To Kim, no day is complete without having carved out a bit of time at the wheel, the dye pot or the loom. Fibre artist Kim McKenna of Langley, British Columbia is both a creative catalyst and an exceptional teacher. Her sound knowledge in the areas of fibre and dyeing is a result of her education which includes a B.Sc., Integrated Sciences at Carleton University in Ottawa and her 38 years of spinning, dyeing and weaving experience. Kim’s science background has led her to constantly research and experiment with dyes and fibres. Her observations and careful documentation allows her to replicate results, understand the intricacies of the dye and fibre at hand as well as to determine what limits she can push them to. But this knowledge will bring her only so far. It is when she follows her intuition that she is led on to truly new and exciting work.
Often people are hesitant to dye their own yarns or fabric because they are afraid of ruining a project after countless hours of spinning, knitting or weaving. Kim enjoys helping artists get past that, taking the guesswork out of dyeing and developing a solid understanding of the process involved. Her well-researched and tested self-study modules and workshops are presented in small, easily digested “bytes” which serve as building blocks for the arts of dyeing and spinning.
|“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
– Albert Einstein
”Those who dedicate themselves to practice without science are like sailors going to sea without a compass or a rudder who never can say for sure where they are going.
Practice must always be based on sound theory.”
– Leonardo da Vinci
Kim was instrumental in the development of Treenway’s Salt Spring Island Series, a line of handpainted tussah silk roving. She was published in Spin Off magazine’s 2005, 2007 as well as their ebook edition “Spin-Off Presents: All About Silk” as well as PLY magazine’s 2015 Winter Issue. She has taught workshops and lectured on the arts of dyeing and spinning for weaving and spinning guilds, ANWG (Association of Northwest Weavers Guild), Fibres West, Knit City Vancouver, museums, Olds College (Fibre Week), schools, arts festivals, arts centers, fibre festivals and retreats. In 2013/14 Kim was the faculty member in charge the Spinning and Dyeing Program at Place des Arts in Coquitlam.
Kim believes that our hands are simply an extension of our hearts. Although she finds teaching and collaborative projects challenging and rewarding, they are no more satisfying or special than those everyday, ordinary, well-used items that we are able to turn by hand to grace our homes or the lives of a loved one.