Interview with Cathy McClure
August 20, 2013
Visual artist Cathy McClure has been shopping at Goodwill since she moved to Seattle. As an artist and metalsmith she works predominantly in sterling silver, bronze, and steel, but often includes multimedia in her work. Cathy also appeared in Let It Go, new Goodwill donations video with her musician husband Billy Joe Huels.
You seem to have an appreciation for discarded or forgotten objects –where did that begin?
I've always had a fascination with the past, specifically how America defined our international collective future (the one in which we now live) during the 50s and 60s. That being said, I think our consumer culture has gone off the deep end. Perfect example, in 1995, as a grad student at the University of Washington, I stumbled upon a great little toy store in Pike's Market, The Great Wind Up. The owner and I became friends and he began to give me his broken toys, which I incorporated into my work. He gave his broken toys to me because the manufacturers in China would reimburse him for his broken toys without the requirement to ship them back. It was cheaper to throw them "away". Around the same time, I started to stalk thrift stores for toys, looking for inspiration.
When did you start shopping at Goodwill?
As a thrifty student….I shopped at Goodwill beginning the year I moved to Seattle in 1995. Furniture, vinyl, clothes…you name it. My budget demanded it and I found the coolest, most fascinating things.
Do you have a favorite store or purchase from Goodwill?
My favorite Goodwill by far is the one on Dearborn. I can lose myself inside that place for hours. I purchased my first discarded battery-operated stuffed animal at that store which led to my latest body of work.
How do you use toys in your work?
That battery-operated stuffed animal (a plush elephant) that I found at the Dearborn Goodwill piqued my curiosity. I was curious as to what was underneath the plush. So….I took scissors and eviscerated the toy. I exposed the plastic casing underneath which contained the mechanism. The design of the articulated plastic limbs and bodily armature which was previously covered by plush inspired me. I had an idea to disassemble the entire piece, cast the plastic shell in sterling silver and reassemble it, using the original mechanism found within the discarded thrift store toy. I wasn't sure if it would work but, I had to try it. I disassembled the carcass, re-cast the limbs and armatures in sterling silver and re-assembled the new 'parts'. This involved re-fitting and re-installation of the original "crickets", circuit boards, batteries, gears and voice boxes. Then I took the reinvented object and placed it on a gallery pedestal…..in some ways, I see myself as a high-end recycler, I take toys that are tossed aside and disregarded and give them new identities.
You received your degree from the University of Washington. How does living in the Northwest affect your vision as an artist?
One of the first pieces I made while at UW was a game. After I completed that piece, my professor commented that several of the game pieces looked like the Space Needle. As I mentioned before, I'm fascinated by the 50s and 60s. America defined the future during those decades and the Space Needle is an iconic symbol from that time. I was deciding on Grad schools and I visited UW on a gorgeous May day. I was immediately infatuated…..but I think I was attracted to Seattle before I moved. It was 1995 and Seattle had just kept leap onto the international stage. The Northwest has this mysterious, grey shroud surrounding it which helps and forces me to focus on my work. The second year I lived in Seattle we set a record for most consecutive days of rain, but I also made my first Zoetrope that rain-drenched year. I won the Betty Bowen award from the Seattle Art Museum that same year. I believe the weather promotes discovery, invention and creativity.
How do you use humor in your work? I see that in some pieces like “silly bunny.” There's definitely humor in my work but I layer it with nostalgia and darkness. My zoetrope installations and my bots both have a complexity beneath the surface and I like to balance that dark with the light. I use humor as a conceptual tool.
Katherine Boury is the Communications Manager at Seattle Goodwill.
