Our current exhibition, Hybrid Practices, is FULL of art. That seems like an obvious statement; of course, an art gallery is full of art. What I mean is– this exhibition represents artwork by 14 artists who, collectively, have used 47+ different types of materials. Yes, I counted– email me if you want the list, or better yet, visit the gallery to count them for yourself!

With such a unique exhibition, we wanted to dig a little deeper into the processes of four of the artists in the show. So, I grabbed my camera and drove to Iowa City to first visit with Kathy Edwards Hayslett in her home studio.

The core of Kathy’s work as an artist is to tell stories. In her early work, she knew she wanted to create objects and imagery that were narrative-based. For example, the use of tintypes in her work introduces constructed narratives where the titles give a clue to the stories within.


She began making jewelry before leaving her role as Chief Curator at the University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art, which encouraged her to explore materiality even further. Her jewelry work slowly turned into making assemblages and collages with various objects that had their own inherent history.


Despite enjoying making 3d work, Kathy always returned to paper. Her love of paper came from her background in printmaking, a medium where paper reigns supreme.

Alyss Vernon: Your work is very colorful and has a sense of playfulness. How do you go about choosing color palettes for your compositions?


Kathy Edwards Hayslett: I studied color theory long ago, so at this point it’s mostly based on instinct. I love intense color. I also like layering and opaqueness and transparency. And yes, there is a whimsical quality–I don’t know why–I think it’s just my personality!

AV: What kind of stories are you most interested in telling with your work?


KEH: I like to offer elements of a plot, so that viewers can imagine a story, especially with the tintypes. My compositions tend to include both representational and abstract areas. I use this combination because there are parts that seem dream-like and might spark interior recognition. Ambiguity of perceived space through color is also interesting to me.

AV: In conceptualizing this exhibition, what drew you to highlighting artists who practice in multiple media or genres?


KEH: Since I use multiple media, usually in the same artwork, I’m interested in other artists who find their content through hybridity–their negotiation between more than one way of working, more than one media, more than one identity. Actually, hybridity is a complicated concept.

Thank you, Kathy, for letting us take a peek into your studio space and get to know more about your practice!



Be sure to visit the gallery by February 10 to see Kathy’s work in our current exhibition, Hybrid Practices.    

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542 5th Street
West Des Moines, Iowa 50265
United States
542 5th Street
West Des Moines, Iowa 50265
United States
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