Revelstoke metal smith artist Kat Cadegan credits her tree planting background for her giving her the ability to produce the same piece multiple times in her art studio. It’s a good thing too, as she is currently in the midst of her busiest time of year, with Christmas and other winter holidays fast approaching.
“It gets overwhelmingly busy because I always want to please people and I want to say yes I can do that, but already I’m like I can’t do anymore custom work,” said Cadegan.
While Cadegan says she was always artistic, it wasn’t until she started working with metal that she really found her creative niche. In 2006, she spent six months in India learning more about the artform. “That’s where I did my first metal smithing workshop and just really realized this is what I really wanted to do and pursue,” she said. “I think for me it was the ability to take the idea into metal and make it into a tangible object, but also metal is very forgiving — you can move it one way and you can move it back.”
Cadegan is also able to combine her metal smithing with her background in forestry, with much of her inspiration coming from nature.
“I think that definitely comes from the fact that all through university I was tree planting to pay for university, and then I was tree planting to pay for travel, and I’ve just spent so much time in the woods and the forest always collecting mossy sticks, bones,” said Cadegan. “I’m just a magpie when it comes to collecting things. My eyes are always looking, thinking, what would that look like in metal. My pockets are always filled with little things to try.”
Those nature-themed inspirations come from just about everywhere, including the community garden at the Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre. Cadegan recently finished completing pieces that were inspired by dill growing in the garden.
“I’m constantly picking up pieces and ideas,” she said.
Other inspirations have included sea fans, as well as branches she found while surveying a cut block in the Cache Creek area. She had been looking for branches for years, but felt those she was finding would not translate well into metal. While working in Cache Creek she found the perfect branches all within a 20 meter radius.
Cadegan continues to foreman a planting crew each spring, as a way to take a break from art, and also because she loves being outside. “It just feeds that part of my brain where I need to be outside and get ideas,” she said.
Travel is also a huge inspiration for Cadegan, who plans to head to Indonesia for Christmas.“I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’m sure it’s going to be some form of inspiration. I’m going there with an open mind and they have such a rich tradition over there so I just want to go watch see and learn,” she said.