Open Studio Spotlight: Katie Castillo

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There has been a lot of energy spent redefining “craft” for the 21st century, but in simple terms we might accept it is as the presence of art in everyday, functional objects. Furniture, vessels, and other household items that capture the spirit and quality of things made by hand when there was no other option. You made it because there was no mass-produced option available from a store down the road.

In the work of Katie Castillo, we find that individual handcrafted quality beneath our feet: “I have worked as a Speech Therapist for more than 14 years. I have no formal artistic training, but I have always loved playing with color. I was inspired into rug making by Emily Carr (1871-1945), while I was living in B.C., Canada. I chose rag rugs specifically because they originated in Appalachia, and I was missing my Kentucky roots.”  

“The process I use, called twining, is ancient and calming. I create my rugs on wooden looms which I built myself. My materials are old bed sheets and other fabric, which I tear into pieces and then re-assemble; no sewing required. I love to take a piece out into the community and work on it in public. When I am not in my Art Sanctuary studio, you’ll find me in Shelby Park or sitting down by the river with my friend Mr. Lincoln.” 

“Evil Eye” by Katie Castillo, 44x24in

“Evil Eye” by Katie Castillo, 44x24in

I have fun creating different color combinations and playing with themes, such as ‘Lobster in the Woods’, which is based on my time in the Northwest. ‘Evil Eye’ was inspired by my travels in Turkey. My rugs are available for purchase through 5-0-Lou and Craft(s) Gallery and Mercantile in Louisville, KY.“

All of Castillo’s rugs are 44x24in and typically weigh in at more than 5 pounds.

Katie Castillo is participating in the 2018 Open Studio Weekend, sponsored by Louisville Visual Art and University of Louisville’s Hite Art Institute. His studio, located in the Germantown neighborhood, will be open the weekend of November 3 and 4. Tickets for Open Studio Weekend will go on sale October 16. Click here for more information. 

Hometown: Covington, Kentucky
Education: BS, Biology, University of Louisville, 2002; MS, Communication Disorders, University of Louisville, 2004. 

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Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2018 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved. In addition to his work at the LVA, Keith is also the Managing Editor of a website,, which covers local visual arts, theatre, and music in Louisville.


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