Monday, June 23, 2014

LIFE OF A POET - KATHRYN DYCHE DECHAIRO

Prepare yourselves to be visually wowed, my friends. I have been enjoying the poetry of Kathryn Dyche Dechairo, who writes at The Edge of Silence, for some time, but only recently became aware of her stunning art work. Kathryn describes herself as a mixed media artist. If you have not yet seen her work, prepare to be amazed.   


Sherry: Kathryn, let’s go all the way back. Where were you born and where did you grow up? And how did you get from there to Ohio?



Kathryn: I was born in South Wales and moved to Oxfordshire when I was five years old, so unfortunately lost the beautiful singsong lilt of the Welsh accent.  I grew up in a small market town called Wantage, just 15 miles south-west of Oxford, where King Alfred is famous for burning the scones.


A couple of decades later, while working as a Human Resources Officer for a local biotech firm, we hired an American to do a PhD while working at our company.  From the first handshake, I knew there was something special about this person and a year and a half later, we were married.

Since then we have lived in Oxfordshire, Connecticut, Virginia and now Ohio.  If someone had told me all those years ago I would fall for a Yank, leave a career in Human Resources, move to America and become an Artist/Poet, I would have laughed, thinking them crazy.  These days I wonder if I am the crazy one and laugh at the irony of it all.


Sherry: I love the photo of you, laughing! Life has a sense of humor! Tell us what a day in the life looks like for you and those you share space with. (I am especially excited to meet your four furry friends!)

Kathryn: Some insistent purring, and a cat walking over my face, usually wakes me each morning. While my husband (Bryan) gets ready for work, I can be found groaning under the covers, milking the extra minutes until our dogs (Joey & Ravyn) come hurtling into the bedroom to entice me into the land of the living.  





Let’s just say they are a little more enthusiastic about it than I am.  I like quiet in a morning....... 



........ so after Bryan leaves I roughhouse with the dogs before settling on the sofa with a mug of tea and a soft blanket.





Our cats, Tristan and Connor, like to curl up into the crook of my legs while I open the laptop and begin checking and responding to emails, visit some social media sites, and spend time perusing different blogs.








After that, anything goes.  I may spend the day painting, doing computer work, editing photos, writing, reading, running errands, playing with the animals, photographing birds, taking a nature walk . . . whatever takes my fancy, often with an afternoon nap thrown in for good measure.

No two days are the same and that’s what I love.  I know many people like structure, or some kind of routine, but for me there’s something wonderful about waking up and having no set plans.  


Sherry: Your life sounds wonderful. And perfect for an artist. And your critters are adorable. Your deep connection to nature and wildlife is very evident in your work. Tell us about that. Does it stem from childhood?  How often do you get out into nature? How important is that to your creative process?

Kathryn: I’m not aware of when my love affair with nature first began, it feels like something that has always been there and simply deepened over the years.  I do know that picking a camera up and shooting images has made me more aware and appreciative of my surroundings.



I have always loved the tactile, textural quality of natural elements, and have to smile when I see these influences transitioning into my work. The bark of a tree, moss covered woodland . . . leaves, twigs, feathers, animals . . . the colors, the hues, the seasons, all part of nature’s art that I find truly captivating and try to capture in my own way.

                       
Rooted

Nature and wildlife are very grounding for me, like a balm for the soul, and I try to venture out as often as I can.

    
Owl Moon


Nourished

I gulp down seasons
thirsty for transformation
for renewal and change

I bathe in moonlight
sprinkle myself with stardust
and clothe myself in nature

I slough away tension
with tree bark and stones
dry autumn leaves and pine cones

I shake off pain
like droplets of rain
filling myself with birdsong

in these moments
in the breathing
my soul is nourished

Sherry: Such a beautiful poem! And your art is spectacular, Kathryn. Owl Moon takes my breath away. How did your creative journey begin?

Kathryn: Growing up I was never particularly creative.  I loved writing letters and would keep a diary from time to time but, while I liked to read poetry, I never penned any.  As for art, it was something that seemed like a whole other world and one I would never be a part of.

All that changed during my early thirty’s.  The year before my father died, poetry suddenly came pouring out like a pressure valve released, yet after he died it stopped just as abruptly as it had started.

A year later I had moved to the US and I think unconsciously I was looking for other ways to express myself.  I began exploring spray paints, jewelry making, knitting, sewing, mosaics, candle and soap making, but it was painting that called to me in a different way.   It would be a few more years before I found my way back to poetry, which now feels like a natural extension of who I am.

Sherry: You have made an amazing journey. I am sorry about your father. You describe yourself as a mixed media artist. Tell us about that.

Kathryn: As you know, I love texture, so when I began creating art I was looking for ways to invoke that feeling you get as a child; the kind where you want to reach out and touch something.  Through experimenting with different mediums, I discovered that tissue paper, caulk and sand gave me the textural elements I’d been searching for.  

 
Sherry: Very interesting, Kathryn. [Kids, do check out Kathryn's shop, Dyche Designs - there are amazing creations in there: art prints, beautiful textured journals, and the shop home page with a mix of wonders. Reading Kathryn's poetry, I had not ventured into the shop until now, and I am completely blown away.] 


