Our Tofino Neighbours - Kim Leckey

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Shawna Gardham
By Shawna Gardham, Public & Media Relations Manager
Newsletters9 July 2024


Kim Leckey, a fibre artist specializing in slow art made from salvaged materials, finds endless inspiration in the sea. An ardent surfer and nature enthusiast, Kim crafts one-of-a-kind macra-weave creations using recycled, upcycled, and marine debris materials. Originally hailing from Toronto, she first learnt of Tofino's alluring surf scene while instructing at a women's surf camp in Nicaragua. A serendipitous retreat brought her to the enchanting West Coast, solidifying her decision to return to Canada after seven years abroad. Kim has called Ucluelet home for four years and remains captivated by the ever-changing vistas that shape her artistic expression.

Her love for the vibrant and eclectic Californian aesthetic, cultivated during her studies in fashion design at Toronto Metropolitan University, was rekindled during her time in Santa Rosa. Exploring the local design culture, she discovered a unique, mid-century modern yarn shop in an old brick building. Drawn to their wide array of materials, including vibrant felted wool, Kim was inspired to enrol in a weaving workshop led by a local artist she admired. This experience was the turning point, igniting her passion for creating fibre art. "I have always been a very tactile person," she shares, "Something just clicked, and I knew I wanted to make art that wasn't necessarily for wearing but would make the viewer want to reach out and touch the piece."

Kim Leckey with birch + moss piece
Kim Leckey with Art

In her birch + moss collection, Kim captures the textures and ethereal qualities of the Pacific Northwest rainforests through intricate patterns and hues inspired by the surrounding landscapes. Kim's search for the ideal frames led her to collaborate with woodworker Christian Gia, whose expertise in crafting driftwood frames was honed during his time learning from artist Alex Witcombe on Quadra Island. Recognising Gia's talent and shared vision, Kim knew he was the perfect partner to create unique and fitting homes for her fibre art pieces. "By far my favourite piece in the series is Rainforest", she explains, "It came so easily as an idea from my head, onto paper, and into the largest of Gia's frames."

Inspired to forge connections within the local artistic community and broaden the scope of fibre art on the coast, Kim co-founded the Salvaged Art Project. An initiative led by community artists and non-profit organizations, SAP is dedicated to promoting the reduction of plastic production, encouraging a circular economy for plastics, and protecting ecosystems from plastic pollution through the transformative power of art. By using brightly coloured, repurposed materials from local shorelines in large-scale installations, Kim hopes to inspire and raise awareness about the critical issue of plastic pollution while fostering a sense of unity among artists and environmental advocates alike.

Creating with unconventional materials such as inflexible polypropylene rope and marine debris presents its own unique set of challenges. "I believe that the best art is created when more hurdles, challenges, or obstacles are in the way, not less," Kim shares, "The creative mind loves to overcome a challenge and prove you wrong. And I hope that my art can reach people in ways that I couldn't with my words alone and that it inspires people to make better choices."


We are thrilled to feature birch + moss at the Henry Nolla Gallery this summer until August 16th.

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