Meet Westwood Artist Kathy Zola: Blending Craftsmanship with Yankee Practicality


Photo courtesy of Kathy Zola. In this picture, Westwood Artists co-founder Kathy Zola is busy at weaving.

Westwood Artists co-founder Kathy Zola explains what she calls a hair-splitting but meaningful difference between an artist and an artisan. “To me, artists make stuff that you look at and contemplate the meaning of life or whatever – more cerebral responses. I want to make things that are useful in hands-on productive ways. To me, that speaks of artisanry, high-end craftmanship,” she says.

“[M]y inner artist craves beauty while my inner Yankee requires practicality,” she explains.

Indeed, while customers may find Ms. Zola’s works in knitting and weaving yarn attractive, and she is careful to pay attention to aesthetics like color, balance, and design, her offerings are also very practical - towels, warm mittens, and other clothing to wear that are useful for keeping away the New England chill.

Photo courtesy of Kathy Zola. While relaxing at the beach, the practical-minded Kathy Zola makes use of her time sitting in a beach chair by completing some knitting.

When Ms. Zola was unable to find an organization of people with a passion for artisanry in Westwood, she and four others – very practically - founded Westwood Artists.

“While there were communities in surrounding towns like Dedham, Norwood, Medfield, [and] Needham, there was nothing here in Westwood,” she says. After meeting like-minded people, “We decided to support each other and create opportunities for other creative folk in Westwood to come together,” she says.

Ms. Zola’s interest in art, like other Westwood Artists, started at a young age. She was drawing and making things, and then began knitting at age 8. At age 11, she completed her first sweater, albeit an unwearable one, she says. In college, she “dabbled” in weaving. Finally, about 10 years ago, she took up weaving seriously.

“I love the tactile qualities of good yarn,” says Ms. Zola.

Photo courtesy of Kathy Zola. Artisan Kathy Zola concentrates on her weaving at the loom.

When she is not knitting or weaving, Ms. Zola enjoys viewing the work of other artists by frequenting galleries and museums. She also makes time for walks, gardening, reading ,word games, and thinking deep thoughts.

Ms. Zola’s creations, and those of other Westwood Artists, can be viewed at the upcoming Westwood Walkabout, an event in three locations around town. Members of Westwood Artists will be showing their wares, in time for holiday shoppers, at the Westwood Historical Society’s Fisher School this Saturday, December 2nd, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Thanks to Kathy Zola for sharing her story with Westwood Minute.

You may also be interested in reading:

Meet Westwood Artist Maureen Obey: Painter of Oils and Pastels

- Meet Westwood Artist Lisa WB Walker: Telling a Story in Clay

Westwood Holiday Walkabout: Two Fairs, an Artists' Marketplace, and a Concert

- How to Support Small Businesses This Holiday Season

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