Learning Through a Lifetime

20 March 2024

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Ad description: Cover of the book Sheep, Shepherd & Land, and the words, "THE book about Canadian Wool, by Anna Hunter. Photos by Christel Lanthier. Buy now."

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There are many ways to approach lifelong learning. Some instructors teach you new skills that make your craft stronger. Others encourage growth in your spiritual self—exploration of the very nature of your being. And then there are the teachers who give you enough information to make your head spin, while also allowing you to wander off in your own direction, giving space for others to contribute to the learning process. It’s the generosity and openness of this last kind of instruction that I respond to best.

Im a creative explorer. A chaos Muppet. A rule breaker when it comes to design and craft. I’ve never felt the need for instruction to learn a new technique; I prefer to jump right in and figure it out on my own. I’ve found that the best learning experiences I’ve had have mirrored that, kickstarting my creativity and pushing me to think in new directions. This is where I thrive.

My journey started at university, in a course called Art for Non-Artists. For someone who failed art in junior high school and decided this meant I’d never be an artist, this course was perfect. Week after week, we were assigned projects with the most minimal instruction. “Make a one-foot square cardboard box. Now change that box so that it no longer looks like a box,” is an example of an assignment that sent me off on a rambling tangent for days, and is a concept that I still use in my work today, morphing shawl shapes, collars, and stitches into complex forms and textures that give me a great sense of satisfaction.

All images by Kim McBrien Evans.

Copyright © Kim McBrien Evans except as indicated.
Photo of Kim McBrien Evans

About Kim McBrien Evans

Curiosity and exploration are the name of the game for Canadian knitwear designer and indie hand dyer, Kim McBrien Evans. A lifelong love of colour, texture, and pattern prompted Kim to transition from working artist to textile maven. Her knitwear designs are known for their ability to turn an abstract idea into a textile reality while simultaneously fitting and complimenting a wide range of bodies. This design work has lead her to explore how home sewers and knitters can create clothing that fits, while showing professional designers the beauty of inclusive design. Her yarn company, indigodragonfly, is renowned for its vibrant colours, offbeat names, and ever expanding plan for world domination. Her work has appeared in Vogue Knitting, Knitscene, Knit.Wear, Knitting Magazine (UK), A Stash of One’s Own (ed. Clara Parkes), The Sewcialists and Uppercase. She is co-author of Custom Shawls for the Curious and Creative Knitter.

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