Kim McKechnie

In Kim’s own words:

Originally I just had a dining table and that’s where I used to do work and then when I started at RMIT (Textile Design and Development course) I needed to get a table set up so that I could have my computer and all the basic tools and equipment laid out and still be able to eat at the dining table. I found that a lot of the work that I was doing was quiet big and involved a lot of different processes. It just tended to spread itself around naturally, beyond the table. And then I started weaving, and weaving just takes up so much space! I wanted to buy a really small table loom and I Iooked for months and months for one. I got offered that big floor loom that I’ve got now, but to have it I had to get rid of something, it wouldn’t fit in. So I thought: I am so busy doing study and work, I didn’t have time to sit on the couch anyway… (laughs). So I got rid of the couch to fit in the loom! I miss it every day, but I would miss the loom more.

The loom came, the couch went and it stayed like that for a long time, about four or five years. It was a bit more of a combination of studio and living: I had big cushion for the floor so that I could sit down. And then I acquired a table loom as well and there was no longer space to eat on the dining table. I also didn’t have anywhere to set up my sewing machine, and I became a bit frustrated because I wasn’t sewing. So I decided to set up a separate sewing table and move any form of living out of that room all together. It actually worked better then I ever expected it to.

I think it’s taken me a long while to understand that my work encompasses a lot of different things: I don’t just weave, and I don’t just sew, and I don’t just make books and work with paper – it’s all of those things together. Now I kind of have different workspaces within that room for each of those things and if the mood strikes and I just want to spend half an hour doing one thing I don’t have to spend that time setting up, it’s all here. I think it made me a lot more focused and I use my time a lot better now. I often find that I’m working on this one particular idea or thing and it tends to feed into all the different areas (of my work). There is a project I’m working on at the moment, it started as woven work but that same idea is about to move into some paper pieces as well. It’s really nice to have a space like that, where there’re woven samples hanging up with paper samples and half-made clothing hanging over the chair – I like that it’s not divided.

I am dyeing a lot of the yarns that I use myself: it’s more economical to buy a bulk of raw yarn and to dye it. I started it by default, just because I couldn’t get the colors I wanted or because it was not affordable, so I had to, I really didn’t have a choice. I still do it a little bit reluctantly, but it is really beautiful too, when I dyed the whole set of yarns and they go into my book – my library of recipes and colors. I do love sitting there with the cards and playing with different combinations and makings notes of combinations that I could try in the future, thinking of what I can do with them. And not necessarily coming up with combinations that I traditionally use, because I use quiet a neutral palette. I’ve been forcing myself to die things that aren’t within my palette: brighter colors, just more colors, so that I have reference there that hopefully will push me to use other colors rather then just greys and naturals.

So I’m building up my collection of dye cards. I am getting a little bit more confident with just trying different things and seeing if they work. Within one color there might be a whole lot of different shades that I could dye – so it’s endless and I don’t ever expect to get to the end of it. It’s going to be a nice record to have and over numerous years it will show where my interests have been.

I’d like to have a lot of space around, I would really love to have trees and greenery. I don’t like feeling like I’m living in a concrete block. I’ve grown up in the country and that’s where it comes from. My dream is one day to have a studio with lots of space and to have a really large outdoor area where I can wheel my loom outside and weave – this is my absolute dream. I think that’s what will happen eventually, I really look forward to the day but now there are certain things that keep me here and from moving to the country.

To see Kim’s work and find out more: http://shipbuildingblog.blogspot.com.au/

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3 comments
  1. naoko said:

    beautiful photos
    with quiet air
    and her calm atmosphere…

  2. cathie said:

    every part is inspiring… the work, the words, the photography

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