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Spotlight:  Cathryn Wood

Kathryn WoodKathryn has lived in Derbyshire for over 35 years, and is very active with the local community, volunteering in the village charity shop and organizing events. After a long and successful career in administration, a major health issue forced her to change her life completely. In 1997 she began a new career, teaching and designing for the art and craft industry. Her introduction to the world of decorative painting was fueled by a class on the One Stoke painting method, taught by Donna Dewberry, and inspiration from her dear friend Helen Cox.

Kathryn soon found herself taking every workshop available, and learned to apply her artistic and administrative skills to becoming a traveling teacher who was in high demand. This led to opportunities to design for the industry and work with TV shopping channels. As life has continued to throw curve balls at her, Kathryn has learned to focus on taking it easy, crafting and painting as she wishes, and enjoying life.

How did you get started painting/crafting?
As a small child I always liked to draw. I think the artistic gene has been passed down, as my grandmother was a tailor and my aunt has a huge talent for sewing. But for me, it was always drawing and painting. I worked full-time in what became a stressful environment, so art and craft was a great way to relax and unwind. When I finished work and decided to paint/craft full time, I trained with just about all the major artists and continued to learn and improve. I was a bit like a sponge soaking up all the knowledge!

What type of painting do you do?
I have dabbled in just about everything, from fine art through to mixed media, polymer clay to paper-crafting, knitting to making paper flowers! So it’s a wide range, but I think you always return to your roots, which in my case is paint.

What has been your biggest challenge?
Learning that I had glaucoma, which was so severe it was actually taking my sight, was not cool for an artist! It meant that I had to move away from the more detailed artwork like portraits, animals, etc. But that led me to complete more mixed media, which for me is wonderful.

When did you start using DecoArt products?
I started using DecoArt products seriously about 10 years ago and have taught with them more or less continuously ever since.

What impact do DecoArt’s products have on your work/life?
They are simply the “go to” product. You can do so much with them. Realistically you create your own rules and your own boundaries! They are affordable so you can make mistakes without worrying about the cost. Also it’s been so good for my own well-being to just lose myself in my artwork. When creating, there simply is no room to think of anything else.

How long have you been a Helping Artist?
For about 10 years or so. I remember Carol Sykes approving my membership, and it was simply a total WOW moment.

What has been your best and brightest moment as a blogger?
Oh, totally seeing the joy on a student’s face when she or he has completed a project. I have taught hundreds of classes and seminars, and it’s still a thrill for me.

What’s your favorite DecoArt product?
I am a real flirt with all the products. I LOVE anything with texture, and of course, American and Traditions paints are fab. But, you know, I am going to go with the boring “workhorse” of the line and that is Multi-Purpose Sealer. It’s a product that you can do so much with. To be fair, it really is the one bottle that stays on my work desk all the time because I know I will use it in virtually every project.

What has been your greatest success, so far?
Success can take many forms: I have been published, done TV work, taught all over the UK and in Holland, designed for the craft industry. But having accomplished this when I am actually profoundly deaf is my greatest success, I think.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
That’s a hard question. I would like to think that I would still be as creative and passionate about my artwork. Perhaps even knuckle down and hold a gallery exhibition, which I have been asked to do so many times. But life always gets in the way for me.

Who is your favorite artist, and why?
I am going to go from one extreme to the other now. I LOVE John Everett Millais; his work is divine, and I could just lose myself in it. But, for the present day, Mr. Finch (such imagination), Jasmine Beckett Griffith (Big eye art), the utterly fabulous Peggy Harris, Cheryl Bradshaw, and Jan McCraw, who taught me loads!

Contact information:
Email: cathryn-wood@sky.com