Artist Information for Kathy Nida

I’ve always made art. For years I was a printmaker, until the siren call of fabric took me under the surf. I’ve worked in fabric for 25 years now, using traditional techniques of hand appliqué and embroidery from the crazy quilt mentality in combination with fused appliqué, machine quilting, and painting and drawing on fabric. I have been exhibited in gallery shows since I was 16 years old. My work has been published in catalogs and has traveled more than I have. I do this instead of sleeping. It seems more important.

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Disrupted70.5 x117   Photo by Gregory Case

There are something like 60,000 miles of blood vessels in the adult human body. That makes 60,000 miles of places to get stuck, of possible dead ends or no-U-turns, of plain old traffic jams, of getting lost and never found. When the pathways get disrupted, some hide in denial, even duck and cover; some stand tall and face upheaval; some run, racing away from whatever hurtles towards them. I draw the disruption. I draw what hides, what stands, what runs…whether it’s out in the world, in my face, or deep inside. If you were to ask me to explain this piece, to detail the meanings hidden within, I would not be able to…but I know it was a disruption (in this case, a welcome one) and it carries in it much of the real-life chaos that is my current existence.

Fully Medicated

Fully Medicated55" h x 34" w  

I’m diabetic. I take a lot of medications to deal with health issues, and it kind of gives me the creeps swallowing all those pills. I worry about my liver, my kidneys. It almost feels like I’m not human with all those substances trickling through me, like someone else is taking the meds and I am just the vessel. I’d like to take control of the situation and just stop.

Not Less Than

Not Less Than 64” w x 74” h   Photo by Gary Conaughton

When you ask me what matters, what’s important, I can think of many things. But in light of the current American political climate, what matters most to me are women’s rights.

There have been so many challenges to our rights over the years. We have fought for them before, argued for the right to own property, to be treated equally, to vote, to live on our own, to breastfeed in public, to be what we want to be, to use our brains as they were meant to be used, to buy birth control, to control our own bodies. At the core, we have had to continually fight to be able to choose. 

Why is that important to me? Well, I am a woman, one who has challenged others in how we view each other, in how we raise each other, in how we teach each other. I have a daughter who wants to go out and conquer the world, albeit with love and care. I want her to have all the choices she needs. I teach middle school; I see so many girls who believe they have no choices, who are raised to see women as less than men, who can’t see a way out. I want that to be different for them. I want them to see a future full of choices based on what they want and need, not on what parts they are born with.

Women are a significant deciding factor on the planet and we matter. All our varying thoughts, beliefs, and desires matter. The woman in my quilt hears all these different voices in her head, ancestors and descendants telling her what she should care about most. There should be no limits on that. We should be in government, making decisions; we should be on health committees deciding our fates; we should be in charge of companies controlling the medications or treatments we have the right to use. But at the base of all that, our rights matter. Choice matters. Equality matters. We are not Less Than because of our parts, because of a single chromosome. We—women—matter. 

The Goddess of Never-Ending Chaos

The Goddess of Never-Ending Chaos35 ½” w x 46 ½” h   Photo by Gary Conaughton

It seems women, especially mothers and caregivers and teachers, have to be goddesses with a multitude of limbs to manage all the chaos the world throws our way. It’s never-ending, from the moment you first feel the fetus flutter or that pregnant nausea, through the lack of sleep, the utter hopelessness when the baby won’t stop crying, through sports and school and drama and learning and the screaming, the love, the last-minute fever, late-night trips to the store for the project they never told you about. The paperwork. The laundry. The money. The love. They move out, but you still have the college bills, the texts, the questions, the reminders that they still need you but you didn’t teach them everything yet. Because you can’t. And then suddenly it’s quiet and the chaos of 18+ years is just gone. 

Earth Mother for Ventura

Earth Mother for Ventura55” w x 64” h   Photo by Gary Conaughton

I think of the earth as this protective mother, circling her creatures, both animal and plant, around her, cradling them in her arms, protecting them in her hair, straddling them with her legs.