Artist Interview: Kayla Mattes




Describe Kayla Mattes in 5 words or less?

Wacky, Vibrant, Spontaneous, Natural/Artificial, Playful.

We’re huge fans of Portland and all that is has to offer. Does it influence your work?

Definitely. I’m a newcomer to Portland, but since moving here from LA it’s allowed my studio practice to breathe. Portland isn’t a huge city but there are so many exciting things happening, it’s affordable and there’s a really supportive creative community. Plus, it’s smack dab in the middle of otherworldly nature- waterfalls, rainforests and crystal blue lakes.

How do you approach a new piece? What’s your design philosophy?

I approach my weavings very organically. Sometimes I draw little sketches but I rarely follow them directly. I usually sift through my wool and start by picking a bunch of colors that I feel magnetize together. I think it’s important to not over-think the design process. By working organically and getting into a rhythm, new ideas happen. Over analyzing merely leads to frustration but I think it’s also important to take a step back and see what can happen to make things work even better.


What’s the experience of working on a weaving like for you?

When I weave I get in this meditative zone. Weaving is a time consuming process-it’s physical and tactile, slow, painterly, meticulous, therapeutic, and sometimes even painful. I have to remind myself to get up and stretch my body and hands every now and then!  

What inspires you?

Pop-culture, color, the internet, kitsch, colors/textures/geometries in nature that seem artificial.


Proudest moment?

It always brings a smile to my face when I receive emails from people contacting me simply about how much they appreciate my work.

What other artists do you look up to?

Tauba Auerbach, Mike Kelley, Gunta Stolzl

What’s next?

I’m going to be in San Francisco for an artist residency this April, where I’ll be working on an installation based on the rituals surrounding the act of eating pizza. Along with some weaving commissions and a new jewelry collection, I’m also planning to start working on some woven pieces that use my fringe weaving technique in a more sculptural and pictorial manner.


All photos by Portland Supply Co.

Shop Kayla Mattes here.