As an art educator, fiber artist and Etsy seller, Kimmy Compton, otherwise known as ‘gatherhandwoven’, has wide access to the best tools in this trade. The business owner, who recently celebrated her store’s 3rd anniversary, has so graciously agreed to let us take a peek into her tool kit, and gives her advice on curating our very own. It’s always good to pay attention to the teacher, so sit up and have a listen to what Kimmy has to share!
1. Describe yourself and what you do.
I’m a fiber artist and an elementary art teacher in Chicago. I love engaging kids in art-making and thinking big, and playing with techniques that I’ve never done before.
My work is inspired by the continual juxtaposition of natural forms and structural geometry that echo the complexity of place. I often collect materials such as bark and sticks, whether in the woods or in the city, and incorporate them into my weavings. The colors and textures in my work echo this inspiration from nature. I’m currently experimenting with natural dyes and loving learning more about how it is both a intuitive and methodical process.
2. Messy or organized? How does this trait affect your creative process?
Both! As an art teacher, I’m a bit neurotically organized with materials when they are not in use. However, my process for weaving is fairly organic, so once I get in the zone there can be stuff everywhere. I need lots of materials around in order to explore as I create, especially with my textural pieces. I believe having a space of one’s own to spread out and engage in process-based chaos is important for flow. That said, keeping organized afterwards is essential to balance it all out.
3. Any tips to sourcing the best tools and supplies?
Consider quality and simplicity when investing in a new tool. Also, be inventive! If you look at the weaving books from the 70’s, there are dozens of ways to make your own looms and tools based on supplies you might have on hand or easy access to.
4. Name one tool you cannot live without, and why.
I can’t live without a pair of razor sharp embroidery scissors. I love their design and how effectively they allow me to trim fringe and textures with detail and precision.
5. What is your most recent purchase?
I recently purchased a swift winder to help me transfer yarn from skeins. I’ll be releasing some specialty yarn packs in my shop this fall and I’m hoping it will make the job less of a tangle!
6. What is your best under$10 spent?
Hands down most used cheapest tool: plastic pick comb from the dollar store. I love the beauty of handmade wooden beaters, but this is the one always in my hand! Bonus: they come in lots of fun colors.
From left (top to down): Wooden Swords, $10.25 – $12.25 (depending on size), from Lost Pond Looms; Wooden Shuttle Sticks, $15 – $19 for set of 3 (depending on size), from Lost Pond Looms; Shelia Hicks: Weaving as Metaphor Book, $200, from Amazon; Weaving Comb, from Dollar store or Amazon; Bent Tapestry Needle, from fabric stores; Micron Pen, from Blick; Ticonderoga Pencil, from Amazon; Indigo Notebook, from Union Made. Needles, $8.00, from Stitch & Story
Photo Credits: Kimmy Compton