Katie Kameen

Katie Kameen

About The Artist

Katie Kameen • Graniteville, SC

I deconstruct and recompose postconsumer plastics to construct sculptural jewelry. By representing recognizable objects in unrecognizable forms, I create formal abstractions that illustrate personal emotions, relationships, and experiences. As I manipulate my materials, I think about the colors and forms interacting with each other like characters, mirroring human relationships as they merge and separate. My recent work focuses on the meeting points between forms: seams, joints, openings, and overlaps. When exposed, these elements convey a sense of disconnection. With each piece I consider how I feel and act in different situations and locations, and the struggles of trying to acclimate. Deconstructed and rejoined, these abstract forms communicate a simultaneous union and division, culminating in a revitalized identity.


Artist website

Q&A with the Artist

Tell us how your work is made.

I make my work from used plastic objects like kitchen utensils, children’s toys, and utilitarian plastics. These objects are sourced from thrift stores, garage sales, and donations. In my studio I break them down into component pieces and sort them by size, color, form, and texture. These parts then become the raw materials for my artwork. It is important to my practice that these objects retain some aspect of their individual form, so that viewers can clearly make connections back to their own experiences with similar objects. For this reason, I never alter the color of my materials, and only allow myself to manipulate their forms. I use saws, files, drills, and heat guns to cut, bend, and reshape these forms. By cutting, setting, joining, and overlapping these shapes, I create complex narrative abstractions that reference aspects of personal experiences.

What makes you passionate about the medium you work with?

I have always been interested in re-using objects, both in my personal life and in the studio. As an artist, discovering new uses for found materials is continually exciting and engaging. Beyond the ethical and environmental benefits of avoiding new materials, exclusively using pre-existing objects is an ongoing creative challenge. I initially focused on a niche subset of found objects—plastics from the 1960’s to the 2000’s—finding inspiration in the wide range of shapes, colors, and textures. I have since also found inspiration in the material itself. There is a nostalgia to plastic, as the feel and weight of plastic is ingrained in my memory. There is also an inherently childlike playfulness to colorful plastic objects. Paired with the impact that plastics have had on our environment, these materials allow me to speak about a wide range of emotional and social issues.

What is something unique about you or your practice?

One of the most unique aspects of my work is the novelty of a handcrafted plastic object. Generally, we are only familiar with mass-produced plastics made quickly by thermoforming or injection molding. Because of my materials, it is often assumed that my work is also cast in some way. Instead, I cut plastic by hand and reassemble the pieces with reclaimed plastic thread. Only my earrings and rings require glue, while all of my larger works are assembled with fully reversible methods.