Her work is inspired by an ancient Chinese literati tradition of inscribing poems on to objects. Her technique involves composing poetry that reflects or contrasts with the nature of the object of her choosing. The letters that form these poems are cut from felt fabric and applied in different techniques, depending on the object.
Through her scholarly examination of the memory of objects Daudy explores concepts of communication and language, spirituality, solitude and East/West relations. The concept of writing on objects originates to the beginning of Chinese civilization, when tortoise shells and scapulae were used to predict the future. These ‘oracles bones’ would go through a process of being burnt in the dying embers of a fire then in accordance with how the bones and shells cracked Chinese shaman would foresee the future and subsequently write what they had predicted on those shells.
This was particularly prevalent in the Shang Dynasty(1600-1046 BC). The calligraphic writing or inscribing of poems onto objects became an elevated art form in itself, perpetuated by the ruling Emperors, who would compose poems to be inscribed onto paintings or works of art of special significance to them. By perpetuating this literary tradition as a contemporary plastic art form Kate Daudy’s work has brought these ancient concepts even back to mainland China itself, where the tradition had been lost.
Her first show “Written in Water” (2009) with Grant White at the Galerie Marie Victoire Poliakoff in Paris examined the memories associated with items of clothing, inscribing vintage dresses with poems that reflected their identity. Le Figaro compared Daudy's and White's work to that of Jean Cocteau and Elsa Schiaparelli. Yellow Mountains, Red Letters exhibited at Bonham's London 2010 featured her calligraphic works on photographs by Chinese art specialist Daniel Eskenazi.
A committed peacenik, her most celebrated work, the "War Dress" was commissioned by the Southbank Centre, London for the Poetry International festival. She has since collaborated with Lemn Sissay, Glyndebourne Opera, Yang Lian,House of Voltaire, Grant White, the Southbank Centre, Poetry International, Rufus Wainwright and other artists and poets including the Icelandic singer Björk. Her work features in museums and major private collections throughout the world.