How quilting relaxes your mind and how your workspace influences your creativity

Our US Editor-at-large Zoe visited the quilting Studio of artist Kiva Motnyk in New York. Her former family home is now home for her creative energy, collaborations, shows and workshops. Kiva uses her craft with the heart of an artist and the playfulness and curiosity from years of collaboration with other artists. Her works are sold all over the world

The artist in the circle quilt on the beach photographed by Matt Chin.


IRMA: Why working with fabrics? Why Quilt?
KIVA MOTNYK: I work with fabrics because it’s wonderful to work with materials I have collected or made. Create many variations in textures and colours. It’s very meditative to work with my hands. I love working in quilting medium, but I also enjoy weaving, embroidery, painting and mixing these things together. I love the history of quilting, passing something down through generations that are made with special fabrics collected on trips or using remnant textiles from old clothes or things that might otherwise not be useful anymore. Quilt have story to tell.

IRMA: How do you organize your studio? And where would you like to be more organized?
KIVA MOTNYK: I work out of two studios, one in NYC and one in Upstate NY near the Catskill Mountains. The Studio upstate is very small, and I love this because it’s very intimate. I find that in this studio I surround myself with things I really love, because of the small space I have to be selective and need to put away old projects to start new. If I need more space, I can work outside which I love, and often do my natural dyeing from the plants in the garden.
In the City I have a bigger space, it’s very open and more industrial feeling because of the architecture. It’s nice to have a larger space to keep all my materials fabric shelves, yarn shelves, textiles I collect traveling or given to me.

Kiva’s Desk in her Studio, showing naturally dyed fabrics she made, Fabrics she collected, and on the wall is a fabric sketch incorporating mixed materials and mixed quilting with embroidery. Ceramic vase was made in collaboration with Jan Jasiu Krajewski for Thompson Street Studio “Run Home Collection”


IRMA: Is there something you do not want us to miss in our studio?
KIVA MOTNYK: In My studio I have paintings from some of my favourite artists like my father, or special textiles that people give to me. Also, my Pups Sammie is always hanging out on the couch next to me. My studio is sort of an extension of my home. I have some of my favourite furniture there like a small round table designed by Alvar Aalto given to me by my husband (it was his childhood arts and crafts table)

The artist Kiva Motnyk working in her Studio in the Catskill Mountains. I like to pick flowers seasonally to use in my studio or at home for a nice simple way to decorate.


IRMA: Where do you find inspiration? And how do you give inspiration?
KIVA MOTNYK: I find Inspiration through traveling, I love to be in a new environment because it really stimulates the senses and you tune into new scents, colours and food’s, for me this is always a nice way to start thinking about new about ideas. I also love spending time in the country, and finding inspiration in nature, it’s a lot about making the time to enjoy and appreciate your surroundings which always opens my eyes. I collaborate and work with people often on projects, I think communicating together is a great way to inspire one another.

Working sketching of ideas and colour trials in the studio. Kiva works this way before making larger final Pieces. The furniture is collected in antique stores throughout the Catskill Mountains. The large ceramic is made in Collaboration with Jan Jasiu Krajewski.


IRMA: How do you take care of your mental health
KIVA MOTNYK: For mental health I think it’s important for me to take time to breath, meditate and take walks. I also try to get exercise, it’s of course hard to make the time but I feel the difference immediately. I like doing a combination of Yoga and Pilates.

6. Detail photograph of Kiva exploring a small quilted hand sketch. The tile on the desk is her initial colour inspiration, which she collected on a trip to Morocco.


IRMA: What everyday objects would you love to redesign?
KIVA MOTNYK: I love thinking about designing our everyday objects. I think it would be interesting to design more furniture. I am working on re designing the interior of my apartment currently and I would love to make some of the furniture pieces and textiles.

Kiva Motnyk’s NYC Studio on Thompson Street, Photographed By Kate Sears showing Work in Progress. ” I like to hang pieces on the wall when I work so I can see the colour relationships and composition as they develop”