Kathryn: From there, it was a case of combining my love of nature with texture, and the most incredible journey ensued.  Painting is like a form of meditation for me, at least what I assume meditation to be like.  Inevitably, there are times when I find myself lost in the process, unaware of just how much time has passed (although the animals are quick to inform me if it’s past dinner time)! 

Photography initially started as a means to an end, a way to take photos of my work, but as my painting improved so did my photography.  A completely new world opened up when I realized that I could apply my love of texture to this format too.  
                                              

Blue Raven 

Sherry: You have succeeded admirably, Kathryn. Your art is breathtaking, in each form. What does poetry mean to you? How do you feel when a poem just totally works?

Kathryn: Poetry tears down walls, builds me up, rips me wide open and keeps me together.  It’s like a waking dream that allows me to process what I’m thinking and feeling and to voice things without the awkwardness that often accompanies the spoken word.   It’s a slipping of the mask I hold on tight to, allowing others to truly `see’ me if they choose to look.

Many think my poetry is dark, but it has been incredibly cathartic to write about pain, grief and the darker aspects of life, and I believe that poetry and art can heal.

Shadowy Tricksters

tongues wild with silence
in murmurous blackness
etch fear into frigid bones

as shadowy tricksters
wielding concealment
cavort with the mind

their treacherous
lecherous
inky fingers
harvesting fear
for the light of day

There are times when it's ethereal in nature, as though something takes over my body and I can’t write or type fast enough.  The poems that ‘really’ work often come in this form, where I’m so focused and locked in that when I sit and look at what I’ve written, I feel purged, wondering where on earth it came from.

Puzzle Pieces

on a path to nowhere
I sit arms crossed
gazing downward
at strewn puzzle pieces
of why’s and why not’s

a puzzle with infinite size
numerous parts missing
for life doesn’t come in a box
with a picturesque image
and all the pieces

Sherry: I know that feeling! You recently published a book, The Edge of Silence, available at Amazon. How did you feel when you held the first copy in your hands? 

Kathryn: Honestly, it felt surreal.  Each year I try to push myself in some way and self-publishing a book of my work was a monumental challenge.  There were many occasions when I wondered what I was doing and whether I should continue but I am glad I did.  When I sat there with that first copy in my hands, as a book and not just scraps of paper, it felt incredible.  It’s amazing what we’re capable of if we put our mind to it and it made me realize that I need to stop asking “why?” and start asking “what if?”.


stop asking "why?" and start asking "what if?"

It’s a part of my journey that links me to the now, and if just one other person is touched by something I’ve written or can relate in some way, then it’s worth it.


Sherry: I like changing the question to "what if?" What is your favorite place in the world, the place that most says “home” to you?


Kathryn: I’ve been fortunate to travel to many incredible places over the years, and while wherever my family are will always be home, it’s the Gower in Wales that has a special hold on me.  We spent most of our family holidays/vacations on the Gower coastline when I was younger, and I have so many great memories of our time there.  It’s also  where my brother got married, where my father’s ashes are spread, and where I plan to be scattered to the wind too.

There is just something about this place that draws me to it time and time again, and I feel ill equipped to find the right words to express it.  It’s the land of my birth, it speaks of family, of my love of the sea, it speaks the language of home. 


Sherry: What an incredibly beautiful spot, with such wonderful associations. Is there anything you would like to say to Poets United?

Kathryn: I would like to thank you, Sherry, for being the perfect host, and all the incredible poets I have met through Poets United.  Each of you have inspired me in so many ways, and have been so encouraging and supportive. Thank you.

Sherry: Thank you, Kathryn, for this very generous look into your life. It has truly been a pleasure. Thanks for sharing your life, your poetry and your art with Poets United.

Well, kids? I am rather knocked out by the talent of the folks we visit every week, aren't you? Humans are amazing and I so love hearing their stories. I have the best job in the world! Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!

47 comments:

  1. Wonderful! Every time I see your work, Kathryn, I want more. This interview seems a prelude to a full gallery experience with readings. Just say when and where. Thanks for these poems, especially "Puzzle Pieces." Thanks, Sherry.

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    1. My pleasure, Susan. Arent our poets simply amazing? I love my job!

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    2. Thanks Susan, smiling big and thanks Sherry for all the incredible work you do pulling these interviews together.

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  2. nice...i have that book on my shelf...smiles...kathryn is def a cool person...and an artist both in word and beyond....

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    1. Thanks Brian, you've been such an inspiration since I started exploring online poetry communities. :)

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  3. very cool to get to know you a bit better kathryn...and wow... you lived so close to oxford... love your love story...following the loved one into another country is brave and so exciting as well

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    1. Thanks Claudia, I found it funny that I was always the home body with my sister having more of the gypsy feet yet I'm the one now living in another country. It's funny how things turn out.

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  4. Kathryn.. I really love the way you capture everything in such a concise way,. the poetry your artistry and the photography.. both inspiring and also I realize you go way beyond snapshots in you picture... and many thanks for the time you take commenting and reading my poetry..

