Meet the KOEL Kid: Michelle Chesson
With a background in graphic design, Canadian based maker Michelle Chesson has always held on to her creative dream. On a trip to Mexico, Michelle was so inspired by the saturated colours and the ancient talents of the local women that she immediately taught herself to weave on her return. And that’s where Roving Textiles all began! Today, Michelle sells her weaves online, teaches workshops all over Ontario and constantly comes up with new designs for weaving tools with her carpenter dad. Read on for full story.
Tell us more about your background and what led you to choosing weaving as a craft?
I have always been an artsy person at heart. It might surprise you to know that I didn’t do all that well in art classes during high school. I wasn’t very good at following the rules and wanted to just let my creative juices flow. In college, I took Graphic Design and worked retail. Fast forward 10 years, yes 10. While living in Australia, an astrologist told me that I would be moving across the world where I would then find my passion work and make a living of it.
Five years later after moving back to Canada, I fell in love with weaving on a trip to Mexico. The bright colours and the use of yarn sparked something in me. I wanted to learn how to weave as soon as possible, but I couldn’t find any workshops near me. So after picking up my first loom that came from the other side of the world, I taught myself how to weave. My family and friends began to ask me to teach them too! Then friends of friends wanted to learn and through the grapevine, so did strangers. We didn’t have any looms made in Canada, so I asked my super talented Dad to make me a loom. And that is the beginning of it all. Now I teach workshops all over Ontario, Canada and my dad is creating gorgeous looms that are being used across the world!
What makes you a KOEL Kid?
I really think my strength is the ability to pick awesome colour combos and surprise the viewer. I try to go neutral sometimes, but saturated colours always make their way into my work. I work with my dad (my carpenter) weekly to come up with new designs for our looms and tools. I also paint and knit.
Share with us the creative process.
It’s all about the yarn! Firstly I stare at my fairly large yarn stash and then I start picking colours that speak to me in that moment. They sometimes don’t appear to “go together”, but I just roll with it. I don’t plan my pieces; I just go were the yarn takes me. I’m always surprised at the final result.
Your favorite to date…
The inspiration behind this design is… meditation. When I make these fun, shaggy, super colourful pieces it’s like a moving meditation for me.
The dream store in which I would like to stock this design is… Jumbled, in Orange, NSW, AUS
Which celebrity house can you picture your design at… definitely Drew Barrymore – lifetime idol!
If this design made it big, I would... be in disbelief.
If this design could talk, it would say… let go and be your brightest.
Great things take time, so how much has changed since you first started weaving and where do you see it in the next five years?
So much has changed. I went from trying anything, to trying to fit in and now feeling like I’m finding my own. I would love to continue to make this a sustainable career, one that enables me to be a stay at home mom. My dad and I have plans for him to teach me how to do the woodworking in the future as well. I love the ever evolving aspect to being creative and I hope to add more mediums to my tool belt in the near future.
Photo Credits: Michelle Chesson