Catherine Reinhart is an interdisciplinary artist from Ames, IA. Reinhart creates fiber work and conducts social practice with abandoned textiles around themes of domestic labor, connection, and care. She received her MFA - Textiles from the University of Kansas and a BFA - Integrated Studio Arts at Iowa State University. Reinhart exhibits locally, nationally and internationally. She has exhibited at the Department of Land Economy, Cambridge University and Cambridge Artworks, Cambridge, UK, and the Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence, KS. Reinhart has been selected as a presenter at “Mending and Making Workshop” organized by the Endangered Material Knowledge Programme at the British Museum.
Her works are in collections at the University of Mississippi and Kyoto Keika University, Kyoto, Japan. Reinhart is the recipient of numerous grants and residencies, including the Iowa Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, and Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts. Reinhart was recently honored as an Iowa Artist Fellow (2020), a Terrain Exhibitions Artist-in-Residence in Springfield, IL (2021), a recipient of the Alex Brown Foundation’s Artist-in-Residence in Des Moines, IA (2022), and an Artist-in-Residence at the West Cork Arts Center in Ireland (2023/2024).
I am an interdisciplinary artist who makes fiber art, sculpture, and conducts socially engaged projects with abandoned textiles. These works center on the themes of domestic labor, connection, and care. Caregiving girds up our society and is based largely on the undervalued labor of women. Tending to one’s family and community is built on consistent, repetitive actions which provide comfort, ease suffering, and connect us with our fellow man.
Mending and stitching by hand parallel these tending actions. By using them, I join the emerging discourse on the unseen contributions of women and mothers to our social fabric and the contemporary art world. Through the reuse of found textiles and ritualistic processes, I communicate the transformative power of caregiving, specifically in the areas in which I have labored; childcare and care for the elderly.
As artist and mother, I am both archivist and field hand, creating studies in the accretion of domestic life and cataloging its labors. I disassemble, reconfigure, and alter abandoned textiles. Elaborate hand-embroidered text is camouflaged into existing textile patterns, echoing the hidden labors of motherhood. Stratums of fiber in my sculptures reference sedimentary layers and the state of my laundry pile. I map the territory of my home-place with the visual language of topographic maps.
I am also interested in the point at which motherhood becomes untenable; exploring anxiety, the limitations of maternal labor, and the baggage of inherited possessions. With these works, I join the growing ranks of a constellation of new artist-mothers giving voice to the maternal and domestic experience.
Recently, my socially engaged projects rely on the communal actions of mending together. With my work, I contribute to relevant and timely discussions reframing the value of care and connection to our neighbors and our possessions. I give voice and hold space for stories of repair, loss, and kinship.