Kelley Knickerbocker

Operation Smile

Kelley Knickerbocker A native of Seattle, Washington, Kelley Knickerbocker has been a fulltime artist since 2006, when she left a 22-yr administrative career at the University of Washington to found Rivenworks Mosaics and begin designing/fabricating/installing mosaic artwork for public, commercial, residential and gallery environments. Kelley’s ruggedly dimensional mosaic artworks are a textural distillation of her fascination with contrast, material properties and the technical challenges of mosaic construction, and garnered her the 2015 Innovation in Contemporary Mosaic award from the American Society of Mosaic Artists. Her work is widely collected and regularly exhibited in the US and abroad. In addition to her studio practice, Kelley travels the world speaking, collaborating, participating in residencies/symposia, photographing odd insignificance, and teaching in-depth workshops on mosaic style and technique. Go on, invite her. She’ll come.
I expend a lot of energy trying to impose order on the chaos of my existence, withKelley Knickerbocker varying degrees of success. The process of making art is an extension of that effort. The longer I do it the more I see that this is how the universe teaches me to embrace the unruly, paradoxical, and awkward, and recognize their beauty and necessity. I also spend a lot of time analyzing material properties and their attractions/aversions (both are necessary) to each other. I push them around on the substrate; shaping, scraping, defacing, coating, and grouping them in different ways til I’m certain what their narrative will be. But I’ve learned to hold that certainty lightly, to be willing to let it go, because in the building process the materials surprise me, fight me, and suggest other, better stories they could tell. And on my best days, when my eyes are open and my grip is loosened, I let them.

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