Interview with a Capstone student: Kacie Smith

Kacie’s reserved nature belies her bold style sense. She has a quiet intensity that comes through in her bright and graphic textiles. Her sense of color and her ability to create a mood out of her fabrics is unmatched. Read on for Kacie’s description of her experience working with textiles and of her time with us in Textile Design. Interested in following Kacie’s journey? You can find her on her website, designkacie, and on Instagram as @designkacie. Check out Kacie’s capstone collection here.

How did you choose Textile Design as a major?

I started my first year of college as a Graphic Design major after taking art classes throughout high school, but I quickly started to feel like I was going to be missing too much tactility in my work. During my first semester, Maddie Halsey, one of the Textile Design alums, did a presentation about the major in one of my classes.  I was amazed by her jacquard woven fabrics and the idea of creating functional art was really intriguing to me.  After the presentation, I reached out to Maddie to tour the studio and learn more about the program.  I changed my major a few days later and have loved it since!

Do you have a background in design or textiles?

I took art classes all throughout high school so I have a lot of background in art, but not necessarily design before college. My grandmother taught me to crochet for a while when I was a kid, and while it didn’t really stick with me at that point, I like to credit that as the real beginning of my textile journey.

Are there any techniques in textile design you’d like to explore further?

I’d like to explore everything further, especially hand weaving and natural dyes. Right now those are the things that speak to me most.  I also want to keep exploring knitting so I can continue to progress in that craft as well.

What do you have on your loom today?

Right now I am working on my Capstone project. My collection is inspired by the sun, the sky, and the Earth- all of the things that have kept me inspired throughout the pandemic and the last school year.  Right now I’m working on a few more hand wovens to finish up my collection!

How does your personal aesthetic influence your design work? Do you think it should?

My personal aesthetic influences my design work a lot. Especially in print design, my work tends to use a lot of solid outlines, bold shapes, and black because those are elements I like to use in my art.  I think it’s important for designers to let their own style influence their design work because it keeps things unique.  When designers lose their artistic roots, designs all start to look the same.

What kind of music do you listen to in your headphones?

Artists like Phoebe Bridgers, Bright Eyes, and Tegan and Sara. I also listen to true crime podcasts a lot when I work.  Most of my hand wovens have been made while listening to an episode of Crime Junkie or Small Town Murder.

What will you miss the most about the Jefferson Textile Design department once you graduate?

The thing I’ll miss the most about Jefferson is the community we have in our department. Having such a supportive and close-knit group of peers has made my whole college experience comfortable and easy, and I’m forever grateful for that!

Where do you see design intersect with other parts of your life that you hadn’t noticed before going through this program?

I look at things a lot more closely now than I did before! I constantly stop to look at things up close, trying to figure out their structures or what techniques were used to make them.

What is the most challenging aspect of being a designer?

For me, the most challenging thing is learning to think like a designer instead of an artist sometimes. I have a strong sense of style that I love working with, and going through design school has helped me to use that style effectively in my work.

What is your favorite thing about Textile Design?

My favorite thing about Textile Design is that it gives me a way to make art while also creating something tangible and useful. I don’t like being wasteful so the idea of making art just for the sake of it isn’t always practical to me.  Textile design lets me make art that has another purpose in addition to beauty.



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