Cassia Kite’s arts training lies in painting, sculpture and education, but a few years ago she became interested in working with fiber—and a brand-new concept she calls Soundstitching.
It began with a quilt for her infant daughter, made of her father’s old work shirts. “They smelled like the farm,” she says, meaning her family’s farm in Nebraska. “My paternal grandmother played the piano, and I could remember hearing the music from inside when I was outside there. My maternal grandmother was a quilter. I wanted to try weaving the two together.”
With no musical training, Kite delved into researching sound and color. “I can read music, but it’s a different language for me,” she explains. Eventually, she developed a visual color scale for the piano—thinking of the note C as green, D as yellow, E as orange, F as red, and so on, creating octaves that ranged from lighter to darker, up and down the scale. That led to working with musicians and composers to transfer her color map-stitched pieces into notes, and then to collaborations with dance troupes and other performers in Nebraska, Missouri and St. Petersburg, who “read” her threads and colors, and then dance and perform to her unique musical tapestries.
Now, she’s working on Soundstitching projects closer to home. A few months ago, she began stitching roses from Mable’s garden at The Ringling, where she hopes to eventually see a related performance take place. “I’d like to stitch the C’a d’Zan, too,” she says. “Those stained glass windows would be wonderful.”