Art Talk | Tammy Kanat
When artist Tammy Kanat struggled to find an art piece for her home, she decided to make her own work of art - a tapestry piece to adorn her walls. From then on she was completely hooked on the technique, what has followed has been a journey of discovery into the wonderful rich world of textile art. Tammy has gained international recognition for her vibrant uplifting work and has since produced commissions for local and international clients, including a collaboration with Cadrys.
Hi Tammy, tell us about your journey to where you are today as a textile artist? I've always loved creating and experimenting with new ideas - it's my happy place. After 12 years as a jewellery designer, I was ready for a change and diverted my creative expression to textiles. My weaving journey began in 2011. After searching the internet for an art piece, I struggled to find the perfect wall art for my home so I decided to create my own tapestry. I completed my first self-taught wall art and fell in love with the process. I enrolled myself into the highly reputed Australian Tapestry Workshop to further my knowledge and learn traditional tapestry weaving techniques and understand the process - using different wools, techniques and textures.
Have you always been creative? It wasn't until I was in my twenties I discovered my passion for art, colour and creativity - I'm addicted to the process!
Colour and tone play a big part in your work - why are these elements so important to you? I have a very free attitude towards colour - I have absolutely no fear. I have loads of wool, silk and hessian all over my studio floor, part of the pleasure in creating a textile weaving is selecting the colours. I think colours can create a mood, happy, calm or dark.
I often select colours unconsciously based on my surroundings. If I'm weaving in the country or on a lake I tend to choose a lot of greens and blues. If I'm in the city I find myself reaching for pinks and greys. I could talk about colour all day!
What's the most fulfilling part about tapestry? Tapestry weaving has such a rich history, I feel so honored to be part of it and to explore this incredible art form. In this modern world there is so much immediate gratification, everything is so fast-paced.
Your ultimate indulgence? Loading up my basket with some beautiful, thick, soft and chunky merino wool. It's expensive but it's so incredible and indulgent to work with. I know I will be guaranteed to get some beautiful texture and soft shapes from the high quality of the wool.
Where do you gather inspiration for your designs? My surroundings - nature, music, clothing, buildings, interiors and other artists.
I find one of my favourite spots to weave is at Lake Eildon in Victoria where we have a houseboat and I am surrounded by the lake, sky and trees - it's such a beautiful location.
Can you describe your creative process? My creative process is based on my intuition. I start a piece without plan - I work with a sense of freedom. I never really have any intentions when I begin a design, my only hope is that I want to feel pleased and satisfied with the end result.
What’s been the best learning curve since you started working for yourself? I believe the trick to living and working creatively, is to do it for yourself and not for the accolades. I have a short story which I like to remind myself of – there was a famous singer who came on stage and performed for an adoring crowd despite being unwell. At the end of the performance an audience member thanked the singer for making the effort. The singer replied, ‘I don’t do it for you. I came out because it makes me feel better’.
What’s in store for you in 2017? Some exciting collaborations include exhibiting with artist Katharina Eisenkoeck and glass and ceramic artist Pia Wustenberg at Milan Design Week, and creating a tapestry commission for a client of Peter Marino Architects from New York. Also, my collaboration with Australian rug manufacturers Cadrys on a range of rugs entitled Tammy Kanat for Cadrys, The rugs were recently exhibited at The Den Fair 2017 and I'm currently working on a few more designs for the collection.
+ Photography by Nik Epifanidis @nikepifanidis