Do you have specialized skills or knowledge that you would like to share with other alumni or students? Or, are you looking to connect with someone in the creative industries with greater experience? The alumni relations office staff are here for you – and so is 10k Coffees, a mentorship platform that will help you connect with alumni and students.
Katherine Soucie is an award winning artist and designer who specializes in
transforming textile industry waste into new textiles and sculptural forms.
She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Art from Emily Carr University
in 2009 and returned to complete her Master’s Degree in Visual Art, Textiles
Katherine is the recipient of the BC Creative Achievements Award 2006 (Canada),
shortlisted for Niche Award 2007 (USA), the recipient of the International Design
Green Award 2008 (USA) and recently shortlisted for the SustainART Design
Competition 2014 (UK).
Mentorship is a valuable resource for many artists and designers. We recently had the pleasure of speaking with Katherine Soucie, the Founder of Sans Soucie, an award winning zero waste textile + design studio, to hear her thoughts on mentorship and how she has made her way in the creative field.
Katherine took a non-traditional yet very fitting path to where she is today. She was running her own fabric store while she was still a fashion design student in the 1990s. At that time there were no conversations around sustainability, particularly in the fashion industry, but she was already thinking ahead about recycling and reusability.
After she relocated to the West Coast and finished her studies at Capilano College (now Capilano University), Katherine establish a studio in Gastown in 2003 due to the success of her new concept related to the waste industry. Her business combined working with pre-consumer textiles as a material resource, creating her own fabric and producing clothing and textile designs.
Katherine didn’t have a mentor when she was starting her career, but would have found helpful. She shares, “My biggest learning curve happened when I was bombarded by so many exciting projects and I wanted to do them all. Having a mentor would have given me more clarity at important moments like that and helped me make better decisions on projects.” Without a mentor, Katherine mentioned it could be very isolating at times and that was very challenging for her as an artist. She chooses to be isolated but the majority of time, given the type of work she does which is very socially oriented, it was a huge switching of gear for her.
When asked about her experience as a mentor, Katherine shared, “I have mentored dozens of students and helped with the careers of many fashion designers and textile artists. I believe everyone has a story and everyone has a gift.” What she finds fulfilling about being a mentor is that she can help flesh that out and have conversations to allow mentees to identify their strengths and weaknesses. Eventually, their weaknesses may become their strengths. Also, she encourages everyone to surround themselves with the people you want to be around, advice she received from her sister a long time ago.
Katherine shared her insight on how to motivate people who are shy about asking for help. She explained, “It is true that we normally do not want to show our vulnerability or that we don’t know enough. It is hard to ask questions when we feel intimidated. It takes determination and work ethic to overcome our fears, and I believe a mentor can really contribute to that process. Find what works for you and your comfort zone and let that build so you have time to evolve. It is valuable to have a mentor and be an apprentice, as early as the Foundation year.”
When asked what the one best piece of advice is she has ever received, Katherine recalls what Joanna Staniszkis, a Canadian textile artist told her, “You can’t stop. You haven’t even done what you need to do with this yet. You need to keep doing.”
Have questions for Katherine? Connect with her here.