Hall of Finished Projects 2016-All

Friday, November 21, 2014

Interview: MIRLA Fiber Arts: Jinny McKenzi

One of the things I wanted to do was to provide interviews and spotlight fantastic artist that make my addiction to knitting even more wonderful. One such person is Jinny McKenzi, who owns MIRLA Fiber Arts. She is currently running a kickstarter fundraiser to expand her business and is offering fantastic rewards for donations.

You can find her at the following locations:
MIRLA Fiber Arts Etsy Shop 
(Shop is on vacation mode until after Fundraiser ends)

1) How did you get started in fiber arts?
I started in fiber as a young child. My grandmother, who was an amazing quilter, taught me how to crochet one Christmas when she came to visit. At 13 I crocheted my first granny square afghan, but then put fiber aside in favor of teen angst! Then at college I was looking for creative classes to take alongside my more academically demanding course load and I found a tapestry weaving class, I was lost to fiber from then on. I found a rickety old Ashford Traditional and taught myself to spin. It has been a wonderful journey.

Drooling here.. are you?
2) How did you come up with your brand name?
My brand name is an acronym for my children in the order of their births. MIRLA: Madison, Iris, Rose, Livia, and Aurelia. I got lucky that their names work together so well. My logo design is also representative of my children. A Rose for Madison as it's her middle name, an Iris for Iris, another Rose for Rose, a Wren for Livia as it is her middle name, and a locket representing Gold which is what Aurelia means in latin (golden). The logo was designed by my amazingly talented brother, Scot McKenzie, who is a painter in Portland, Oregon.

3) Where do you get your inspiration for the colors you use?
I don't have any preconceptions when I go into a dye session, I work on instinct and am usually happy. I find that when I try too hard to preconceive an outcome I am often not pleased with the results. However, for the Kickstarter I did manage to come up with a number of repeatable colorways that I am happy with, based mainly on previous results I'd had without forethought. When I am really in need of inspiration I look to nature and draw from the colors that speak to me there. The internet is a treasure trove of imagery and I am thankful it is there when I need it.

4) Your kickstarter is a fundraiser to expand, will you be opening a physical shop?
At the moment I have no plans to open a physical shop. I am fortunate to live in an area rich in fiber arts. The downside of that, for me as a business, is that the market is already saturated with shops that provide for the existing fiber community here. I do hope to one day move to an area where a physical shop would be possible and have already started exploring options.

5) What do you think about the popular idea that fiber arts are a good coping mechanism for  depression and anxiety?
I believe strongly in the therapeutic benefits of the fiber arts and any creative art form really. There is nothing I can think of that has more positive influence on the mind and soul than immersing oneself into something creative. I do think the fiber arts are particularly suited to this end, there is something about the rhythm of spinning yarn, or repeating a stitch pattern, that is soothing. These moments of quiet concentration and focus are a form of meditation that is regenerative to the mind and spirit.

6) What are your future goals?
My future goals are fairly simple but moderately ambitious, eventually I would like to have a full retail fiber website. I want to keep creating and contributing to other artists creations via my fibers and yarns. If I am lucky enough to one day have a physical shop then that would be the icing on an already delicious cake, but it is not something I need to continue pursuing my passion for this wonderful art form and sharing it with those who graciously allow me to.

Can anyone else relate to her answers? I can! So go check out her kickstarter page, which you can find here: MIRLA Fiber Arts Kickstarter and donate if you can! We need to support our fiber genius'. :D I need to stop drooling over her yarn pictures..

Good luck to you, Jinny!!