The fiber arts have long been known for their place in history. The tradition has been passed down from generation to generation and people have used these crafts as an outlet for for their creativity and a stress reliever. But it is the intersection of this tradition and innovation that really interests me. I love innovation. New ideas, finding a better way to do things, creating a faster, more efficient process. This is what drives me.
Kris McDermet is sitting right in the middle of this intersection I am describing. I have known Kris for a long time and been familiar with her work but have never had the chance to hear her speak about her process. This woman is so far a head of her time, I am not sure people truly understand what they are looking at when they see her work.
If you aren't familiar with Kris, she is primarily known for her rug braiding. Rug braiding is the simplistic circle and oval shapes that are used as floor rugs. Like many rug hookers, Kris is pushing this boundary by incorporating other materials like yarn, roving and silk. She has also begun to mix braiding with rug hooking (and other techniques as well). The way she lets the art guide her in the process is truly intriguing. Rather than following a strict process for creating each piece, she sets out with a mission but stays flexible as she moves through out. The result - simply stunning.
Her most notable piece - which was recently featured in Rug Hooking Magazines celebrations! - a kimono. She combined rug braiding a rug hooking to make a 3 dimensional Japanese kimono. I believe that these traditional techniques are on the verge of a renaissance. In the next few years you will begin to see the intersection of some of these traditional arts with the main stream craft world and even the fashion industry.
Call me crazy - I am. Crazy for this art that is in my blood and I am here to help it grow in ways it never thought it could. Recently, in Chicago we met a high end, couture fashion designer who wants to feature our artwork on his clothes. We are currently working with him to make this dream a reality.
My ask of you - when rug hooking and rug braiding is being displayed in your local Banana Republic and Gap, remember the woman who did it first, Kris McDermet
Photos below. Pardon my feeble attempt at photography.
Want to learn more from Kris? Check out her book below.