CONNECT WITH US
SUBSCRIBE VIA EMAIL
- Seattle Goodwill expands Youth Aerospace Program to Renton
- Where to watch fireworks this Fourth of July
- Goodwill Faces: Meriem, Laura, Maddie, Maria
- DIY Succulent Terrarium
- Career Resources (11)
- Cleaning & Organizing (18)
- Community & Partners (112)
- DIY Tips & Tricks (64)
- Donate (60)
- Fashion (121)
- Get Involved (20)
- Glitter Gala (17)
- Glitter Sale (83)
- Goodwill Faces (41)
- Halloween (23)
- Holidays (76)
- Job Training & Education (60)
- Sales, Events, Contests & Giveaways (163)
- Shop (244)
- Sustainability (33)
- Thrifty Kitchen (13)
- Vintage (8)
- Youth Programs (12)
- July 2017 (1)
- June 2017 (5)
- May 2017 (2)
- April 2017 (6)
- March 2017 (3)
- An alternative to buying new or renting expensive winter sports gear
- Daddy Daughter Dance for Monroe inmates made possible with Seattle Goodwill’s help
- Ten Tips for Cosplay at ECCC + Giveaway
- Breaking Barriers: Our Annual Report is out!
- Collecting cars: How to spot collectible Hot Wheels and Matchbox
- Goodwill Faces: Alison, Joe and Sam, Sherion & Ta'Vion
- Get Free Tax Preparation Help at Goodwill
- How to spot vintage Barbies and G.I. Joes
- Find a gift in our Valentine’s Day Online Sale
- An easy solution for computer disposal
- Understanding art: A matter of perspective
- How 140 Characters Benefited Goodwill
- Top comic books through the ages
- 5 New Year Resolutions Goodwill can help you keep
- Video game consoles come full circle
- Ten Tips for End-of-Year Donations
- The guitar: Seattle music culture's iconic instrument
- DIY: Homemade Menorahs
- Goodwill Faces: New Beginnings
- Thrifty Kitchen: Homemade Holiday Hot Beverages
- DIY: Holiday Shadowbox Décor
- Designer bags: From practical use to fashion statement
- DIY: Gold Accent Mugs
- Uncoding the value of trading cards
- DIY: Glittered Mason Jar Candle Holders
- Vinyl records making a major resurgence
- Goodwill Faces: Shak, Anja, J.C., & Asia
- Goodwill’s Cyber Monday Sale
- Supporting Goodwill on Cyber Monday
- DIY: Festive Book Page Trees
- Baking with Goodwill: Bourbon Pumpkin Pie
- Sparkle Sale Preview
- 5 things to look for when shopping Goodwill's brooches
- Goodwill Faces: Donald, Brycen, Shawnteal & Farida
- Sports memorabilia evokes nostalgic moments for fans
- Glitter Sale 2016: The Best of the Rest!
- Glitter Sale 2016: Celebrate the craftsmanship of Coach!
- Glitter Sale 2016: Shopping Tips
- Glitter Sale 2016: Spotlight on Designers
- Halloween DIY: Frankenstein
- Halloween DIY: David Bowie
- Halloween DIY: Spock
- Halloween DIY: Kitten
- Halloween DIY: Prince
- Halloween DIY: Zombie
- 5 trendy Halloween costumes for 2016, plus tips
- Glitter Sale 2016: A shoe for every season!
- Halloween Makeup DIY: Deer
- Making a great Halloween costume with Goodwill is quick and easy
- Glitter Sale 2016: Celebrating Seahawks
- Halloween 2016 Contests & Giveaways
- Glitter Gala Fashion Interns
- Glitter Sale 2016: The First Look
- Glitter Gala Styling Intern Profile: Monstrociti Wuest
- Camera availability changing our social lives
- September 2016 (6)
- August 2016 (4)
- July 2016 (7)
- June 2016 (4)
- Planning your Memorial Day Sale thrift store tour
- Budget-Friendly Camping in the PNW
- Sustainable Office: For Startups & Small Business
- Sustainable Office: Renovate, Donate
- Goodwill + Luxe = Convenient Donations
- Coming to our Flagship Store: Sustainable Office Popup Shop
- Israel Juarez: Winner of the 2016 Edgar J. Helms Award for Graduate Staff
- April 2016 (4)
- March 2016 (5)
- February 2016 (6)
- January 2016 (4)
- 10 Items you should donate before 2016
- Good Holidays: DIY New Year’s Eve party table centerpiece
- Good Holidays: Cookie Gifts
- Good Holidays: Scrap Fabric Garland DIY
- Good Holidays: DIY String Light Ornaments
- Good Holidays: Decorating on a budget
- Setting the table for #GoodHolidays
- Ten holiday must-haves that you can thrift
- Good Holidays: How to White Elephant like a pro
- Good Holidays: DIY Ugly Christmas Sweater
- Cyber Monday shopping: AmazonSmile & Give Back Box
- 15 Holiday Events around the Puget Sound
- 6 ways you can make an impact while you holiday shop
- Glitter Sale 2015: The best of the rest
- Glitter Sale 2015: Evening and Cocktail Dresses
- Glitter Sale 2015: Tips for Shopping
- Glitter Sale 2015: Shoppers Talk Glitter
- Glitter Sale 2015: Designer Accessories
- Glitter Sale 2015: The brooch is back!
