Women of Charlottesville

Highlighting the unique and diverse amazing women of Charlottesville, VA.

Katherine Burling

This is the amazing Katherine Burling! She is a super talented artist–and has the most amazing, quirky collection of fun odds and ends I’ve ever seen! Katherine is wise beyond her years. She is inspiring, fun, and so very kind! Her taste and style is sophisticated and unique. And, she oozes creativity! Enjoy her interview!

So, Katherine, tell us a little bit about yourself…

I always like to jokingly tell Kevin (Katherine’s husband), if I had a little moniker, it would be “Katherine Burling: Notable Eccentric.” Because, I love reading about these kooky old ladies in New York City–like Iris Apfel or Linda Rodin or whomever, who are just these brilliant, creative women–and that creativity infests every area of their life! Those are the women who I look up to. They love art and clothing, and their homes, and what they make, and it just sort of grows and takes everything over. And I love that!

Katherine on the porch of her lovely home

us: What did you have for breakfast this morning?

her: Just coffee.

us: Does pineapple belong on pizza?

her: Yes. I don’t eat pineapple on pizza very often, but it makes complete sense. I love fresh pineapple!

us: Do you sleep in your socks?

her: Yes, well, our house is freezing cold–because it’s old and drafty and the windows are all cracked. We have radiators, but my husband turns the heat down at night, so if I don’t put on a pair of socks, I’m not gonna be able to sleep.

us: What’s your favorite go to midnight snack?

her: Oh my goodness, what isn’t? I love sweets. I love pastries. I love pizza, leftovers, bread with jam. I love Ben&Jerry’s, too!

Katherine with amazing her art!
Katherine’s art

us: Salty or sweet?

her: Sweet.

us: Pet peeve?

her: Loud and insufferable chewing.

us: Room entrance song:

her: “Spectrum” by Florence and the Machine.

us: Favorite place you’ve traveled to?

her: New York City!

us: Mountains or beach?

her: Hmm, I kind of want to say neither and just say I’ll sit on my couch. I’m a major homebody.

us: Current favorite song?

her: “Always Look On The Bright Side of Life” by Monty Python. The video makes me laugh every time!

us: Who’s been the most influential woman in your life?

her: Oh my goodness, what a tough question. I’ve never had super strong relationships with family members. I would imagine that a lot of the women you introduce say “my mother, my grandmother, my aunt, etc. . .” That is really not the case for me, and it’s always been something I’ve wanted. You actually see that a lot in my work. There’s a recurring matriarchal figure, and lots of women . . . In my work, you see lots of mourning women who crop up, or the Virgin Mary– A female divine that I constantly come back to in my work in various ways. She’s a heroine– a strong female figure, a guide. Maybe she’s a version of myself, a hidden alter ego, so I draw her a lot of the time.

us: What accomplishment are you most proud of?

her: I’m really happy about my relationship with my husband. He is such a treasure to me, that nailing him down feels like an accomplishment! I’m also proud of graduating grad school and being able to support myself.

us: If you could give your younger self a single piece of advice, what would it be?

her: Just to be more confident, I think. One thing that kills me is to see young people–especially young women–not confident. Just because I see my past self in them. And I want to tell them that it’s going to be fine, so please just don’t worry about these little things.

us: Tell us about a challenge you’ve overcome?

her: What about a challenge that I’m overcoming? My transition from grad school to working life has been an adjustment. I always had a creative life in school. And being in school keeps you productive because you’re accountable to other people and deadlines. Now I’m learning what a creative life looks like outside of a program of study, or outside of the medium I work in, or in conjunction with the demands of a full-time job. That starts to look a little bit different, so it’s really fun to see where creativity pops up outside of my traditional art practice. 

Katherine in one of her parlors–with her adorable pup–Beto
Beto, Katherine’s pup

us: Where do you find your inspiration?

her: I am a junkie for images. So, actually this morning at 5am when I was having coffee, I had to organize my desktop–because my desktop is just images that I drag and save on the desktop, and they’re just like hundreds and hundreds of images. I also go junk shopping at least once a week; I go to old bookstores. On the weekends, I either hit up bookstores or I go to the antique malls– it’s just natural for me, and I take pictures of everything. When I find something–it just makes my day. I file it away, and I take pictures. It’s like this high that I get from seeing something or acquiring something.

us: What’s your favorite room in your house?

her: We live in an old house that has two parlors in the front. It would definitely be those two rooms, with the fireplace and the French doors. I love the light. I love the character in old houses. But, I especially love it when the people I love are in my home with me.

Katherine with some of her amazing finds.

us: What are you most thankful for?

her: This is random, but I’m very thankful for my eyesight. Sometimes I think that if I were blind, so much joy would be taken out of my life since I am such a visual person. Also, my relationship with my husband, who is such a supportive partner in so many ways. And, I think I’ve always had fairly good instincts . . . about different things. I’m grateful for that. I’m also grateful for the numerous opportunities I’m given to pursue and creativity and curiosity. What a gift that is! 

us: Any hidden talents, we should know about?

her: Waking up without an alarm clock at exactly the right time!

us: What’s your favorite thing about living in Charlottesville?

her: All the used bookstores and our little, old house!

Thanks for sharing with us, Katherine!