farm 
Weaving by Katherine Kilgore
Dimensions ? Year ? Collection of ??
This winter, my great-uncle Roger sent an email to my mother and aunt, asking if they knew the whereabouts of the weaving North Farm by my late grandmother, Katherine Kilgore. Roger and his wife Barbara have been compiling images of Katherine's work and sending them on cd's to family members. Most of Katherine's work, which mainly consists of tapestries and paintings, belongs to family. Others were commissions for churches and synagogues (several of them are in San Francisco). While Roger and his wife set about printing themselves a fine copy of North Farm, my mother commissioned me to do a copy for them as a belated Christmas present. 

It was a difficult task. I was daunted by the prospect of transcribing anything by my grandmother, a person whom I respect as an artist and human being. Also, her work is incredibly sophisticated. It is comprised of geometric shapes, rich colors, symbolic and sacred imagery, and she is not alive to guide me! I began in the usual medium of watercolor, but found that I could not accurately draw the image. Then I realized that I was going about it all wrong. Since I couldn't copy her work, I could only do a successful version with my own voice. A transcription, if you will. And my voice is a messy one.

North Farm, based on the weaving by Katherine Kilgore
Watercolor, gouache, colored pencil, collaged paper, glue on paper
11 x 14 inches, 2014
Collection of Roger and Barbara Nelson
Laying out the basic geometrical framework of the picture, I tore up another sheet of watercolor paper and pasted and pasted until the original image was obliterated and the framework visible. Then, I used colored pencils, one of Katherine's favorite brain-storming mediums, and went to town. The colored pencils combined with the dried glue to create interesting color dynamics.

Working on this piece helped me get through a thick creative block. New imagery, new materials and having the confidence to take risks is what it's all about. If you or anyone else knows of this weaving, please contact me via this website. The family would just like to know its whereabouts and if it is safe.

Here are some more works from Katherine Kilgore in San Francisco.

“Tapestry for the Blessed Sacrament Shrine” 63” x 42”, 1994 
Collaboration of designer Yael Lurie and tapestry weavers Katherine Kilgore and Jean Pierre Larochette
Location: Saint Mary's Cathedral of the Assumption

This weaving is located in a niche to the left of the main altar at Saint Mary's Cathedral of the Assumption in San Francisco. It was strange to walk into the church and see women praying to the weaving my grandmother worked on. Although I don't consider myself religious (or any religion), I found myself tapping into the energy of the women deep in prayer, and spoke to my grandmother, whom I barely remember. Perhaps the act of praying to something makes it sacred. Some aspects of the weaving (the diamond pattern) remind me of her other works, while others, such as the strange metal orb at the top, are uncharacteristic of her style. Upon leaving, a nice lady who works at the Cathedral handed me a brochure that listed contributing artists. Listed was my grandmother's name. I cried in the parking lot before driving off. This is where they had her memorial service in 1994 when she passed away.

"Reverence, Honor, Trust, Compassion"
Weaving by Katherine Kilgore
Location: Cavalry Church, Filmore Street, San Francisco

This piece is hanging in a meeting room at the Cavalry Presbyterian Church on the top of Filmore Street in San Francisco. It is a huge triptych of the Sun, the Stars and the Heavens. Perhaps the words are the motto of the church. I wonder if the church knows about the importance of UV protection from outside light. I was going to tell the secretary but she looked overwhelmed as it is. If you are reading this, Cavalry people, take into account that the natural dyes in textiles fade without proper UV filtered glass!


Popular Posts