- Glitter Sale 2015: A Closer Look at Coach
- Glitter Gala Fashion Show & Super Heroes
- Glitter Sale 2015: Make a statement!
- Glitter Gala Stylist Intern: Hannah Larson
- It’s time for Glitter Sale 2015!
- Celebrating Halloween with local bloggers
- Where to Trick or Treat— All Over Puget Sound!
- Glitter Gala Stylist Intern: Trisha Jack
- Halloween Costume Contest & Giveaways Prize List
- Glitter Gala Stylist Intern: Heather Nyland
- Ellena's Story
- What’s on deck for Halloween 2015
- Vote Seattle Goodwill "Best Vintage and Resale"!
- Comcast Donates Backpacks to Seattle Goodwill
- Rainy Day Fun
- Customer Appreciation Days
- September is National Preparedness Month
- It's National Clean Out Your Garage Day!
- 5 simple tools that can help your family stay organized this school year
- Glitter Gala 2015: The Goodwill Design Challenge
- Make the most out of your commute: Seattle
- Upcoming Events: Fall 2015
- Make the most out of your commute: South
- Back-to-School Thrifting
- Make the most out of your commute: Kitsap Peninsula
- Tips from Declutterella: Help your kids declutter
- Make the most out of your commute: Up North
- Tips from Declutterella: How to ease into the back-to-school transition
- Bank of America Summer Intern Highlight: Kasia
- Design Your Dorm Room (on a college student’s budget)
- July 2015 (5)
- June 2015 (6)
- May 2015 (5)
- April 2015 (3)
- March 2015 (4)
- Designer Accessory Sale 2015 Preview: Casual Shoes
- Designer Accessory Sale 2015 Preview: Black Bags
- Oscar Glam, Goodwill Finds
- Festivities and Fun for Chinese New Year
- Expanded vintage selection at U-District!
- Thrifty Valentine’s Day Ideas: Treasure Hunt
- Thrifty Valentine's Day Ideas: Outdoor Adventures
- Thrifty Valentine’s Day Ideas: Throwback Fun
- Thrifty Valentine's Day Ideas: Coffee Cupping
- Thrifty Valentine's Day Ideas: Thrift Shop Gift Challenge
- Thrifty Valentine's Day Ideas: Variations on a Picnic
- Thrifty Valentine's Day Ideas: Private Movie Theater
- Thrifty Valentine's Day Ideas: Arts & Crafts
- Thrifty Valentine's Day Ideas: Ingredients-Only Potluck
- Thrifty Valentine's Day Ideas: Ferry Ride Picnic
- Thrifty Valentine's Day Ideas: Game Night
- January 2015 (6)
- December 2014 (2)
- Sparkle Sale: Cyber Monday Preview
- Seven ways to save money AND the environment during holiday party season
- Holiday DIY: Peacock Ornaments
- The Holidays Are Here!
- Glitter Sale 2014: The Best of the Rest
- Glitter Sale 2014: Make a Statement!
- Tips for Shopping the Glitter Sale
- Glitter Sale 2014: Holiday Brooches and Pins!
- Glitter Sale 2014: Get Ready to Party - Evening Gowns & Cocktail Dresses!
