Kathleen Laybourn

I have always been attracted to texture and as a small child, I used my sense of touch to gather information about my world and my place in it. On special occasions, my mother would open her cedar chest that held all of her treasures and would allow me to investigate a few items held within it: my brother’s soft, yellow flannel baby booties, my sister’s baptismal gown, and the most prized object in that wooden box--her wedding dress.
She would carefully unwrap the special paper and would allow me to gently move my fingers over the delicate lace that made up the dress’s outer covering to feel the smoothness of the ivory colored satin buttons that dotted down its front and the delicately stitched loops that held them fast. The under-dress was made entirely of ivory satin. I loved the texture of that garment and touching it conjured up multiple images of being a princess along with fabricated notions of love created by a young mind.
My early experiences of visiting the treasures in that chest have never left me. My more recent memories of those moments and the nostalgia they bring have become the inspiration for the processes I now employ in my practice, and they have also lent focus to the subjects of my work.
An investigation of the culture of being female has preoccupied my work for many years. Sometimes the subject or theme for the work is very direct in its message. Other times, my thoughts, motivations, and personal feelings about the subject are layered and obscured. Whatever the method employed, it is suited to the subject and it directs my process.

The Great Divide, Oil Encaustic on Canvas, 30" x 40"