A RICH TAPESTRY
Balancing CREATIVITY and BUSINESS can make or break many artists. But this CRAFTER seems to have weaved together a design for SUCCESS.
Ithink I might have been a tapestry weaver in a past life,” says Tammy Kanat, as she stands before her loom in her picturesque home studio in Melbourne’s east. So deep is Tammy’s passion for this old tradition, that she can often be found surrounded by threads of wool and silk as early as 5am.
“It’s my happy place. If I’m stressed about anything, I can just go and weave and it’s like a meditation. Thoughts go in and out of my head. It soothes me and there’s a rhythm to it,” she says.
While it’s notoriously challenging to make a living as an artist, Tammy, 46, found critical acclaim, plus a strong customer base, almost immediately upon completion of her first work. As soon as she launched, she had commissions coming from around the globe. Which is no small feat considering Tammy was initially self-taught.
After struggling to find the perfect wall art for her new home renovation, she took herself off to Melbourne institution Wondoflex Yarn Craft Centre to create her own piece. When she returned to Wondoflex to show off her work, the staff confirmed she was doing “something special”, and she enrolled in a series of classes at the Australian Tapestry Workshop.
“I wanted to learn the traditional tapestry weaving techniques, and really understand them, to then be able to become really free with using different wools and textures,” she explains.
“I can be inspired by anything. It can be tiles on the floor. It can be the colours of the land, the water, the greens of the trees or the red earth,” she says, citing US interior designer Kelly Wearstler, German textile artist Gunta Stolzl and US artist Josef Albers as being among some of her biggest inspirations for her craft.
Tammy’s works range in price from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on the size and the materials she uses, from silk to wool, rope, hessian and hemp. No two pieces are alike.
“I love playing with new ideas. I like experimenting. I do get a buzz out of creating something that just doesn’t exist,” she says.
Since launching, Tammy has exhibited her works locally and, more recently, alongside designer-maker Katharina Eisenkoeck and glass and ceramic artist Pia Wüstenberg at 2017 Milan Design Week. She also collaborated with local rug manufacturer Cadrys and with New York-based architect Peter Marino, who’s renowned for designing highfashion boutiques for clients including Dior, Louis Vuitton and Bulgari. Marino discovered Tammy on Instagram. >