- Glitter Sale 2014: Brooch the Subject!
- Glitter Sale 2014: Celebrating Diane von Furstenberg!
- Glitter Sale 2014: Marc Jacobs
- Glitter Sale 2014: Dooney & Bourke
- Glitter Sale 2014: Little Black Dress
- Meet Erik Albidress: Makeup Artist
- Glitter Sale 2014: Discover Designer Jewelry at the Glitter Sale!
- Glitter Sale 2014: Creating style with Coach!
- Meet Ron Leamon: Professional Costume Designer
- Glitter Gala Interns: Jenn
- Glitter Sale 2014: Kate Spade
- Glitter Sale 2014: First Look
- Glitter Gala Interns: Sonya
- Halloween Trends 2014
- September 2014 (4)
- August 2014 (2)
- The Thrift Whisperer: Interview with Kim Holcomb
- Family Health & Safety Fair
- Thrifting is more fun than traffic
- Bringing instruments back to life: Mike & Mike’s Guitar Bar
- Eastside Treasures – Interview with Rebecca Klein
- Summer Online Music Festival & Giveaway
- Julie LaPuma: Manager of the largest Goodwill in the US
- All About Kate
- June 2014 (4)
- May 2014 (4)
- April 2014 (2)
- March 2014 (4)
- February 2014 (4)
- December 2013 (3)
- Glitter Sale 2013 Raises Record Amount
- Making Room for 2013 Glitter Sale Finds
- The Mission at Work – Innocent’s Story
- Glitter Sale Preview 2013: The Best of the Rest
- Glitter Sale 2013 Preview: Vintage Finds
- Glitter Sale 2013 Preview: Tips for Shopping the Glitter Sale
- Glitter Sale 2013 Preview: UW Pride
- Glitter Sale 2013 Preview: The Perfect Handbag
- Glitter Sale 2013 Preview: Holiday Pins
- Glitter Sale Preview: Mad for Plaid
- Glitter Sale 2013 Preview: Designer Shoes
- Glitter Sale 2013 Preview: Crushing on Coach
- Glitter Sale 2013 Preview: Animal Prints - Walk on the Wild Side
- Glitter Sale 2013 Preview: The Little Black Dress
- Glitter Sale 2013 Preview: Winter Whites
- Glitter Sale 2013 Preview: Burberry
- Halloween Costume Ideas and Contests
- Zipcar and Goodwill Partner for Donation Day Seattle on October 19
- Glitter Sale 2013: Eye Catching Emerald Green!
- Going for LEED Gold
- Goodwill is your Halloween Headquarters
- September 2013 (2)
- August 2013 (6)
- July 2013 (2)
- June 2013 (2)
- Come to the Goodwill Ribbon Cutting and Open House
- Goodwill Collecting Donations at Sasquatch Festival
- Give Goodwill!
- My New Book Club: Easy and Cheap
- Celebrating 90 Years | Learning at Seattle Goodwill
- Celebrating 90 Years | Live Hi Up - An Interview with Angela Moorer
- Donate Today and Help Build The Future
- Shopping Goodwill – My Favorite Finds
- Beyoncé is Lending Her Voice for GOOD
- Board Member and Volunteer James Thomas Helps Us Celebrate National Volunteer Week
- Put It Down For the Town - Celebrate Earth Day with Macklemore Monday!
- Donate to Goodwill in Honor of Earth Day
- Participate in our Earth Day Giveaway for a Chance to Win Macklemore Tickets!
- Celebrating 90 Years | Goodwill Style with Darcy Camden
- Spring Cleaning Helps Others Find Jobs
- Rat City Rollergirls Talk Thrift!
- Celebrating 90 Years | Store Manager Israel Juarez Knows the Power of Education
- Celebrating 90 Years | Volunteering at Goodwill
- Salvaging 35 Million Pounds
- Shop in Style at the Urban Girls’ Garage Sale
- Celebrating 90 Years | Shopping for Goodwill Fashions with Blogger Jess Estrada
- Celebrating 90 Years | The Early History of Seattle Goodwill
- Shop Our Designer Accessory Sale Starting Tomorrow!
