Kathy Zola

I consider myself an artisan/crafts-person rather than an artist, per se. I like to make beautiful things that have a useful purpose, such as providing warmth or complimenting an outfit, serving up food or protecting a table. I love colors and making unusual color combinations that somehow work. My professional background is in graphic design and production, but it’s the tactile qualities of fiber and fabric that really call to me.

As long as I can remember, I have loved the feel and smell of yarn, fibers, textiles, and fabrics. I can spend a wonderful afternoon wandering through a yarn shop or fabric store dreaming about potential combinations. I learned to knit when I was about 8, thanks to my mom, my grand-mother, and an aunt. I didn’t really have the patience to sit and finish a knitted piece at that age, but then at playground camp I found . . . POTHOLDERS! . . . made on those little metal looms with stretchy loops of fabric. It took a lot less time to make a potholder than it did to knit a hat or scarf or whatever.

Fast forward to college and a bad ending to a bad relationship. For solace, I tried a new fiber craft, and took a weaving workshop. We built simple tapestry looms from canvas stretchers with small nails tapped into the stretcher frames at top and bottom. The warp was some kind of twine, and we made smallish pieces using a variety of weave structures. I still have a wall hanging I made on that frame. It’s in those yellow gold orange brown colors so popular in the mid-seventies and has wooden beads woven into the edges.

But several moves later, that loom was lost and knitting re-consumed my life (it still does) And then a friend introduced me to rigid heddle weaving. I am completely hooked. It’s the combination of color and texture and the meditative rhythm of pushing the shuttle through the warp that totally calms my spirit. I challenge myself with unusual materials like hemp twine and recycled plastic bags. Some work and some don’t. But I like the rigid heddle looms because they are accessible enough to try different things without spending hours doing set-up.

Almost all of my designs are organic in that I experiment with color combinations, patterns, fiber combinations, both knitted and woven. I make everything myself, and I do it all by hand. No knitting machines or pre-woven fabric. My items are one of a kind. Since I experiment so much, even with extensive notes, it’s difficult to go back and exactly re-create something made earlier. It’s more fun to me this way.

I participate in Open Studio events and juried craft shows here in Hull as well as in Dedham, Needham, Westwood, Newton and Natick. I am looking for craft consignment opportunities too.

Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/KathysKaps

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KathysKaps/

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