Patchwork Art – Textiles by Thompson Street Studio

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While they had been around for centuries, quilting and patchwork became a big thing in North America during the 1600s, when early settlers from England and Holland introduced them as a popular and symbolically charged craft. The work of Kiva Motnyk, founder of Thompson Street Studio in New York City, revisits this long-lasting tradition infusing it with a modern twist. In Motnyk’s work, ancient techniques, such as silk screening, weaving, knitting, quilting, and multiple natural dye methods, come to life into hand-made textile compositions filled with unexpected and dynamic patterns.

Motnyk grew up in NYC and studied Fashion and Textile Design at Rhode Island School of Design. After finishing her studies Kiva moved back to NYC where she worked for designers like Susan Cianciolo, Calvin Klein, and Isaac Mizrahi acting as a textile designer and creative director. However, after some time she missed the tactile process involved in creating textiles by hand and started Thompson Street Studio, a company that creates experimental textiles and objects inspired by the concepts of authenticity and longevity. “It’s inevitable in a technological society that people will return, from time to time, to what is personal and authentic,” she once said. Reflecting this vision, Kiva’s studio offers a wide range of handmade decorative and functional textile works. While inspired by American folk art, Kiva’s pieces also speak to the legacy of early 20th century European artists that experimented with textile making and blurred the lines between craft, design, and art.

As part of her working process, Kiva normally creates year-long collections of textiles for which she creates a palette of natural dyes with the materials she forages from the countryside or from the gardens she grows in her country home located in the Catskill Mountains. Following this initial process, she then works in her NYC studio and stitches portions of textiles together in capricious yet organic-looking shapes. Most of the pieces she creates are one-of-a-kind and others are created in small runs. Next to creating pillows, tabletops, quilts, and wall works, recently the designer has also created clothing pieces and is looking into furniture making. While formally different, all her works exude a welcoming feeling and create a cozy yet modern environment.

“I want to make things that have a lasting value.” – Kiva Motnyk

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Written by Constanza Ontiveros