Kaythi is a Toronto-based textile artist working at the intersection of craft tradition, dissemination and pedagogy. Inheriting a practice that is matrilineal in nature, Kaythi draws from and expands on the teachings of family, friends, and lovers. Her practice explores everyday repetitive tasks and their relationships to larger power structures; by slowly rug hooking and knitting, she uses craft as a social and pedagogical tool to create space in order to share stories, knowledge, and disagreement across difference. Her most recent work investigates the generative qualities of failure.
Kaythi holds a BFA in Printmaking from OCAD University (2017) but doesn’t print anymore. She is proud to carry on an iconic Albertan lesbian history and misses the prairie sky.
Why did you get involved in this project?
I was temporarily laid off during the shutdown and also had some upcoming engagements postponed—I needed something to do! Video is a fairly new part of my practice and I was excited to have a structure in which to experiment with my unexpected downtime this spring.
Did the one week turn-around for the work help or hinder your creativity?
The one week turn around definitely really helped. I tend to overthink and get a little bit stuck in my own head, especially when I am working with something I am less comfortable or familiar with. Having a tight deadline kept me pragmatic in terms of what I could accomplish and really helped with the “perfectionist” mindset I can sometimes get stuck in, while also being enough time to experiment and try things I hadn’t done before.
How did you feel about working on a project where you didn’t know who you were collaborating with?
It was very nerve wracking at first but in the end I found it a very rewarding way to work. I edited footage for all projects that I worked on, and not knowing who my collaborators were kept me from guessing too much at all possible intentions and readings of the work that I was sent and what would follow. One of my collaborators was someone I had met in passing a few years ago and that was a fun surprise at the end of the project.
Has being involved in the project changed your thoughts on creativity?
I think it has reinforced some things I already knew but, as one does, I definitely needed reminding—that creativity is the result of consistent and daily (or almost daily) work; that it is better to make something “bad” than nothing at all; that it is better to try something new and risk failure than only doing things that are safe.
If you worked on several videos, what kept you coming back for more and how many did you do?
I worked on four videos altogether and edited for all of them. I really enjoyed the challenge of not knowing what kind of footage I would get (and what would happen with it afterwards). I was also really lucky to get to work on a couple of projects that were related to some of my research interests and that really motivated me to keep going.