Creative Spotlight: Doug Kreinik and Jane Gilchrist Connect through the Creative Network
foundation | November 15, 2016
Doug Kreinik of thread and yarn manufacturer Kreinik in Parkersburg, WV reached out to the team at the foundation earlier this year to share how he was using the West Virginia Creative Network to connect with textile artists around the state. He had hit upon a good lead with Jane Gilchrist of LoomyLadi Handwovens and found that they were both set to be at a weaving convention in Milwaukee later in the year.
This month, we learned Jane had seen success collaborating with Doug to use his metallic threads in her works currently on view at Tamarack: The Best of West Virginia’s Form & Function exhibition in the David L. Dickirson Fine Arts Gallery. We were thrilled to hear about this collaboration and asked Doug and Jane to share with us about their businesses, Jane’s works in the exhibition, and how they came to meet.
Form & Function will be on view through January 8, 2017.
Tamarack Foundation for the Arts (TFA): Please tell us a little bit about your business.
Doug: Kreinik has been in business for 44 years. It was started by my parents Estelle and Jerry Kreinik, who with their backgrounds in textile sciences first created a carrying case for needlework projects in progress. We now specialize in high quality silk and metallic threads and yarns used by embroiderers, needlepointers, knitters, weavers, tatters, crafters, fashion designers, home decor, and even fly fishing manufacturers and practitioners. We go by the motto threads visualize thoughts.
Jane: I am a weaver! I think in some ways it is what I was always supposed to do. I fell in love with the craft when I was 12, but did not begin weaving seriously until about 2012. It was then that I actually sold my first piece and produced a number of custom items. The majority of my work is traditional and utilitarian in nature, but in the past couple of years I have begun to think outside the norm and be more open to the possibilities of contemporary materials and color.
TFA: Please share with us about your creative process.
Jane: I have a variety of metallic threads sitting on the shelves in my studio thanks to the stash of the late Beatrice “Billy” Bannerman of Culloden, WV, one of the state’s premier weavers of the Mid-20th Century. I’ve pondered what to do with this very non-traditional thread for some time. Then, Doug reached out to me with an offer to work with some of Kreinik’s metallic threads. I love the heritage of West Virginia and am proud of the land of my ancestors and my home, and the idea that I could create with metallic thread made in West Virginia was intriguing.
When the box of threads arrived, I felt like it was Christmas. Metallic threads are not commonly found in utilitarian handwovens, so I had to conceptualize and design my own patterns and ways to incorporate the thread. In the weaving world, we stress the importance of sampling, or the process of trying new things and finding out how fiber and pattern work together. These samples are never meant to be anything other than that, samples, but from those samples develops new concepts that may eventually become something more.
One of the scariest moments for me in using these threads was sitting at the loom with a white warp and a bobbin of metallics. Eventually, I found a rhythm in my sampling and the concept of Shimmer of Gold was born.
My partner in all things creative is a loom maker, and he brings a technical knowledge to my weaving. Bruce Bannerman of Purrington Looms is the son of Billy Bannerman.
Bruce’s knowledge of loom mechanics allowed me to take a design idea and develop a modification for my loom that would allow me to create more efficiently. My work Shimmer of Gold is a result of the combination of Doug’s thread, my design, and Bruce’s implementation. I say ‘my’ loom, because all of my pieces in [the Tamarack exhibition] Form & Function were woven on looms that once belonged to Bruce’s mother. Thousands of pieces have been woven on these looms, and I’m honored to carry on the work.
Doug: Our process at Kreinik has been to meet the demands of the creative community for new colors, new yarns, new applications, new ideas and new directions over time. We want to give them the tools to stretch their imagination, playing with color and texture.
TFA: How did you find each other using the West Virginia Creative Network, and when did you first meet?
Doug: After I was introduced to the Creative Network, I checked the network for a listing of people using any form of textiles. Jane’s company appeared, so I emailed. Little did I know that I was on her call list, too.
Jane: I first learned about Doug and Kreinik a couple of years ago through the foundation. I made a mental note to contact him, but just never really got around to doing that. When I received the first email from Doug it was probably sometime in the late spring of 2016. We corresponded a couple of times, and I told him, sure I was willing to give [the threads] a try. Some time passed and we discovered that we would both be attending the same weaving conference in Milwaukee, WI in August of 2016.
Doug: We sent her samples to play with, then met up with her at the weaver’s guild conference in Milwaukee where we sent weaver’s back and forth to watch Jane work and experiment with our fibers.
Jane: We enjoyed some great conversations during the conference and even enjoyed a traditional Wisconsin Fish Fry together with our traveling companions. His creative director, Dena, is an amazing woman and was quite helpful in learning about the product.
TFA: Beyond the exhibition currently on view at Tamarack, how can people connect with your work?
Jane: I have work available at Tamarack in Beckley on the craft floor as well as at Heritage Farm Museum & Village Gift Shop and The Wild Ramp, both of which are in Huntington, WV. Periodically items are listed on my website http://www.loomyladihandwovens.com/, but I always encourage people to contact me to work out details of exactly what they are looking for. Want to match your kitchen décor? Have a favorite dress that needs “the perfect scarf”? I love to work on commissions and creating a textile that will fit your needs feeds my creative soul.
Doug: Kreinik products are sold throughout the world found in needlework, quilting, and knitting shops. We can be online found at http://www.kreinik.com/. Recently, we opened up a company store where we do sell our regular products along with experimental applications from our R & D lab. Twice a year, we are planning Factory Outlet Sales and plan to bring in guest teachers and professionals to show off their wares. Our lobby and connecting hallways are covered with all sorts of needlework and textile art made with Kreinik threads and yarns.