[This is one post in a series of twelve posts designed to feature a wildly creative and exciting group of crafters and artisans. Please take a moment to visit the shop featured in this post and all the shops featured on the left and right hand sidebars of my blog. You'll have the opportunity to learn about two fabulous shops a week - just in time to get all of your holiday shopping done. Enjoy!]
My personal quest to find queer crafters through Etsy and other venues has proved...frustrating. There are a number of queer people out there, and many of them craft, but I think that the disconnect resides in the place where they can't quite draw a connection between crafting something and how it's integrated into their queer identity. For me, crafting and domesticity are interlinked in a number of ways...the act of engaging this classically feminine side of my gender is both a wonderful treat and a frustrating experience, because in so many other ways I cannot be pegged down to a simplified interpretation of feminine or female. This is why it is so important for me to honor and embrace queer crafters and artists; the experience is so profoundly unique that allowing our work to blend into the mainstream does its uniqueness a grave disservice.
Katie Kaapcke, a San Francisco based artist, exemplifies this boundary-crossing, gender-leaping approach to creativity. Her line of prints, stationery, fine art pieces and ACEO cards are full of intelligence, humor, self-reflection (and deprecation) and cautious hope. Bolstered by a firm foundation of nerdiness and dorkitude, dear kiki... is simultaneously quirky and uncomfortable, funny and chest-tightening. For women who were girls and neither pretty nor hip, her pieces validate you in ways that most things don't. Katie also embraces a strong whimsical, silly and cute aesthetic with her work, especially in her ACEO cards and her brand new line of mustaches on sticks. Deer, glitter, owls and foxes - these are perfect gifts to slip into birthday cards and into stockings or just little notes to say hello. The dear kiki... collection is rounded out with signed prints and limited editions pieces that run the gamut from jarring commentary on invisibility to the beauty of nature and one's relationship with it and around it. All in all, there is a brave and exciting realness to that which Katie creates.
Katie blogs regularly at Kiki and posts sales and special offers in her Etsy shop often. Constantly creating and innovating her work, she is both an inspiration to young queer artists as well as to people new to the art world and looking for something to which they can connect. Honest and fresh, I ask you dear readers to support fabulous queer artists like dear kiki... by sharing and acquiring her art. Active with a number of local and national teams, committed to cruelty free craftmanship and constantly evolving, dear kiki... is one to watch and a wonderful complement to a holiday that wanders down the path less traveled.