THE IN-TRAY

Meet the artist behind MECCA’s 2019 holiday packaging

TAMMY KANAT IS THE ARTIST BEHIND THIS YEAR’S HOLIDAY CAMPAIGN. THE FORMER JEWELLERY DESIGNER AND MOTHER OF THREE IS INTERNATIONALLY RECOGNISED FOR HER ORGANIC SWIRLS OF TEXTURE AND COLOUR. SOME OF HER WORKS ARE NOW ON DISPLAY AT THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF VICTORIA (NGV)—YOU MIGHT ALSO NOTICE HER VIBRANT DESIGNS ON SOME OF THE HOLIDAY GIFTS TOO.

Kanat’s dreamy textile art pieces are hypnotic with the intricate patterns of bright wool that wind around in a seemingly infinite web of colour. For Kanat, the process of creating each piece is meditative and the finished product can often relate back to something happening in her own life. “There’s never a conscious story behind the pieces. Often I only see a connection between my art and my life when I finish a piece. It reminds me of when you have a dream that you can’t explain. It’s not until later that you realise how it relates to your life.”

Today, Kanat is a professional fibre artist whose work is commissioned across the globe, she’s also this year’s MECCA holiday artist—chosen as part of our ongoing program with the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) to support, feature and promote women in the arts. Recently we visited Kanat in her home studio to chat about her creative process, the day her career switched directions and what it’s like being this year’s holiday artist.

As part of this collaboration, Kanat’s colourful designs are splashed across our limited-edition holiday packaging, store windows and website, plus four of her pieces are now on display at the NGV. It seems fitting that Tammy’s bright works were chosen to celebrate Christmas—they’re brimming with energy and colour, the perfect wrapping for our line-up of holiday beauty.

“I’ve created four works for the NGV collection: The Pines, Web, Nurture and The Harp—all made from fibre and different textures including wool and silk and linen,” explains Tammy, sitting in her light-filled studio space with spindles of twine and off cuts strewn around the floor. “The pieces are sort of organic shapes and they've got very emotive, powerful colours running throughout them,” she adds.

Previously a jewellery designer, Kanat designed pieces and ran her own business for twelve years before a house renovation changed her path. “We were renovating the house and I was looking for a textile art piece, and I couldn't find anything so I thought I would make a piece myself,” she reminisces. “I took myself off to the wool shop and I came home and just fell in love with the process of the weaving; I found it calming, meditative, it had all colours I could play with and it just felt like I'd been there before.”

During the conversation, Kanat shows off the looms hanging around her home. Some are completed and ready to be sent off to their new owner while others are a work in progress. “I'm always curious to see what's going to happen, what's going to be the next colour, what's going to be the next row,” she explains. "It's a very curious process. I get impatient, I can't stop because I just want to keep seeing what's going to happen and how the colours are going to work together.”

As a mother of three children, Kanat says family not only provide inspiration behind some of her works (one of her pieces, Nurture, is of a mother and child), they’re involved in the process, too. During the interview, her daughter is making her mother cups of tea and giving her advice on where to pose for photos. Tammy’s husband is also involved in her work, constructing every loom using a special copper pipe, each shape different to the next.

And as for the collaboration process with MECCA, Kanat says it was a pleasure to see her work interpreted in a different way through someone else’s eyes. “It was refreshing for me, it’s been great and it actually gave me some new ideas.” A long-time fan of MECCA (Chantecaille and Hourglass amongst her favourite brands), Tammy believes this year’s partnership was the perfect fit for her; “I think [MECCA stores] are a beautiful area where women can go to nurture themselves. So, to collaborate with them is very special because I feel that MECCA has been a big part of my life growing up and maturing as a woman.”

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