Katie Runnels is a constant gatherer. Her artwork (collage, assemblage and combine painting) emerges from the conjuring that occurs between the discovery of found objects and the stories they compel her to tell. Her works are never planned or sketched and usually begin with a vision inspired by something that delights or intrigues her, from a simple color scheme, a compelling line of text, a photograph, or a vintage found object. Not given to verbal storytelling without confusion and a few hiccups, Runnels relies instead on her more intuitive ability to reflect, rearrange, and layer to convey her narrative. Her art and domesticity are inseparable; oftentimes a found treasure will cajole its way from her living room to her artwork. Runnels finds the subtext of decor and her own “nesting” instinct a fascinating theme, one that humbly recognizes the historical contributions of industrious and creative women. Her works address family, motherhood, daughterhood, homesickness, Southern living, domesticity, finding peace in the natural world, and the alchemy that dwells within antique found objects and the handmade.
Katie Runnels received her M.F. A. from Savannah College of Art and Design in 2003. Later that year she co-created shopSCAD where she served as Artistic Director until 2006. Originally from Fayetteville, Arkansas, she now lives in Indianapolis, Indiana. Her artwork, tutorials, design ideas, and editorial work have appeared in numerous magazines and blogs of note including, Martha Stewart Weddings, Better Homes and Gardens, Design*Sponge, Craft Stylish, Decor8, Poppytalk, Creature Comforts, and Mary Engelbreit. Katie's work was also featured in Appliqué Your Way (2009) by Kayte Terry and Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook (2012) by Cheryl and Griffith Day.
My love of arts and crafts began with my mother’s example as a painter and creative homemaker. The various handicrafts of my grandmothers and aunts, not always appreciated while growing up, are now some of my most beloved treasures. I work in several different media including paint, textiles, found-object sculpture, ceramics and collage, much the same as the women in my family before me. My love of handmade objects, vintage design, nostalgia and homespun details inspire my graphic design aesthetic and are the basis for everything I create.
MFA Painting, Savannah College of Art and Design 2004
BA Art, University of Arkansas, 2000
Theater, Emerson College 1995-1997
it’s impossible to mention shop scad without talking about its former art director: katie runnels. katie was responsible for the interior design and decoration of shopscad and proposed the original design concept for their website, as well as curating fine art submissions, styling website photography, and creating artwork and design concepts for promotional materials.
in addition to the amazing work katie did for shopscad, she’s done equally amazing work on her own, through her studio, the constant gatherer. katie is primarily a mixed media artist whose collage-style sculptures have become a big hit on sites like etsy and poppytalk handmade. she has a real knack for combining found objects (which are often vintage) and turning them into beautiful sculptures, vignettes, and yarn wreaths.
for me, katie’s work represents a powerful segment of the young southern artist community. she and her counterparts have a great respect for the art, objects and traditions of the past and always seem to find creative ways to work these actual objects and fragments into their contemporary work. i personally love katie’s use of non-traditional accents like vintage scrabble letters and vintage millinery flowers, but her work is so wonderfully varied that there’s always something for everyone.
-Grace Bonney, Design*Sponge guest blogger for Knack Studios, March 2009.