Kat O’Sullivan is my Freak of the Week and Boy-Howdy!
My memory was failing me, while trying to remember how we first met, so I asked for her recollection and this is what she wrote back:
I remember how we met!
I was a streetvendor in NYC, long before etsy....and every once in a while someone would wander by and see my stuff and say "do you know Crispina?"....
and I would say no....and then it happened enough times that i got to be like, "ok, who is this crispina person? and why does everyone say my stuff looks just like hers?"
And then one day i was driving thru millerton (NY) and i met Johnathan Bee...and he was all excited, like "oh my god you have to meet crispina you would love crispina crispina is great i will call her right now you two should totally meet..." and before the end of the sentence he had called you and left a message on your voicemail...
About a year after that i stumbled upon your shop on etsy...and i was like, "ah-haaaaaaa! THAT is crispina!" and so i wrote you an etsy convo...and you were nice. And then sometime later you offered to sell me some sweaters, and so i drove up to pittsfield and the rest is history.
It all came clearly back to me as I read her response. It reminded me that our physical meeting was not the beginning of our connection but a more recent chapter in our story, as you will see. And as far as Jonathan Bee is concerned – well, he is another one – a freak of a different week. We’ll get there.
We both use our first names (or close, Kat uses Katwise) as our business names, make wares that are nothing short of magical from used sweaters and have been doing it for a long time. We both started selling our wares as teenagers out of backpacks at festivals and we both are still doing it – full-tilt-boogie – and loving it, even after all these years. We share a love of color and wool and the freedom we have garnered working our conjured up jobs as artists. We are the originals. While sharing many curious life/work traits, the fruit of our hands is easily established as individual - unmistakably our own. We both have inspired many with our creative endeavors and have commiserated about how to make that, best serve us. (Seems like we have it figured out!)
A couple weeks ago, Lucy, Violet and I took a fieldtrip over to Kat’s abode just outside Kingston, NY and had an enchanted visit. She made us tea, we chatted, played with her collection of interesting oddities from all over the world, and frolicked in the yard. Lucy set to work making nests with pine needles and branches while Kat took Violet for a big swing. Kat showered us with unexpected gifts – better than Christmas! Lucy and Violet each traveled home with new (used) horsies to add to our farm play collection. All three of us found ourselves shining rainbows all inside the car on our sunny ride home. Our new sparkly star necklaces encrusted with glitter and crystals added some of Kat’s magic to our trip home.
For those of you familiar with her work, you might have seen pictures of her colorful house, psychedelic school buses, and flamboyant wares. Kat’s workspace was surprising and inspiring to see. While a chaotic whirl of color envelopes Kat’s very existence, her workroom is white – a rest for the senses. She is super-tidy and organized. There were no piles of scrap material or mountains of bits waiting in the wings. As a virgin visitor, it was rather unbelievable to this kindred spirit. A real life image of something I have been striving to create in my life as I muck through the mountains in my workspace – working towards tidy, organized, minimal space. Witnessing Kat’s pristine workspace-reality changed my dream to a goal.
She is prolific, every aspect of her life appears full, to the brim, with her bohemian path. A giant map covers an entire wall in her Marrakesh-esque sitting room. A fake plastic hand reaches Lucy’s toes from beneath the couch as she scurries past. Kat’s Ship Wreck Victim costume on a dress form, from last year’s Coney Island Mermaid Parade greets guests at the front door. The good humor and happy color-filled life is balanced with a touch of creepy and a heavy dose of harmless mischief. Thanks for having us Kat. We look forward to our next path crossing. If you are back from your travels to Kazakhstan maybe you can come to the Alchemy Initiative Earth Day Gypsy Caravan.