Drew McKevitt is a knitwear and textile designer based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Petawawa, Ontario. She received a bachelor's degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Concordia University and spent many years working as the managing editor of a poetry magazine in Montreal. She recently received a master's degree in Textile Design from Philadelphia University.
As a designer, she is drawn to unusual textures, intricate structures, and organic shapes. She is particularly interested in the intersection of philosophy and knitting; both are complex, logical, and also creative. Her work explores materiality, contradiction, metaphor, and intuition.
All is Flux Collection (Image courtesy - Drew McKevitt)
Dea: What do textiles mean to you?
Drew: Textiles is such an interesting field because of the huge variety of applications (industrial, fashion, fine art, etc). For me it’s a unique medium for expression because textiles, yarn and fabric are a big parts of our daily lives. That connotation of function that is associated with textiles is really interesting to me.
Dea: What's your background and what led you to working with textiles?
Drew: I am currently based in Canada, but I grew up in Philadelphia. I worked for many years as the managing editor of a poetry magazine in Montreal. I had always loved knitting as a hobby, and a few years ago a lot of things changed in my life, which opened the opportunity to pursue a masters degree in textiles.
Dea: Where do you find your inspiration?
Drew: In general, I think I am most motivated by the need to discover and experiment. I love the trial and error process of making.
Nature and natural patterns are also a big source of inspiration, especially the irregularity of natural patterns. Knitting can be really based in repetitive designs, so it’s interesting for me to try to mix that up by creating pieces and knit structures that are more organic feeling.
Unlaced Collection (Image courtesy - Drew McKevitt)
Dea: What's your creative process like?
Drew: I sometimes start with sketching ideas out or writing notation down, but most often my process is about making samples and allowing mistakes or ideas to form during the sampling process. I then evaluate and rework ideas. It’s a revision-heavy process that is a lot like writing or editing.
Dea: Are you working on any interesting projects right now?
Drew: I continue to work on an ongoing project, “Specimen”, where I tat around found natural objects. This is exciting now since the snow is finally melting and I can walk through the woods collecting twigs to work with.
I am also planning to make a few more pieces in a limited series of textile jewelry called “Inhabit” (pictured below). The collection is inspired by ‘animal architects’ who intuitively create their own homes. Like the “Specimen” project, these pieces are all made by hand, so they offer a nice break to the more technical machine knitting.
Inhabit Collection (Image courtesy - Drew McKevitt)
Dea: Is there a specific piece or project you are proud of?
Drew: Although it was a few years ago, I think I am most proud of my MS Textile Design thesis collection at Philadelphia University (now Jefferson). It represented a huge amount of research and discovery into several textile techniques that I am still interested in now. For example, hand tatting, hairpin lace, using unusual materials, freeform knitting, etc.
Dea: Any tips for aspiring creatives?
Drew: What has worked for me in the past is just practicing and experimenting with the medium or technique. This is especially true when I am feeling creatively blocked.
Great tip Drew. We agree, it's all about experimentation. We are so inspired by Drew's work and its poetic nature! Which collection are you drawn to the most?
Show Drew some love here:
(Image courtesy - Drew McKevitt)
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