I’ve made this series to highlight women who are starting out. They have created something out of nothing, following those whispers and are moving forward with bringing their dreams to life. I believe in the power of sharing our stories, supporting and lifting each other up. There is enough for everyone to be successful, in whatever way feels right for them.
I N T R O D U C I N G
“Slow and steady progress. There’s something about the rhythm of weaving that feels right to me. The dance of left and right, hands and feet, beater forward-beater back. Seeing the pattern emerge thread by thread and knowing that people have been repeating these same motions in much the same way for hundreds of years. Making cloth is a magical thing.” – Katie Evelyn Handwoven Textiles.
Katie lives in a little A-frame cottage by the sea on the east coast of Tasmania, and when not weaving, she is probably in the garden, reading, or dabbling in watercolour painting. Her love of weaving began the first time she sat at a loom and now she weaves every day.
Katie is inspired by folk culture, and by the ways in which the wild natural world intersects with our domestic and home lives: wildflowers in a vase, a view of the sea from within a window frame, old wood in the roof beams. This means her woven cloth often features natural motifs (flowers, leaves) while emphasising the cosy, comfortable qualities of natural fibres like wool and linen. Each piece of her handwoven cloth is created with the intention of it becoming an heirloom, as a small step in moving us away from the fast fashion and textile conveyor belt of consumption and waste.
Katie has been making cloth in one form or another for over a decade and she now weaves on a forty year old Swedish loom and loves knowing that when she weaves, she is doing much the same things in much the same way as our ancestors have done.
T H E Q U E S T I O N S
1. Would you share a little about yourself and why it is so important for you to follow those creative
I’m Katie, and I’m the handweaver behind Katie Evelyn Handwoven Textiles. I live in St Helens on the sunny east coast of Tasmania, surrounded by the sea and hills and bushland.
Ever since I can remember I’ve felt compelled to capture in some way my experiences of the natural world, whether it was in stories I wrote as a child, or shawls I knit while studying, or now the textiles I weave.
Weaving was the natural result of a journey through textiles. I learnt to knit at a young age, then took up spinning and dyeing my own yarn as an adult, with forays into sewing along the way. The thought of being able to create real, substantial, usable cloth from simple threads captured my imagination, and I love the natural rhythms of the weaving process. It connects me with a fundamental rhythm of creation that I think is too often lost in our modern lives.
2. Favourite time of the day?
It’s all my favourite! I enjoy the unique beauty of each part of the day. I love the light and stillness of dawn, the bright busyness of morning, the focus of midday, the slanted sunlight of afternoon, the soft mellowing of evening. I love observing my garden through the hours, noticing how the different qualities of light affect colours and scents.
3. Life is full of distractions, what keeps you focused?
That need to capture and express my experience of the natural world is always with me, and I feel at my best when I can do that every day. But I also make use of self-imposed deadlines!
4. What has surprised you?
The way in which my textiles have been received. I didn’t expect to find so many people out there who value ethical, slow making as much as I do. Handweaving is a very niche pursuit nowadays, and I’m so grateful to the people who have taken an interest in what I do, and who support my work by purchasing my textiles.
5. One piece of advice you would like to pass on to someone starting out?
Find your why — your big, heart-based reason for why you want to do this thing. Connect it to your values and the way you see the world, so that when you’re tired or frustrated by the process, you can take a step back and remember why it’s important to you to continue on.
Interview Series: Katie Evelyn Handwoven Textiles.
June 19, 2023