Kathy Marty Windy Hill Weavers Creator Spotlight


Red rug with black cat kathy marty verycreate.com Creator Spotlight verycreate.com

I’m excited to share the art journey and wonderful creations of weaver and artist Kathy Marty of Windy Hill Weavers.  Kathy weaves eco-friendly runs, runners and wallhangings from Pendleton Wool selvage materials and cotton from her home studio in Washougal, Washington.

Kathy’s art journey is varied and interesting!

Kathy at loom kathy marty verycreate.com Creator Spotlight verycreate.com
Kathy at her vintage loom

Early years

Kathy was enrolled as a sculpture major in college, creating wood laminated pieced sculptures.  However, she developed an allergy to the wood dust and had to pivot to a different medium.  She took a beginning weaving class as part of her major and began exploring 3D weaving and sculpting with fibers. This began a life-long fascination with weaving and fiber arts.

While attending the University of Cincinnati she volunteered at community at-risk youth centers teaching weaving among other things.

She moved to Berkeley California and enrolled in classes at the Fiberworks Contemporary Textile School.  One of her teachers was a Japanese weaver and she introduced her to traditional Japanese silk dyeing and weaving.  Kathy was fascinated by this new medium.

She went to Japan and apprenticed at a silk dyeing and weaving school for two months. She learned along side apprentices who were committed to a two-year intensive apprenticeship.

I asked her if she spoke Japanese and she said no!  How in the world did she get along in a foreign country not knowing the language? Her teacher had prepared her with a notebook with over 500 weaving terms translated into Kanji (Japanese character language).  A lot of pointing at words and gesturing helped her communicate effectively.

young Kathy weaving Kasuri Japan kathy marty verycreate.com Creator Spotlight verycreate.com
Kathy weaving Kasuri Fabric , Japan 1979

While doing this apprenticeship, she noticed a very large map on the wall with dots locating weavers studios.  Kathy went on many excursions to these weavers’ home studios and visited with the weavers.  She shared some of her own creations and learned from them. It was a very inspiring and exciting time.

The culmination of her apprenticeship in Japan was the creation of a kimono jacket that she dyed, wove and sewed in the traditional silk Kasuri technique.

Just take a look at the complexity and beauty of her silk Kasuri fabric!

 

 

close up of hippari fabric kathy marty verycreate.com Creator Spotlight verycreate.com
A close-up of the complexity of her silk Hippari jacket fabric. Kathy Marty Windy Hill Weavers

And here is the finished masterpiece:

silk Hippari jacket kathy marty verycreate.com Creator Spotlight verycreate.com
Silk Hippari jacket designed, wove and dyed by Kathy Marty Windy Hill Weavers c1979

Career Paths

After returning home, Kathy began teaching weekend workshops in the traditional Japanese style of Kasuri. Kasuri is a unique indigo dyeing technique utilizing resist tying threads and deep blue-black dyes to create patterns and images in the fabric.  Here is a museum photo of many different kinds of Kasuri fabric:

kasuri samples wikimedia kathy marty verycreate.com Creator Spotlight verycreate.com

Photo by Jyo81 (ja: User) – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13397003

Kathy’s art journey took another pivot when she enrolled in a graphic design class at her community college. She discovered she had an aptitude for graphic design work and began volunteering at a fledgling organization called The Sierra Club.  It wasn’t long before she was hired to be their first ever graphic designer. Wow!  Kathy is part of environmental history!

Kathy did graphic design work for 35 years.

A family move to Washougal, Washington on the Columbia River Gorge brought yet another pivot.  Kathy walked into the Two Rivers Heritage Museum one day and saw an antique loom. A volunteer was demoing the loom for visitors and it brought back all the memories of the love she had for weaving.  Kathy began volunteering at the museum, doing her own demo weaving on the old loom.

One of the volunteers gifted her a 1930’s loom and Kathy began using selvage cuttings from The Pendleton Woolen Mills store, across the street from the museum. It was a fortuitous combination.  Here is a Pendleton Wood loom showing the selvages being cut from the sides:

Pendleton Mills selvage trimming off loom kathy marty verycreate.com Creator Spotlight verycreate.com
Pendleton Mills selvage trimming off the loom  

 

Here are some prepared selvages waiting to be woven into rugs:

selvages in basket kathy marty verycreate.com Creator Spotlight verycreate.com
Pendleton Woolen Mills selvages ready for weaving Kathy Marty Windy Hill Weavers

I asked her what is so appealing about weaving. She says the action of weaving is part meditative and part intentional choices.  It’s the perfect meld of her love of color, pattern, artisan skill, and design.  The simplicity of the pattern for the rugs and runners permits lots of color and 3D texture experimentation.

Kathy creates many custom rugs for clients.  Here are just a few:

glacier white rug kathy marty verycreate.com Creator Spotlight verycreate.com
Glacier Rug by Kathy Marty Windy Hill Weavers

Just look at how well this rug works in this modern kitchen:

Custom kitchen rug brown blue kathy marty verycreate.com Creator Spotlight verycreate.com
Custom woven rug by Kathy Marty Windy Hill Weavers

Process

Her loom takes over 36 yards of thread and two days of work to measure out and set up.  One rethread will suffice for 20 rugs.

Binder rug loom side view kathy marty verycreate.com Creator Spotlight verycreate.com
Binder woven on the loom by Kathy Marty Windy Hill Weavers

Triumphs

In addition to being a talented weaver, Kathy is also a substitute para-educator for local elementary school districts.

When I asked her what she was most proud of in her art journey, she said it is the authorship of Camp Windy Hill , a summer school day camp she created for kids ages 5 to 11.  She offers 6 week-long classes in science, arts and crafts, outdoor play and short skit performing that sell out each year. The kids have an absolute ball, and once they age-out at age 12, they can come back to camp and be youth counselors.  She loves guiding them into mentoring younger kids and learning the responsibilities of leadership.

When she substitute teaches, kids often run up to her asking when the next camp will be or gushing over their fun experiences.

Current Projects

Today, Kathy has woven over 400 rugs using Pendleton selvage cuts!  Weaving is a perfect meld between her years as a graphic designer, her interest in sculpting, color, pattern, 3D artworks and the beauty of the variety of textures in her woolen rugs.

With Camp Windy Hill on hiatus due to Covid, Kathy is busy with commissions for her woven work.  She is finishing up a custom 10 foot runner run for a client’s new home.

Blue and green rug kathy marty verycreate.com Creator Spotlight verycreate.com
Blue and Green custom rug by Kathy Marty Windy Hill Weavers

On deck is another custom piece to be created from her client’s extensive collection of old jeans.

Find her work:

Booth selections kathy marty verycreate.com Creator Spotlight verycreate.com
A selection of rugs at an art and craft fair by Kathy Marty Windy Hill Weavers

You can order her rugs directly from her website:

Windy Hill Weavers

Follow her on instagram:

@windyhillweavers

And on Facebook:

@windyhillweavers

You can find her at local art and craft fairs like this one:

 

 

 

Anita HC

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