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Meet the Artist: Kelsey Anilee Smith

Updated: May 31, 2023

Stitching her way through the wildflowers.

Kelsey Anilee Smith grew up in Geauga County, Ohio and now lives a little further South in Reminderville. The forests and fields have called to her from a young age, and she spent much of her youth wandering the wild places of Northeast Ohio. Though she has been creating art for as long as she can remember, she has more recently connected her artistic skills with her long-time love of native plants and the heirloom vegetables harvested in her garden. Kelsey’s background in museums brings a love of history that inspires her use of vintage pieces and traditional sewing methods in unusual ways. She uses techniques like sashiko, embroidery, and needle-turn applique to create tapestries that incorporate linen, cotton, wool, silk, and vintage textiles. Originally a painter, she still paints, and loves to work with gouache and inks, even by adding these paints to the textile pieces before stitching them into place. Our past is complex, but Kelsey’s melding of old and new, of man-made patterns with the images of the natural world asks us to ponder how these things might be redeemed together. Perhaps our built places, rather than being condemned or demonized, might be made better if we let the wild things break through in places. When looking at Kelsey’s pieces you will see flowers bursting from quilt squares, or shadows of stems layering over antique coverlet pieces, reminding us that the complex layers of our past, when you step back, might become beautiful after all.

"Through the use of textiles, my work hopes to connect people with native plants. I use mainly repurposed and vintage materials to create wall hangings using traditional techniques like quilting, applique and embroidery to bring native plants to life. Any new fabrics I use are often painted by hand before being incorporated. I also use gouache watercolors to paint native flowers. I do some gouache on paper as well, and most of my artwork is under 20" x 36", usually smaller."

Mediums: Textiles, Ink, Watercolor, Gouache, Cyanotype

Featured in our local venue at Tame Rabbit Coffee June 5 - August 28, 2023.

Her work is also available at Peninsula Village Antiques in Peninsula, Ohio.

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