"I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well" - Psalm 139:14
Hello, I'm Katie!
I am a writer and book and paper artist, a renaissance woman really. I'm a lover and doer of many crafts and am very interested in living a life immersed in the pursuit of creativity and knowledge because knowledge is power. Most importantly though, my ambitions aside, I am a child of God and worship at the Tara Church of Christ in Georgia.
I was born into a family of writers, musicians, painters, seamstresses, soap makers and photographers so I believe that it is by no accident, only divine intervention, that I delight in the process of creating as well. My appreciation for meaningful conversation, quiet settings and authenticity have inspired the work He has guided me to craft. I created Soft Spoken Paper Co. in a corner of my bedroom during my junior year while taking a paper making class at the world renowned Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). It has served as my creative outlet to work with my hands during my studies and has allowed me to share what I enjoy with others.
The start of Soft Spoken Paper Co. was inspired by my innate preference for a quieter approach to expression, communication and a life of pondering, prayer and genuine reflection. An approach I have not always embraced, but rather under valued. Being told from a young age that I needed to talk more and speak louder has been the nagging pain in my side and my greatest source of insecurity for as long as I can remember. It has always made me feel as though my shy and quiet way of being was some kind of abnormal flaw or defect. But I've decided to turn what has always been thought to be a weakness into a strength, to see the beauty and intent behind it on God's part and to use it as fuel for my creative work.
When the time came for me to leave my family for college three hours away in the the foreign yet enchanting city of Savannah, Ga, those insecurities intensified in ways I was not prepared for. I struggled with finding my niche and my people and was overcome with anxiety, a feeling of isolation and the crippling inability to hear my own voice in a noisy networking world. I was hit with a level of social anxiety I had never experienced. After classes I would retreat to the confines of my dormitory which became a place of both sanctuary and lonely isolation.
I sought comfort in the sound of my parent's voices during regular phone calls, prayer and long walks around campus daydreaming of the many possibilities dangling above me from majestic live oaks. Possibilities that I could have confidence, independence and artistic success. Back then those things seemed reserved for a future self I hadn't yet grown into.
It wasn't until I began writing towards the end of my freshman year of college that I finally started to find some relief and comfort. Sitting alone on a bunked bed in my dormitory is where I released the pain, frustration and anger it caused me. I cried and wrote frantically and obsessively, something I had never done before and a ritual I continue today. My journals became a menagerie of marginal epiphanies, scribbled rants, fictional story outlines and desperate prayers to God. It helped me express the many emotions and thoughts I didn't know how to communicate out loud.
After my freshman year I decided to take some time off from school to do some much needed soul searching and perspective shifting. Once I returned to SCAD, it was a fresh start. I gave into my creative interests and watched as things fell into place, in God's timing. With the prayers and loving support from my family through this uncomfortable growing period in my life, I was able to overcome the transition many other young college students face. Being reminded by my parents that I wasn't the only one going through it and that God was in and is always in control made a world of difference. I couldn't have done it without them. They are my biggest fans.
It is beautiful to note that I have come full circle from my long thoughtful walks on the streets of Savannah. I wish I knew then that I was well on my way to something bigger than I could have imagined. A campus transfer and a few on and off again quarters was the growing period I needed to get to the happy place I'm in today. I now find myself as a SCAD Alumna, class of 2017, with a B.F.A. in writing. It was certainly not my first choice of study, third actually, but the choice that pursued me relentlessly. It took some more writing for me to realize that my thoughts transcribed onto paper was my voice. Once I made that connection, I began to see how God could use my soft-spoken voice. I saw my love for writing as an opportunity to reach out and bring hope to other young women going through the same things. It has been a richly rewarding experience and privilege to have studied the art of communication and to see the beauty of the human spirit revealed through literature, poetry and personal story telling. It still amazes me how God guided me to writing and to see my growth as a person recorded on the pages of my own journals. Through my pain and insecurity, God brought light, strength and healing. I believe that like images, words are powerful things. They can shake people and the world and bring forth change. I have found that my quietness and writing have become, and perhaps always were, my super powers. Ones that I choose to use to bring light into a sometimes very dark world.
My newfound love of writing rekindled my long time love for paper arts and design. I was introduced to the craft of book binding as a Summer intern with Straw Hat Press. It was under the instruction of owners and SCAD Alumni Laura Cleary and Shaun McCallum that I learned how to make an actual real life book. I had entered a whole new world I didn't know I belonged to. I reconnected with the tangible results I crave and the sense of accomplishment at the end of the day that comes from making something useful with my hands. It was an invaluable experience.
Together the two art forms overlap and blend beautifully, but what I do is about so much more than books and paper. The journals I create have turned into symbols of my experience in finding my voice through writing and learning to embrace how God chose to craft me.
My hope is that through my passion for writing and book making I can encourage, strengthen and edify young Christian women through creativity and the written word by creating blank canvases for them to discover the deepest, rawest, most intimate parts of who they are and come out with a more profound understanding of their creative, personal and spiritual potential, and to embrace how wonderfully made they are and their God-given purpose, just as I have. My prayer is that women of all kinds can find the beauty, strength and value in the way God created them in both temperment and personality, and to always remember that we are the tangible results of His perfect workmanship. He makes no mistakes.