ONE OF A KIND DESIGNS FROM A TRUE ORIGINAL
@muhrkmedia & Christian Meier
In New Zealand, a Maori term, Kia Kaha, is used to encourage strength and confidence, exactly what’s needed when pushing yourself to the limits both in training and racing. The last time we spoke with Caitlin Fielder, she was busy preparing for the 100km at the UTMB®. Talking to her again post-race, it’s hard to tell from her upbeat attitude that she didn’t get the result she was hoping for. We’re not sure if Caitlin, a native New Zealander, draws on Kia Kaha for strength or if she is just a naturally positive person, but she is philosophical about how it went and as enthusiastic as ever about the event.
It didn't go the way I wanted, but it's always a great event. I love the UTMB® and love racing around that area. 85% of the race went well, with no injuries, and I finished the course, so that's something to be happy about”
While she is currently back in training and preparing for a trip to Colorado, she also managed to carve out some time to work on her other passion – her artwork. Outside of running, she has a thriving career as an artist, and her custom-illustrated shoes are a much sought-after item by pro cyclists, many of whom have commissioned her for unique designs. However, her latest work is for an entirely different body part, as she has just designed her first BUFF® custom tubular. Unlike her one-of-a-kind custom shoe designs, this one will be released as a limited edition on her website, with profits going to environmental causes.
Caitlin studied environmental sciences and is keenly aware of many of the issues facing her homeland and those in her adopted European one, so creating a design based on native flora was an obvious and heartfelt choice. She is currently deciding which program to support as she is drawn to European rewilding projects as well as ocean-based preservation ones globally, but in keeping with her methodical and disciplined approach to life, she is doing careful research to make sure that her designs bring maximum benefits to the causes she cares about.
For Caitlin, artists have an essential role to play in making people think more deeply about the world around them in a subtly persuasive way.
The impressive thing about art is it's not so much that you've written a message on the wall. It’s open to so much interpretation based on the viewer. It can be used as a massive billboard to speak silently and advocate for issues that we are facing, like the climate crisis, biodiversity loss and species extinction. In terms of artists who are strong advocates for the issues we are facing today, I think of Banksy, who has created these seemingly simple yet powerful and striking images and places these artworks in everyday thoroughfare. His artwork invokes emotions in the viewers, provoking people to think deeper about situations and issues around the world”
Caitlin’s design includes flowers and ferns that are not only beautiful but also hold both personal significance for her and a broader symbolism drawn from traditional patterns. The design features the spiky flowers of the pohutukawa tree, whose bright red flowers bloom in December, giving it the title of New Zealand’s Christmas tree. It’s surrounded by the yellow flowers of the kowhai tree and the delicate white Manuka blooms that feed the bees that are the source of Manuka honey, famed for its healing properties. The curling fronds of the Ponga fern are also intertwined, as well as delicate line drawings, all inspired by Maori Koru patterns that represent the waves in the ocean and the flow of energy. It’s a truly original piece of art that perfectly represents the artist, athlete, and scientist who created it – Catlin Fielder, BUFF® ambassador, and true original.