Murray Kaough’s paintings, leatherwork and “Texas Toile” fabric are inspired by nature, particularly West Texas’ Big Bend area. She proclaims it her soul country. She loves to travel and can’t wait until the pandemic ends and it’s safe to travel outside the U.S. She lives with her husband on a few acres south of Elgin with a few dogs, cats, birds and chickens. Her kids are grown now but went to school in Elgin.
1. Why did you move to the Elgin area?
We moved to the Colorado River bottom, 11 miles south of Elgin, about 30 years ago! Amazing, right? It was truly dark sky then and so much more uninhabited. I remember how hard it used to be to find our road at night, as there were no lights around. In those days you did NOT just zip out for a pizza! I need open space and feel like I can think better if there aren’t too many people crowded around all the time. Of course this does not include dogs, animals, trees, birds….they are welcome in large numbers at all times.
2. What compels you to spend time creating?
Busy hands are happy hands, I always say! My creative outlets are not only a true source of happiness, but also a necessary component in maintaining my good health and pleasant disposition :). I’m not really good at sitting around and genuinely prefer to be doing something productive. Painting is my first love, leatherwork is my side hustle, and gardening is another form of creative expression that requires a lot of watering and occasionally produces items I can actually eat. I also write and am co-founder of WEAVE (Women Engaged Artfully in Vital Expression), a women’s group started in 2019 to support women’s creative expression and to advance the integration of the divine feminine worldwide.
3. Tell me three things you’ve learned in the past five years.
This is really a hard one, as I’m learning new things all the time! Curiosity is the fountain of youth! I guess I would say:
Persistence and discipline are the keys to success. I know it sounds dull! Make a space, set regular studio hours, and just keep hammering away at it until you produce results that please you. But try to hammer in a playful, easy-does it sort of way, where you can enjoy the process as much as the end result.
Keep stepping out of your comfort zone to keep it fresh. Cultivate wonder to feed your inspiration! Reach across mediums to try something you don’t usually work in. Maybe take a class, look at magazines, go to a museum, follow other makers on instagram, look at things upside down…PLAY!
Follow your interests. You just never know where you will end up.
4. What are you currently making, reading, watching, or listening to?
I’ve really enjoyed making nature spirit charms lately, under my Mode Less Travelled line – painted leather butterflies and feathers, imbued with good juju and meant as blessings in the world. I’m eager to start a new canvas! For some reason, I’ve been obsessed with the scarlet ibis lately, and want to work one into a painting. Also jackrabbits. And the moon…
5. Cake or Pie?
Hmmm. I guess I’m generally more of a savory than sweets person… Maybe pecan pie. But not too gooey in the center, and with toasted pecans. Are you sure you shouldn’t list cookies as a third option? I’m craving cardamom cookies lately.