A day in the life of....an artist, author & slow fashion advocate
I discovered Katrina Rodabaugh on a journey through the endless vortex that is Instagram. Her Sashiko mending pictures caught my eye (https://www.instagram.com/katrinarodabaugh/) and then I realized how incredibly talented she is in a multitude of arts...as well as being a mother. I couldn't wait to read about her day!
Tell us who you are, and what you do.
I’m an artist and author. I use traditional crafting techniques to explore social and environmental issues and most recently, since August 2013, this has taken shape as a slow fashion project. It started with a yearlong fashion fast, Make Thrift Mend, where I abstained from any new clothing for one year to focus on making simple garments, supporting secondhand shops, and teaching myself to mend my clothing. At the time I was writing my first book, The Paper Playhouse, prepping a solo art exhibition in Oakland, CA and tending to my toddler but the Make Thrift Mend project stole my heart. More than three years later, and another toddler and a cross-country move to a 200-year-old farmhouse in NY, it’s the center of my studio work. I teach mending workshops, I write and advocate for slow fashion, I organize public events, and I continue to experiment with natural dyes, mending, and otherwise adding meaning to my slow fashion wardrobe.
What’s a typical day in the life for you?
There really is no typical day anymore. Since having our second son and moving to our old farmhouse in the Hudson Valley it seems that each day brings its own priorities and surprises. Snow days, school closures, toddler colds, and changing work deadlines aside—my typical rhythm means rising early and getting my 5-year-old off to kindergarten and my 2-year-old off to morning preschool. If all goes well and everybody is where they should be then I work in my studio or on my computer until 11:30 when I pick-up the little one from preschool.
We come home, eat lunch, play a bit, and then he takes an afternoon nap. I go back to my computer or other quiet work while he sleeps and then around 3:30 my older son comes home from school on the bus. The little guy wakes up. We have a snack. If it’s nice outside we all go out to the backyard to frolic or if it’s freezing we stay by the woodstove and read books or build blocks or play with trucks until it’s time for dinner. Then my husband comes home and we all settle in for a few hours before early bedtime routines. And then I might go back to my computer again once the kids are asleep, or maybe I’ll curl up with a book, or join my husband for a movie.
But this can all change in a heartbeat when school is canceled, kids are sick, or certain project deadlines draw near and then I put everything on hold until that moment passes. Being a working mom, working from home, and tending to small children is not for everyone. It’s often unpredictable and typically needs flexibility as the general rule. But I find that I actually thrive in this dual role of mom and working artist—one offers a balance to the other and together they make me more astute, more empathetic, and more efficient than I ever imagined. They are the two most important things in my life—being a mom and being a working artist—and I can’t really imagine it any other way. So, ultimately, I’m incredibly grateful for this busy, beautiful time in my life.