CETG Online Talk on Monday 13th February 2023
Kim McKormack – A Sense of Place Reflected in Stitch
Kim McKormack is a printmaker, teacher of art, design and textiles, alongside creating her own stitched work. Based in Beauly in the Highlands of Scotland her work is inspired by the landscape and countryside, working with botanical dyeing and printing. She gathers her own foliage and uses it directly onto fabric to create imprints, not knowing what results she will get until the fabric is unrolled. She is inspired and excited by the alchemy of the process.
She grew up learning embroidery from her grandmother and although she moved away from this influence due to work commitments, she has come full circle and returned to stitching. She enjoys the slow, instinctive way of creating and the study of printmaking whilst at college has informed her practice. She divides her time between teaching art, design and textiles, and making her own work.
The exploration of the ethical issues and solutions around the textile industry continues to be an important feature of her work. Kim explained how important it is to consider the environmental impact that the use of chemical dyes has and that she prefers to keep her processes as natural as possible, using only silk, wool and linen. She has been influenced by the work of India Flint, an expert in botanical dyeing. This is not surprising as her work is described as using ’the earth as a printing plate and time as the press’. The work of each day, philosophically rooted in ‘topophillia’ (the love of place), literally begins with a walk.
Kim’s work is pieced using her eco printed fabric, sometimes in strips, sometimes with patches arranged and rearranged, with detailed stitching worked in a variety of textures as she strives to capture the essence of the countryside that she walks in. She described the variety in the landscape, with crops, fields of barley for the whiskey trade, lichens in the forests and woodland which all contribute to her efforts to stitch the essence of place rather than representing actual imagery. She is clearly a committed and obsessional stitcher achieving large textured pieces mostly by hand.
She is a member of Prism which enables her to exhibit her work in London venues with the next exhibition at Mile End in April - a ‘must see event’ for many of us in CETG.
Text © Janet Edmonds/CETG 2023
Photos © Kim McCormack