This is a continuation of September’s Artist Spotlight on Kathy Boettcher. The first section of the spotlight can be found in our printed issue.
When some artists set out to create their next masterpiece, they stick to one idea with unshakeable determination, chiseling away at each aspect of the piece like the old masters with a block of marble. For others, they might release all control entirely, letting the art come to them like Pollock’s drip paintings. Kathy Boettcher’s process falls somewhere in between, falling into place as pieces gradually come together. “I’ll usually start with a drawing. I’m always drawing,” she said, laughing. “I’ll catalogue those pieces and go through the images I already have when I’m starting a new piece. Sometimes I’ll use two or three images or just settle on one. Once I pick the drawings, I’ll work the pattern around them… my whole life is about art and it’s nice to share your gifts and your outlook on things. Mine’s quirky and goofy and it’s really fun to see. A lot of my work has humorous aspects to it. I think puns and dad jokes are my favorite.”
Sometimes, the source of inspiration is much more definitive and set in stone, as it frequently is with Boettcher’s commissioned works. Pets are frequently the subject of the commissions, giving Boettcher a clear figure that is then translated to the ceramic depiction. Describing the process of working with others on her art, Boettcher said, “It’s really cool because you’re given these guidelines, and then you kind of get to take the artistic lead. They’ll give me a portrait of their pet and then I’ll work with them on picking a color scheme. You’re given a starting point and then you get to run with it. It’s one of the things that I really like.” Commissions usually make up about 25% of Boettcher’s work, but that figure can go as high as 50% when winter comes around.
Arts have experienced a recent revival in the Fox Cities, but functional mediums like Boettcher’s ceramics still offer their own set of unique challenges. When asked about misconceptions people might have about her art, Boettcher said, “I think a lot of people get confused about the art because it’s fine art, but it’s also functional. Some people think they can just go to a store and get a mug for $5, but they don’t realize how much work goes into each individual mug.” Boettcher’s work, usually in the form of plates, bowls, or mugs, allows for art and creativity to enter yet another part of daily life for Fox Valley art fans, whether they’re regular gallery-goers or people looking for unique additions to their kitchen cupboards. Each work is its own unique statement, allowing for inspiration and creativity to go beyond the walls of a gallery and into kitchens, dining rooms and all aspects of daily life in the Fox Cities. For more information on Kathy and Kaffers Illustration (her working brand), check out her Facebook page.