What makes the mind always follow a certain pattern?
If it lets go fo one pattern, it picks up another;
it keeps on functioning all the time that.
Kim Nemeth explores the complexities of seeing, within the constraints of weaving. In response to her latest show at Brasserie Four, we discussed the relevant work of Anni Albers, weaver and participant of the Bauhaus movement and Black Mountain College. Albers, who wrote Work with Materials in 1937 (orginally published in the Black Mountain College Bulletin in 1938,) about the freeing quality of simplicity, gives “a suggestion.”
“…we must come down to earth from the clouds where we live in vagueness, and experience the most real thing there is: material.”
Nemeth’s show states “woven wall work explores what happens when patterns change.” In discussion she adds that her work examines “the distance and dissonance between the external landscape and the internal dialogue.” These abstract ideas each give there own direction to the new work, and as Albers suggests,
“(Material) introduces boundaries for a task of free imagination….within set limits the imagination can find something to hold to. ”
For Nemeth these limitations are set by paper, steel, monofilament and linen. Starting with the intersection of the warp and weft, pattern and line are questioned, manipulated, and layered, allowing her to produce a show of ethereal landscapes, arguments, and dreams.
With a degree in Art History from the College of Wooster, Nemeth’s first exposure to weaving was at the Kirkman House Museum in Walla Walla, WA. As an AmeriCorps volunteer, along side local master weavers, a Textile Center was developed to showcase local fiber artists and the process of spinning, dying and weaving. Shortly after, she purchased her first loom and began the slow process of teaching herself how to warp a loom and weave.
In 2012, Nemeth formed woven, a small business that makes and sells wearable, functional items; cowls, scarves, ponchos and wraps. While continuing the wearable items, in 2015, she began weaving as an art form - stripping away functionality to create fine, complex wall and ceiling hangings.
what do you call yourself?
Weaver. Sometimes crafter. Sometimes artist.
describe a pivotal moment in your life
On October 5, 2015, I sent a message to Hannah MacDonald, then owner of Brasserie Four.
“Would you ever consider allowing me to show woven wall hangings at the restaurant?”
Up until that time, I’d only ever made functional items – scarves, tea towels, etc. The spring prior, I had dinner at the restaurant. Looking at the then current art show, Augusta Sparks Farnum’s Besides the Garden: New Works I wondered if I could ever make pieces that would cover such a space. It made me nervous and excited. But that’s the thing, right? The small whisper that is a bit incongruous? It’s easy to ignore; I had had it before. I mulled it over, building courage. I sent that question out to the universe.
This pivotal moment, was a strange harbinger of change. Shortly after, my life really shifted. The repeating patterns I had created and lived in were challenged, altered, changed.
My weavings shifted too, into dissecting pattern, tearing apart structure. I really began to think of fiber and weaving as a way to translate things I’ve no words for, to build my visual language.
When she responded “um….yeah!” and my first wall hanging show was in March, 2016.
Talk about a connecting thread that spans throughout your work
Researching historical patterns and structures is integral to my work. Then, manipulating those patterns to explore the complexities of viewing – all those shifting layers we look through to see – to expose each element.
What is your favorite tool? How do you use it?
My Schacht heddle/reed hook. It is how I warp and set the loom. I’ve had it since I warped my first loom.
Where do you make your work?
Here is Walla Walla, I converted my one car garage into a studio. I do all my weaving and finishing there. It gets challenging when making the bigger pieces. I don’t have the space to hang them before install, so there’s always a little bit of mystery/terror when putting them up, because I’m never totally sure how they will look until they’re up…
Do you nap?
Almost every day. I like to wake up early, I work late, it’s the only way that’s possible.
warp: the lengthwise or longitudinal threads held stationary in tension on a frame or loom
weft: the transverse of warp, threads that run horizontally on the loom and get drawn through and inserted over-and-under the warp.
heddle/reed hook: a double ended hooked implement used to thread a strand of the warp through the eye of the heddle. The opposite end, often a larger hook, is used to sley the reed (pull warp threads through the reed).
To learn more about Kim Nemeth