In today’s episode I talk with my friend Cassie Arnold about her work and her journey from navigating frequent rejection to suddenly finding herself needing to be the one to say “no” to opportunities coming her way. I am thrilled that Painting at Night was the first group exhibit to feature Cassie’s fiber work, and it has been amazing to see her career grow in the years since. Cassie is a conceptual artist using fiber as a medium to tell stories, frequently in collaboration with the body. She was recently awarded the Fiber Arts International First Prize as well as the Mother Art Prize. She has a BFA in Visual Arts Studies from the University of North Texas, and spent many years working as an art educator. She lives in Denton, Texas with her husband and her three girls.
We begin our discussion by talking about Cassie’s childhood in rural Texas, and how she tries to bring the same freedom and space for productive boredom that she experienced as a child to her own children’s experience. We talk about how Cassie’s work is an honest portrayal of her mothering that does not shy away from the negative emotions and fears she experiences. She gives insight into the ways she has navigated her fear of backlash from tackling hard topics like school shootings. She shared how she feels that fiber is a perfect medium for easing people with different opinions into conversations about hard, upsetting, and emotionally laden topics.
We wrap up by discussing how Cassie navigates the cyclical nature of weaving together caregiving and her studio practice, and how she works to feel in place within times of extremely demanding studio labor as well as times when actively creating is on pause. I know this conversation will continue to resonate with me for a long time as Cassie’s work, her honesty, and her desire to open up space to collectively face difficult things are so needed in this moment.
Biggest Art Crush: Tanya Aguiñiga
Dream Trip: Edinburgh or Ireland
Film or book: Knitting as Dissent Female Resistance in America since the Revolutinary War
Favorite meal: Fancy cheese platter, red wine, and local bread
Shoutout: Lisa Alberts
To see more of Cassie’s work please visit her website and follow her on IG @cassiearnoldfiberart
The Artist/Mother podcast is created and hosted by Kaylan Buteyn. You can see more of Kaylan’s work on her website or connect with her on Instagram @kaylanbuteyn