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    1. Thank you Bjorn, I love the online poetry community and your own work inspires me daily. Thank you for such a lovely comment and for your visits to my piece of blogland.

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  5. Kathryn, thank you for sharing bits of your life with us at Poets United. Wales is simply beautiful. I went there for the first time last summer - unless a day in Hay-on-Wye more than 30 years ago counts - and I loved the Gower coastline. I enjoy both your poetry and your art.
    Thank you for the great interview, Sherry.

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    1. Thank you Gabriella and for your visits to my blog. I travel home to see my family in October and am hoping to fit in a trip down to Wales while I am there.

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  6. Kathryn, what a pleasure to read about you and your very creative spirit. Both your poetry and art are beautiful!

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    1. Thank you Sherri, it was a real honor to be featured here.

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  7. Hi Kathryn~It is wonderful to know another poetic artist. I love the way you described how poetry made you feel~ It is a gift to see and work with a poet's heart~ I love all that you shared! You art is as lovely as your poetry! @>---------------

    Lovely interview, ladies!!

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  8. What a lovely group of people you all are. Such a lift at my heart, to come in and read the conversation. Makes my day!! I am so happy to have this platform in which to spotlight the talented folk in our community.

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    1. It really is such a wonderful community which wouldn't be possible without you and the others that manage this site. Kudos to everyone who makes this space what it is.

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  9. Kathryn, I do like the idea of trying to push yourself in some way. I try to do the same. I always enjoy visits to your blog. I especially like the way that you post such a variety, are not 'stuck' in one style. I really enjoyed getting to know you more here.

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    1. Thanks Mary . . . there are times when I feel like I'm not achieving anything but often when I look back on my year I find that I have achieved more than I think.

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  10. really enjoyed this. kathryn's work is beautiful. always.

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  11. Sherry - thanks for introducing me to another wonderful talent. Kathryn, I think I've read some of your work along the way but not as much as I would like...I will be more aware of it now. And Wales is definitely on my wishlist of places to see...I like how multi-dimensional your talents are as well. Great interview.

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    1. Thank you so much, I appreciate your visits.

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  12. Every time I visit Kathryn, I am blown away by her talent. Excellent interview, ladies.

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    1. Mama Z, you inspire me to be better and do better. I love your ability to say so much in short form poetry which is what I seem to gravitate towards.

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  13. What a creative spirit you are Kathryn in so many ways....i always enjoy your poetry......
    thank you for this wonderful share...this is another amazing interview Sherry :)

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    1. Sherry does such a fantastic job, doesn't she? Thanks Sumana.

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  14. Sherry and Kathryn, such a wonderful interview! Kathryn, I am amazed at all the artistic paths you are able to explore. Your art, photos, and poetry are simply breathtaking. It is so great to learn more about you!

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    1. Thanks Susie, somewhere along that path I hope to find myself but for now I'm happy travelling. :)

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  15. Sherry asking all the right questions, and Kathryn rightly showing off your wonderful art, photography, and poetry. And pets. Good to know you better :) ~

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    1. Sherry has an amazing talent doesn't she. Doing the interview with her was a real pleasure. Thanks Michael. :)

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  16. Just checking in as I toddle off to bed....smiling at the lovely conversation going on in here......good night, my friends.

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    1. It's so uplifting isn't it. Love how supportive everyone is.

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  17. I lve her poems and the depth in them. Thanks for an in depth interview:)

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    1. Thanks Vandana, I always appreciate your comments and visits.

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  18. such a beautiful conversation Sherry!! thank you for bringing the life of an artist to us... sounds beautiful to me...

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    1. . . . the life of an artist. I have to stop myself from looking over my shoulder or pinching myself to make sure its real. Thank you Arushi.

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  19. So wonderful to learn a bit more about Kathryn, she is one of the kindest, most supportive people I have had the pleasure of meeting on the internet, not to mention fabulously talented. Thanks for sharing this great interview!

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    1. Thanks Kelly . . . it was my visits to your blog that inspired me to slip back into poetry. You have an incredible way with words and are always so supportive of my efforts. Thank you for being you.

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  20. Thanks Sherry for another lovely interview ~

    I have been following Kathryn for some time and really envy her talents - creative arts, writing, photography, etc ~ All the best to you ~

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    1. Thanks Grace, I am a big fan of your own talents and you have been so supportive.

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  21. Kathryn thanks for sharing with us this week. Nature is a wonderful inspiration for the artist and poet; you have a wonderful expression in both media.
    Wales is such a beautiful place and the people are lovely.
    Wishing you the best with your work!

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    1. It can often sound cliché when we talk about nature as inspiration but it really is. Thank you for taking the time to read the interview and for your lovely comment.

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  22. Kathryn, it is always so nice to learn even more about you and how you and Bryan met and how you came to be here in the U.S. You are such an incredible person, artist and poet, and I'm happy to call you my friend!!

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  23. Thank you Sherry! Kathryn's work is wonderful and it is great to get to know more about her (you)!!

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