Kathleen Tenpas

When she included in her directions the fact that the barn is painted like a quilt, I knew exactly where she lived, having driven past that barn many times (and wondered about the person who would do such a bold and beautiful thing). If it hadn’t been quite so snowy, I might have gotten a picture of that barn!

She lives with her husband in the farmhouse and has two studios, lucky woman! Downstairs on top of the freezer, next to the windows built to be a greenhouse, she paints fabrics, adding designs with natural objects she has collected and pressed and dried. I was delighted that she let me play!


After tearing pieces of fabric to size, we applied a special heat-sensitive paint.


Then we pleated and tied them in Japanese shibori style.


A second sample was painted, and then we laid dried leaves on top. I had to leave mine behind under the sun lamps (intended for baby plants). Kathleen promises to bring them to me at one of the Women Create events. Can’t wait to see them.


I wonder if my shibori will look anything like this sample she had made before my arrival?

Upstairs is a converted bedroom with lots of storage where she sews and works computer magic.

While the piece she submitted for the Women Create exhibit is a painted fabric collage wonder, I learned as I spent the morning with her that fabric is not her only medium. She is also a photographer, and a wreath-maker, and a poet, and probably a dozen or more things besides. Here are some works she showed me:

When I was in Girl Scouts, I earned the Dabbler Badge – in which you are encouraged to try a lot of things. Kathleen is the ultimate Dabbler. Later, after the buzz of this project dies down, I hope she’ll take me on as an apprentice.

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One Response to Kathleen Tenpas

  1. Kathleen Tenpas says:

    I did earn my Dabbler Badge before I quit!

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