Lisa Teller Kattenbraker is a Washington-based artist who works in batik, an Indonesian process that uses dye to create intricate, richly colored textiles. She begins her process with white cotton, then uses local beeswax to control which areas of the fabric receive dye. The results are her vibrant canvases, many of which can take months to make.
“It was my kids that really changed my approach to art,” she says. “When my son was about 3, we’d draw together. He’d make these cool creatures and tell me stories about them. I’d draw in response to what we were creating together. They started out as stick figures. It was a way for me to process motherhood and the changes in my life.”
Later on, Kattenbraker’s daughter told her that her stick figure needed clothes, which caused her to re-think her work again. The result has been a series of images that show people interacting with the world around them. For the Bayou City Art Festival, where Kattenbraker is this year's featured artist, her images are a series of hot air balloons.
One of Houston’s most popular events, the biannual festival rolls into Memorial Park this weekend, bringing with it art, music, food, and fun for both the first date and stroller crowds. The 47th annual event showcases the work of more than 300 artists from all over the country working in all media: jewelry, painting, watercolor, digital photography, leather, metal, wood, and more.
Kattenbraker has participated in the festival before, and she loves the chance to reconnect with what she calls her “artist family,” the group of artists who migrate from art show to art show and overlap with each other across the years.
Carrie Clevenger, the festival's artist relations director, says Kattenbraker stood out among the competition to be this year’s artist in residence. “We always look for pieces that catch our eye,” she says of the selection process. “Lisa has been to our festival in the past, and, in addition to being a wonderful artist, she’s a warm, lovely person. Her work, when you see it in person, is just striking.”
And while she appreciates the praise, Kattenbraker is mostly concerned with what festival goers will think: “As artists, we create something, but it doesn’t end when we put it in a frame or on a wall. It keeps growing. I'm so curious about what people see when they look at it.”
Bayou City Art Festival Memorial Park, March 23–25. Tickets $12. Memorial Park, 6501 Memorial Dr. 713-521-0133. More info and tickets at artcolonyassociation.org.