KOEL Stories

Meet The KOEL Kids: Mary Hamby

KOEL Stories
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We are always on a lookout for unique yarn products from around the globe, and when we caught eyes on Mary Hamby's loom blocks, we knew it's something we have never quite seen before. Incorporating the actual loom as part of the finished piece, Mary shows her process of weaving in each one-of-a-kind loom blocks. Such a clever idea isn't it? Using the classic techniques of weaving, ceramics, and woodworking, Mary also creates wearable art and sculptures, which are sold on her online shop Twenty Two West. She aims to connect with other craftspeople through her work and uses only naturally dyed fibers, sustainably sourced wood, and community driven ceramics. Read more about her story below. 

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1. Tell us more about your background and what led you to choosing weaving as a craft?
I was always making things when growing up. My dad used to say, “did you just wake up today and know how to do that?” I played around with sewing, hand lettering, crocheting, knitting, photography, pottery, basketry, painting, drawing... you name it! But nothing could ever compare to weaving for me. It was in those first moments of weaving that I knew I wanted to be a fiber artist. Weaving connected what was in my brain with my hands in a way no other medium ever could. In school, I studied interior design and worked in the industry after college. I absolutely loved it, however it was more intellectually creative and my hands were dying to get back to weaving. In 2015, with the encouragement of my fearlessly supportive husband, I made the jump and signed the lease for my first studio and started Twenty Two West full-time. My days are now filled with fiber, wood and clay, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

2. What makes you a KOEL Kid?
This is a tough one because it is hard to make something completely new to the world. My approach has always been to use the traditional techniques of weaving, ceramics and woodworking, but combine them in a new way that people haven’t seen before. I put a strong emphasis on craftsmanship and strive to make the best work possible.   

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3. Share with us the creative process behind each of your project
I am constantly sketching ideas as they come and try not to force a design. My favorite designs are the ones where I listen to the materials and let my hands go from there. 

4. Pick one of your favourite designs and answer these quick questions

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The inspiration behind this design is... My loom blocks started with the idea of incorporating the actual loom as part of the finished piece. Each loom block I create shows the process of weaving encased in a finished piece. No two of these sculptures are ever the same – each has its own personality that comes to life through the handmade process.  

The dream store in which I would like to stock this design is... I would love to see my work in little galleries so I can be a part of helping people start their art collection.  

Which celebrity house can you picture this design at... I think it would be so amazing if designers started using my loom blocks to style bookshelves and add texture to gallery walls. Two of my favorite companies are Amber Interiors and Emily Henderson Design. 

If this design made it big, I would... Remain committed to creating unique designs for each loom block.

If this design could talk, it would say... Thanks for asking, but no I am not an instrument!

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5. Great things take time, so how much has changed since you first started weaving and where do you see it in the next five years?
I was told once that if you aren’t a little embarrassed about your early pieces then you started too late. Let’s just say I didn’t start too late. I am constantly learning and growing in my craft and strive to develop every day I show up and do the work. In five years, I hope to have created more jobs for refugee women and be able to continue to do what I love.  

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Photo Credits: Mary Hamby