Sketchbook: Katherine Miller

Katherine's collaboration with Alexis Spina 355 at Dodd Galleries.
Katherine Miller’s collaboration with Alexis Spina at Dodd Galleries, University of Georgia.
Katherine Miller at Big Bend National Park
Katherine Miller at Big Bend National Park in Texas.

Katherine Miller is a printmaker and sculptor from St. Louis, Missouri. Through her print- and book arts-based work, she references the handwritten letter to explore themes of slowness, distance, embodiment, and emotional intimacy.

In her sketchbooks, she collects things she doesn’t want to forget. She uses her sketchbook as a notebook, planner, and a way to get ideas out of her head and into a physical form. She calls it her “catch all space.” After they are filled, her sketchbooks become a representation of a period of time.

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Katherine's stack of hand-bound sketchbooks.
Katherine’s stack of hand-bound sketchbooks.

In her finished work, she makes objects that reference written correspondence to consider presence and emotional intimacy. She explores the material intimacy of the letter, a medium of communication that is not immediate. She feels that it is a unique stage for considering presence, absence, embodiment, and longing.

The handwritten letter, the note, the item sent specifically from one person to another, bears many qualities that facilitate presence when held in tension with absence and distance:

  •             the material markings of the sender’s presence
  •             the time it takes to craft the letter or object
  •             the delay between sending and receiving
  •             the distance between sender and receiver

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Her work’s visual reference to personal written communications ranges from very direct – a page of handwritten text and an envelope side by side – to peripheral – strips of handwritten notes receding into space. In all of these, the handmade item in the context of the letter is a giving of oneself, of herself. Her material choices, attention to craft, and her use of her own handwriting are all distinct signifiers of human presence. In her sketchbooks, the way Katherine works out her ideas, organizes her thoughts, and gets her ideas closer to a physical form is made visible.

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Miller received her BFA from Southeast Missouri State University  in 2014, and has exhibited and participated in residency programs nationally and internationally. She is currently an MFA candidate in Printmaking + Book Arts at the University of Georgia, where we met.

CC Calloway received her BFA from the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia in May 2017. She is a 2017-18 WonderRoot Walthall Fellow. 

Detail of a finished work by Katherine Miller



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