Olivia McKenzie

BA (Hons) Textile Design / BA (Hons) Textiles for Fashion & Interiors


I am a hand-weaver and dyer specialising in the technique of ikat; resist-dyeing yarn prior to weaving. I find excitement in the layering of colour and the reveal of the final warp design on the loom. The movement of colour is enhanced when the warp is tensioned and the individual strands take placement, making each design unique. I have always been drawn to nature for inspiration, and I capture the elements of the forest through photography. I extract colours and textures from my photographs through my use of ikat and innovative materials to create a multitude of layers within my woven designs.

My first project, Ikat in Motion, was inspired by my journeys to and from university. I drive 300 miles per week, and my aim was to specifically capture the movement of what I see whilst driving, which only permits me to capture transient glances of the colours. I took photographs whilst moving through an autumnal woodland, where both the movement and manipulation of the shutter speed on the camera enabled me to recreate the blurred effect as seen through my windscreen. I have translated my photographs through the technique of ikat, which has created movement of colour within my woven outcomes.

Engulfed by the Forest is a tribute to British woodlands. Continuing my experimentation of ikat, my colour palette was influenced by moss and lichen, while the filtering of light through trees motivated a design that produces unique, bold shadows. Peeling layers of bark inspired the hiding and exposing of ikat throughout my designs. By introducing the novel materials of cork and raffia, I have adapted the traditional ikat technique with a sustainable, innovative twist. I was delighted to be awarded a bursary by the Textile Society in support of this project.

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Instagram: olivia_mckenzie_wovendesigns


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Olivia McKenzie | Textiles 13
This project is a tribute to British woodlands, and was produced using the ikat technique of resist-dyeing yarn prior to weaving. The colour palette was inspired by moss and lichen.
Olivia McKenzie | Textiles 12View pdf
Detailed insight into my two projects: Ikat in Motion and Engulfed by the Forest
Olivia McKenzie | Textiles 11
I have combined the traditional ikat-dyeing technique with hand-cut cork strips throughout my weft, hiding and exposing sections of the warp, as inspired by the peeling layers of bark.
Olivia McKenzie | Textiles 10
In response to the peeling of bark I have broken the cork strips and manipulated this two-dimensional woven outcome into a log shape, enhancing the peeling cork.
Olivia McKenzie | Textiles 9
Ikat colour palette inspired by moss and lichen, with fine strips of raffia exposed through the spaced warp to create delicate shadows.
Olivia McKenzie | Textiles 8
The moss has been translated through my hand-dyed ikat and I have chosen to represent the horizontal lines of the bark through my raffia in the weft.
Olivia McKenzie | Textiles 7
The filtering of light through the forest trees has inspired a spaced-warp which enables my designs to cast unique shadows.