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Textiles (MA)

Katerina Knight

My Material Memoir: Hands can Heal - Cloth can Care

Drawing upon the natural rhythms of the Earth as a guiding light; working with living materials I have homegrown, locally foraged and collected over time. From the act of growing, through to the process of making I am present, I am patient and I am evolving.

As I draw upon the toxicities I faced working within fashion, I have used the time for a personal challenge, in recovery from illness- slow textile craft becomes my most powerful tool in healing. Each textile exists as an individual artefact. And each work carries a pertinent symbol – a fragment of my restorative journey. Through embodied performance and artistic image creation, the cloth allows me to personally understand and universally express moving through healing. 

These works are imbued with the power to carve out space within and merge between landscapes. They hold a place within art, design and craft. But most importantly hold a place where I exist and create authentically. Through making solely with my hands, these laborious processes demand time. Much like making, healing too is a slow and patient act. This work honours both time and craft that transcends textiles. Displaying the healing of our Earth, and repairing the damage we have inflicted, will, too take time, presence and patience.

Whilst this narrative may be born from a place of darkness, its intent is not to resonate sadness. Rather this is work of empowerment. Work that honours and upholds the temporality of all things in this life.

So let us move together magically, thoughtfully and akin- as one. 

With thanks to Ruby Pluhar. Who journeyed with me. And together the cloth, my body and our Earth came to life in a way I never imagined possible.  

Portrait photo of Katerina Knight wrapped in hibiscus silk hand embroidered with cornflowers. Photo credit: Ruby Pluhar.

Katerina Knight is an English Textile Practitioner: Artist, Maker & Writer. 

She specialises in one-of-a-kind handmade textile artefacts that reimagine traditional techniques of hand embroidery, needlelace and natural dye.

Being trained as a Print Designer at The Glasgow School of Art, Katerina spent time working in luxury fashion. Feeling dissatisfied by the structural systems that uphold the industry, Katerina came to the RCA with the intent to realign her practice; forming a binding thread that intrinsically linked her making to the Earth, with care and compassion. She invites dialogues of healing and spirituality to be shared through slow craft. 

Katerina is a published writer and contributor to Selvedge Magazine. She was awarded a Distinction for her dissertation ‘Cloth of the Earth’, a poetic translation of personal and academic memoir. 


Burberry Design Scholarship - 2021/22 and 2022/23 

Batsford Prize Runner up - 2023

The Textile Society Postgraduate Award  - 2022

The Clothworkers Company 2nd Prize - 2022

The Textile Society Undergraduate Award  - 2019

GsofA Sustainability Funding  - 2019

Handmade needle lace in the shape of a dress. Made from silk and linen, hand threaded with lavender and snow in summer flower
May 2023, 150x 150cm. Silk, linen, lavender and snow in summer. Handmade needle lace of three varieties of lavender, grown on my allotment in Worcestershire, harvested over two summers- 2021 and 2022. Dried and preserved lavender beads are hand threaded on silk and linen. Complete with snow in summer- a sea of white flowers that bloom in the darkness of winter.
Handmade needle lace hanging in woods, held in front of body, looking up
Photo: Ruby Pluhar.
Handmade needle lace in the shape of a dress. Made from silk and linen, hand threaded with lavender and snow in summer flower
The story of 'The Healing Lace'.The ‘dress’ is a symbol of my body, a landscape like the landscape of our Earth in constant transition.
Close up detail and handmade needlelace, silk and linen threaded with lavender. Photographed against a hand.
What began as a tiny seed that sat in the palm of my hand, slowly the cloth was crafted and the textile came to life.
Close up of silk embroidered with dried flowers, layered in front of face. Photo by Ruby Pluhar.
Photo: Ruby Pluhar.
Close up of silk embroidered with dried flowers, layered in front of face. Photo by Ruby Pluhar.
Photo: Ruby Pluhar.
Silk organza dress hand embroidered with dried flora lay flat.
February 2023, 70x150cm. Dried flora on blackberry silk organza.
The Spirit Shawl Katerina Knight Ruby Pluhar
Katerina sat with hands embroidering dried flora onto silk dyed with blackberry.
Forever my spiritual saviour.
Close up of embroidered dried florals on silk. Photo by Ruby Pluhar.
Close up detail of silk fabric hand painted with charcoal and hand embroidered with clematis seed heads.
Detail of 'The Clematis Dress'. Clematis vitalba ‘old mans beard’ collected in Worcestershire over two winters. Transitioning from a pale yellow summer bloom to grey fluffy seed heads in darker months- this invasive plant grows aggressively, destroying other plant life. Here its possessive nature is contrasted with the slowness of hand stitch.
Body photographed moving whilst wearing a silk dress hand painted with charcoal and hand embroidered with clematis seed heads.
Setting myself free, free from control and free from possession.
The Making of 'The Clematis Dress'.Hand-cut silk dress, hand painted with charcoal and hand embroidered with individual seed heads of clematis. Each technique is slow and considered, but repetitive. A set of ritual acts.
Photograph on Katerina Knight moving into pink silk fabric. Hand embroidered with dried florals.
Transitional textiles, growing and evolving.
Large piece of silk organza hand embroidered with dried florals hanging against a black backdrop
The Confession Curtain, May 2023, 70 x 200cm. Dried flora on blackberry silk organza.
A pink silk curtain hand dyed with blackberry. Hand embroidered with florals that transition to dark alder cones at the bottom.
Light florals cascade to dark alder cones at its ground. Hand embroidered onto hand- dyed blackberry silk organza. A transitional textile, life is born from the Earth and life returns to the Earth.
Silk organza scarf embroidered with cornflower petals, photographed layered over arm.
The Cornflower Scarf , February 2023, 120 x 30cm. Cornflower petals on hibiscus silk organza.Cornflowers grown by my Mother, my carer and protector.
Silk shawl embroidered with dried florals hanging in front of body in the woods.
The Spirit Shawl. Photo: Ruby Pluhar.
Purple embroidered silk organza shawl lying in the woods. Photo by Ruby Pluhar.
The Spirit Shawl. Photo: Ruby Pluhar.

Burberry Design Scholar