We are excited to continue our series, FeelGood Features, with fiber artist Kate Kilmurray! FeelGood Features showcases artitsts that work with upcycled/recycled and sustainable materials, or focus on making with intention. Because it’s not only important WHY we quilt, but it’s also important HOW we quilt. Our hope is that this series will introduce you to artists that you will love learning about and will demonstrate the ways in which you, too, can incorporate sustainable materials into your craft and practice creating with intention. Thanks for being here!
Kate Kilmurray practices the art of handweaving as a form of embodied meditation. Making beautiful handwoven textiles helps her to tap into inner stillness and creativity; and she teaches other women to do the same—to slow down, engage the rhythms of the body, and access a state of wholeness and flow.
Kate has been teaching yoga and meditation for more than thirty years, and this is evident in her artistic practice. Kate’s experience of weaving is one of presence, awareness, and ritual. Her designs reflect inner stillness and deep communion with the colors, textures, and patterns of the natural world. By incorporating handweavings in our homes, we bring more depth, beauty, and meaning to our daily lives, and Kate’s beautiful textiles are sold at over 100 lifestyle stores across the US, as well as speciality shops in Japan, Denmark and Canada.
How did you get started making weavings?
Several years ago, I unearthed a forgotten item from my childhood; a simple 7×7 inch metal handloom. Holding that loom, I rediscovered weaving and remembered something that we, as a culture, have forgotten – we can always access inner stillness and peace through simple, embodied practices. I had been practicing and teaching yoga and meditation for thirty years and realized that my introduction to meditation had happened in childhood, weaving on a handloom. My practice of Weaving as Meditation was born and I’m pleased to say my work is now stocked in stores across the globe.
How do you infuse your work with intention?
Within the craft of handweaving, it can be easy to find yourself fitting within a structured form. With the traditional tool of a metal loom, the regularity and evenness of the square can lead the weaver to create solely geometric or ordered work, following established rules of pattern.
By meditating as part of my weaving practice and being open to all natural points of inspiration within my work, there is a new layer of meaning that is emerging through my deep connection with the materials I am using to weave. I let go of pattern and formal structure and embrace the organic process to create my own original patterns.
Does using natural, cotton materials have any additional impact/value for you personally? (i.e. does it make you feel more connected to the earth)?
As a champion of a traditional form of crafting, I am always looking at ways to be more considerate of the environment within my work. I work with a plant-based textile artist who uses sustainable, seasonal flowers and plants to hand-dye my cotton loops, further deepening the connection I feel with the natural textiles I hold within my hands.
What project are you working on now and how would you describe it?
My current body of work is the product of a deeply organic meditative process, allowing me to delve into highly original weaving terrain. The freeing release of listening to the loops, working with knots, using variegated colors of different thickness, combining wool with cotton and the pairing of various weaving techniques is bringing something totally new and uncharted in this style of weaving. It’s opening a new palette and a new expression of beauty in this square form. I am incredibly excited by this completely original work. It brings much depth, meaning and purpose to my life and I am elevated by what the future holds for my work for years to come.