Interview with Katherine Alexander

by Roxanne Phillips, MFA
Printmaker and Master Printer, Pele Prints

Artist Katherine Alexander.

Roxanne Phillips: Describe your artistic process/technique.
Katherine Alexander: Pysanky is the folk art of writing on eggs. Why eggs? They represent the renewing energy of spring, pristine symmetry in nature, and unstoppable force of new life. My technique is traditional; I use a wax-resist batik method to layer one color at a time onto a real unaltered eggshell. I’ve modernized this classic form by working on exotic eggs from large ostrich shells to tiny quail eggs for necklace pendants.

Katherine Alexander. Pysanky artworks in-progress.

R: Do you have a studio routine? Most creative time of day to work? Process of thinking or setting up before you begin making?
K: During daylight hours I am mothering two energetic boys while allowing my mind to simmer on my next project. Once they are upstairs tucked into bed, I can get to work artistically. I often close the door to their room saying “Have sweet dreams” while they answer “Make good art.” I always know what I’ll be working on before I even hit the first stair down.  

Trio of Pysanky artworks by Katherine Alexander.

R: How has Coronavirus changed your art practice?
K: The more dismal Covid has made our world, the harder I’ve thrown myself at optimistic symbols. I’ve been adding hummingbirds to daffodil themed pieces and included irises, daylilies, and tulips to my floral repertoire. I’ve also become more prolific with jewelry during this time because I can ship pendants so quickly and easily. Necklace sales have helped keep my business afloat while my larger public displays are shut down. 

R: What inspired you to become a member of Art Saint Louis?
K: Art Saint Louis’s inclusivity bonds our community together. We grow stronger by encouraging one another, taking risks, and expressing ourselves authentically. I always leave receptions with a new perspective and a fresh energy to create. 

Katherine Alexander. Hatch To Fly: Broad-Billed Hummingbird. 2020. Pysanky Eggshells on Velvet, 12”x15”. $800.

R: What is your favorite piece, which you have created?
K: In my “Hatch To Fly” series, I write traditional pysanky eggs and then shatter them. I then take the beautiful fragments and reimagine them into collages of birds in flight. My ninth bird in the series is this busy hummingbird. Her cousin, a cardinal I created in 2019, will be in the permanent collection of the Pysanka Museum in Ukraine


Katherine Alexander is a second generation Polish immigrant who learned pysanky from her mother. She draws inspiration from the art's original purpose of celebrating the changing seasons and inherent beauty of symmetry in nature. Anytime her sons are asleep, she has a kistka in hand hoping her husband will play guitar while she works. She researched this ancient pagan art and created a lecture to share it's rich symbolism and challenging technique. Her goal is to elevate this folk tradition to high art status by bringing it into galleries and art fairs.


Roxanne Phillips is an artist and art educator based in St. Louis since 2001. She earned a MFA in Printmaking & Drawing from Washington University in St. Louis and BFA in Painting & Drawing from University of North Texas. She has worked with Art Saint Louis since 2017 as Administrative Assistant and Installer and since 2018 as Master Printer for Pele Prints. She also works as adjunct art instructor at Washington University in St. Louis. Her works have been featured in numerous exhibitions throughout the St. Louis region including at Art Saint Louis, Crossroads Art Studio & Gallery, and St. Louis Artists’ Guild. Her work is currently available at Union Studio in St. Louis. She has served as exhibit Juror for several regional exhibits & art fairs. Roxanne is past Board member of St. Louis Women’s Caucus for Art.