- Water Cooler Conversations – What Not to Say
- Celebrating 90 Years - The Gift of Education
- Our Designer Accessory Sale is next Friday and Saturday!
- Celebrating 90 Years - Tina Witherspoon is Hooked on Thrift
- Get Organized – Tips to De-Clutter Your Life
- Celebrating 90 Years - Stories from the Community
- Celebrating 90 Years - Job Training at Goodwill
- Dress For the Job You Want
- Celebrating 90 Years – Charles Cross Talks Music, Mugs and Cheap Furniture
- Celebrating 90 Years - Thrifting Tips from Kim Holcomb
- Attend the Finale of Seattle’s Fashion Reality Show, The Look!
- Help Goodwill Celebrate 90 Years!
- January 2013 (4)
- December 2012 (4)
- Our Mission at Work: Meet Mary Jane
- Are You Ready for Winter Weather?
- Winter Wardrobe Wonderland
- Thank You for Making the 2012 Glitter Sale a Success!
- Glitter Sale 2012 is Finally Here - Time to Grab Some Designer Flats!
- Glitter Sale 2012: Get That Great Gatsby Look
- Glitter Sale 2012: Fresh Fall Trend: Hunter Green
- Glitter Sale 2012: Why You Should Get Up Early and Get in Line
- Glitter Sale 2012: Tips for Shopping the Glitter Sale
- Glitter Sale 2012: Make a Statement with an Eye-Catching Necklace
- Glitter Sale 2012 Favorites: Designer Shoes
- Glitter Sale 2012: The Little Black Dress
- Glitter Sale 2012: Tina’s Picks: If I Were Shopping Today, This is What I Would Buy
- Glitter Sale 2012: In Praise of Burgundy
- Glitter Sale 2012: Designer Bags Galore!
- Glitter Sale 2012: How to Create Personal Style: Include Vintage Pieces in the Mix
- Glitter Sale 2012: Husky Pride
- Glitter Sale 2013 Preview: Holiday Pins
- Glitter Sale 2012: Find The Perfect Dress for Any Occasion
- Glitter Sale 2012: Winter Whites Done Right
- Glitter Sale 2012: The Sheath Dress: A Short History
- Glitter Sale 2012: All That Glitters – Add Some Sparkle With Brooches
- Glitter Sale 2012: Shop Marc Jacobs
- Glitter Sale 2012: Update Your Wardrobe with Gold and Silver Metallics
- Build your Halloween Costume at Goodwill and Save Money!
- Glitter Sale 2012: Gucci, Coach and Jimmy Choo: Designer Clothing and Accessories
- Glitter Sale 2012: Fall Fashion: Black and Blue and Seen All Over
- Glitter Sale 2012: The Ever-Fashionable Animal Print
- Five Tips for New Job Seekers
- Glitter Sale 2012: From Burberry to North Face, cover up in these jackets and stay dry in the Seattle rain
- Glitter Sale 2012: Walk out with some amazing designer shoes!
- Glitter Sale 2012: Fresh Trends for Fall
- Glitter Sale 2012: Coming Soon!
- Finding a Good Job Fit When You Identify as LGBT
- Our Mission at Work: Meet Dolores
- Glitter 2012: The Animal Trend Gets Glittery
- Glitter Sale 2012: All About Leather
- Glitter Sale 2012: Designer Clothes for Men
- Our Mission at Work: Meet Nutjaree
- Glitter Sale 2012: Shop Diane von Furstenberg
- Glitter Sale 2012: Pin Me! Be Bold with Brooches
- September 2012 (5)
- Our Mission at Work: Meet Danilo
- Goodwill Craft Corner: T-shirt Scarves
- Let’s Get to Work: When Potential Employers Ask Illegal Questions
- We're beating the heat in vintage swimsuits
- Our Mission at Work: Meet Oscar
- Stay summery with bold patterns and bright colors
- Donate now at even more locations!
- The grand opening of our South Lake Union store!
- July 2012 (4)