Lived In Series ~ Kiva Motnyk

Lived In Series ~ Kiva Motnyk

July 03, 2019

Our Lived In Series was created to capture our clothing on a series of women, all pursuing their own creative paths, to see how they live in Kordal. So many women in our lives inspire us with their drive, their talent, and their genuine sense of self. These are the women we design for. They remind us of why we want to design clothing in the first place: to create pieces that encourage comfort, ease, and the unique and honest beauty in each and every one of us.

Being invited into Kiva's home and studio is a bit like entering a dream. Sunlight pours into the space, bringing to life the mosaics of color that fill the room. She offers us tea and makes us instantly feel at home. In a gentle and intentional tone she tell us about her upcoming shows, travels and the history of her studio. Originally the home of her parents in the 1960s, her mother a modern dancer and father a painter, it's clear that creativity is the heart of this home. 

In 2014 Kiva Motnyk founded Thompson Street Studio with the intention of creating experimental textiles and objects imbued with authenticity and longevity. Exploring connections between art, industry and nature; finding joy in the serendipitous, looping process of discovery, conception and making. To learn more about Kiva's process and upcoming exhibitions check out our Q&A below! 

(Photos by Chloe Horseman @chloehorseman)

Kiva wears the Celine Tee Ochre Medium and Ellis Skirt Cream/Black Stripe Large

What is the story behind Thompson Street Studio? What/who inspired you to become a textile artist and what are some key moments that brought you to where you are today?

I grew up wanting to be a painter like my father, When I went to RISD I discovered Textiles. I found working with different textures and materials challenging and gratifying, learning how to construct weaves and knits, how to translate drawings into silkscreens and learning how to create your own colors in materials through dyeing. It opened a world of different mediums allowing more sculptural dimensional work to develop.

Your creative process seems to celebrate a slower and more thoughtful practice. Naturally dyeing the textiles, careful arrangement of the colors, and hand stitching. What draws you to this process and can you share a bit more about what goes into the creation of each piece?

I think it is important to consider the way things are made. It is not enough that it’s beautiful. We are in a time when we need to be thoughtful about what we are contributing and how we are working and living. I feel more balanced when I am working closer to nature, my favorite part of the process is when I am experimenting with natural dyes and have the opportunity to work outside. I have always valued objects that have a story or lasting value. This inspiration goes into each piece and is reflected in the studio practice.

Your studio space has some beautiful family history, do you mind sharing it with us?

The studio was my family home growing up and also was my parent’s studio. My mother was modern dancer and my father is a painter. I feel lucky to be in the space that has been the center for my family for a long time and now I am able to continue to use as a creative working and meeting place.

Kiva wears the Faye Jumpsuit Clove Medium

As someone with a deep appreciation for textiles, what type of fabrications do you look for in your clothing? What qualities are important to you?

I am interested in garments that are made with quality and intention. I like natural fabrics and I am attracted to mixed textures. I also love unexpected surprises or details, colors and materials. Overall I want pieces that make me feel good.

What is your favorite place to travel when sourcing new textiles for your work? Can you share a favorite experience?

India is one of my favorite places to travel to. The energy and color is incredible, the textile history is like no other place. This last trip I spent time in the south learning how to make natural dyes from the plants growing in that particular region, including jabras seed, sappenwood and myrobolam flower to name a few.

Kiva wears the Faye Jumpsuit Clove Medium and Harriet Cardigan Cream Large

What do you find most inspiring about the natural world?

I love the seasons. I enjoy seeing the subtle shifts that happen over time, and working with the changing plants. I look forward to coming to visit our home in the country each week to see what new plants have arrived, or if there will be snow.

If you could make one change, law, or invention, what would it be?

I would put in laws to protect our environment, through industry standards and everyday individual practices.

Kiva wears the Celine Tee Ochre Medium and Ellis Skirt Cream/Black Stripe Large on the left, Harriet Cardigan Cream Large and Textured Trousers Cream Medium on the right

What's your perfect day?

My perfect day is taking a walk with my husband and our dog Sammie upstate and swimming in the river with friends and making a delicious dinner. A drink with friends and family on the porch in the evening.

You have some exhibitions coming up, we'd love to learn more about where we can see you work in person!

I am working on an exhibition opening in the fall curated by Andrea Stern and Sheri Pasquarella, at DieFerma Cooper Square in NYC. I will also be presenting a workshop along with my collaborator Susan Cianciolo in the fall as part of Performa.


See what Kiva's wearing here, and learn more about her work at!

Kiva's Measurements
Height: 5'8
Waist 29"
Hip 40 1/2"
Bust 35"

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