The Landscapes—Real and Imagined—That Inspire Soft Century’s Vibrant Textiles
After finding her calling in the wonderful world of textiles, Katherine Entis decided to merge her two great loves: knitting and abstract painting, with throw blankets and pillows that should very much be put on display. But Katherine creates straight-up framed textile art for her line Soft Century, too. Much like her early paper illustrations, Katherine’s current work is influenced by everything from cross-country road trips to the not-so-natural landscapes in her favorite sci-fi and fantasy worlds. “If I start to feel stuck in a certain area or I keep repeating the same idea, I’ll often go to a movie or a book for inspiration and really try to use a different part of my brain and see it with new eyes,” she says. Below, some of her starting points.
“As I built up more skill around the technique and was able to do more complex compositions, I started to think about landscapes found in sci-fi. Especially the book Dune. I didn’t realize this, but Frank Herbert wrote a lot of the landscape based on the sand dunes in Oregon, which is pretty cool. My boyfriend and I took a trip out to the dunes two years ago, and it was beautiful.”
“I recently read The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin. In it, there are many other worlds where the climate is really extreme. Some are barely habitable or on a spectrum from super cold and desolate to a desert. In another of her books, The Left Hand of Darkness, there is a frozen landscape with cool tones that play into some of my paintings.”
“I was a big fan of Looney Tunes growing up—specifically the space the Road Runner runs in. It seems like he’s running forever, and the background doesn’t seem to change—or it looks like the road goes on forever. To get similar colors, I started sourcing yarn from dyers who use small-batches. I was excited because that also gave me a lot more textures to work with.”
“One film I look to is Gerry by Gus Van Sant. It’s about these two guys who go camping and get lost. They just keep getting more and more lost. The movie is really slow and has huge expansive shots of the mountains, showing how they’re surrounded by empty space. The striking visuals in that movie had a huge effect on me.”
“A few years ago, I drove across the country from Providence, Rhode Island, to Portland, Oregon, and saw firsthand, up-close, and slowly how big this country is and how diverse the landscape is. In this work, I was thinking about how the light hits the mountains at different times of day, all these beautiful transitions we have out here from the water to the mountains to the forest to the desert.”