Social media has been a part of my life from the days of myspace. Ever since then, I have used the various platforms to check in on old friends, share photos and I have tried my best not to post anything too political against our newfound "president". But only recently have I used my talent (yes, I do find it a true talent), to scan through the various platforms of social media in a way that's beneficial to my work life. Case in point - my discovery of Australian master weaver Tammy Kanat, or rather as her impressive Instagram following knows her, @tammykanat.
Through either the explore page or hashtags or maybe even "suggested" follows, I stumbled upon this loom expert and was completely captivated by her skills. You can see by just a few scrolls down Kanat's colorful instagram page that this Aussie is a true textile artist. Other than her extremely apparent talent, with every click I could see Kanat's true passion for her work and began following right away.
After weeks of liking practically every instagram by Kanat, I couldn't help but reach out to see if she would be willing to take on a custom commission. Luckily enough for some special clients, Kanat was willing. Even luckier, when asked, Kanat was willing to take the time to share some of her creative wisdom with all you cmq readers. As a business women and an innovative entrepreneur Kanat was able to shine a light on how she got to where she is, the key to staying motivated as a freelancer and so much more.
Lets start with, where did you get your start in the weaving world?
After 12 years as a jewelry designer I diverted my creative outlet to textiles. My weaving journey began in 2011, when I enrolled into the highly reputed Australian Tapestry Workshop to learn and refine the complex skill of tapestry weaving. In 2014 I had my fist exhibition called “The Spirit” consisting of hand woven wall art, vessels and sculptures which established me as a textile artist.
You have such a unique and expressive way to mix colors within your weaves. What comes first in your process - the pattern or the color scheme?
I enjoy combining both color and texture in my work. It is hard to say which comes first as my tapestries intuitively evolve during the weaving process. Planning makes me fell uneasy, I love the freedom of weaving and I don’t want to limit the creative process by setting certain limitations including patterns and colors.
Scrolling through your instagram it looks a though you have countless weaving techniques within your arsenal, how do you go about learning a new technique?
I believe experimenting is the best way to discover new techniques. In my weaving workshops I always say the best techniques and are often discovered when I make a mistake. I don’t believe weaving has any wrong techniques they are all just different outcomes. Again there is a freedom in weaving you can explore the art form knowing there are no mistakes.
You even teach! Tell me a bit more about your workshops.
When I started weaving 6 years ago many people were interested in the art form and asked if I could teach them. I ran my first weaving workshop at my favorite wool shop Wondoflex (50 year old wool shop) we had a small group of 4 and I loved the experience. Teaching is extremely rewarding. Tapping into people’s creativity they thought they never had. I believe everyone is creative it is just how much they want to pursue it. The only experience you need is to have an open mind and enjoy the journey. I often feel teaching is more rewarding for me as I see people walking out with their colorful weaving looms feeling so happy and satisfied. They get to tap into a part of themselves they never knew they had.
I have a link on my instagram to book into my workshops or people email me for the details.
How do you go about getting new projects and clients? Is it typically word of mouth or does your instagram play a major role in your business?
It is a mixture of word of mouth and instagram. However instagram has been an incredible platform to connect with so many people in so many different countries. I have also been able to connect and share with other textile artists which have the same weaving passion
or textile obsession as me.
Your surroundings are absolutely incredible. Does your environment play a role in your work?
I believe weaving is an ever evolving and timeless art form and an enchanting way to share my surroundings.
My surroundings are very important to me. Greenery is a must, either holidaying in the bush or being surrounded by lots and lots of plants in my home and the garden. I like to fill my home with artisan objects that I can connect with. Things will catch my eye or resonate with me and I know they will find a place in my home. My design aesthetic is my own mix of objects, paintings and accessories that my husband and I have built up over time. I like to surround myself with things that have meaning. I would say my design style is organic.
Somehow you found the time to collaborate with Cadrys and create your own rug collection. That's amazing! Was the design process very different than your typical weave process?
This has been the most rewarding, challenging and amazing journey. It is a lot more complex than I initially anticipated however the results have been very exciting and we have had such a positive response form our unique designs.
Rug expert Bob Cadry first saw my work at my Spirit exhibition. He was moved by my authentic creative passion and felt I had a sense of artistry though combining both color and texture that would compliment Cadrys. Together with Cadrys we continue to experiment with new ideas, concepts, fibers and techniques in the time honored traditional craft of hand knotted rugs. This medium allowing me to upscale my work into the new environments.
Cadrys x Tammy Kanat
As a freelancer in the art world, what is one major piece of advise you can give a fellow artist looking to branch out on their own?
I was told this story and I would give this advice to all artisans.
My friend travelled to the other side of the world to see a famous musician. He came out to sing and play his beautiful instrument however he was very sick with the flu, he played to the crowd and his music was exceptional.
At the end of the performance a crowd member thanked him for making the effort to come and sing for everyone even though he was so unwell. The singer looked at the man in the audience totally confused and he said to him. I do not come out on the stage to sing for you I come out on this stage to sing for myself because it makes me feel good and happy.
I would say to any artist don’t lose touch with why you originally embarked on your artistic journey! It is great if others can appreciate it but at the core your best work is when you stay true to yourself.
And finally, you're obviously a major Girl Boss with unbelievable work ethic, can you share a bit of whats next in the world of Tammy Kanat?
I have a few exciting collaborations. I love collaborating with creative companies and developing unique ideas and designs. Working with textiles in an original way to create diverse products.
My current collaborations are with Cadrys the latest collection will be exhibited at The Den Fair in Melbourne. Robert Plumb we have developed a unique range of outdoor furniture
I get great satisfaction in collaborating on projects and producing commissions for people to live with and enjoy. I love working closely with interior designers and architects to develop unique pieces for their clients. I am currently working on a few exciting commissions and am looking forward to seeing the final pieces.
all images can be found on @tammykanat