Built in 1899, Parker Mills has been a long-standing fixture in the town of Warren. Recently, Peter King, CEO of WaterRower, took ownership of this 230,000sf mill complex. This purchase was made directly after he had already begun re-developments and renovations on the TPI Building (also in Warren), which will soon be complete and renamed as the Manufacturing Innovation Center. Like the TPI Building project, Peter’s vision for Parker Mills is to become a place of service to its local and state communities and beyond. Plans for Parker Mills include business incubators – for manufacturing, creative endeavors, both artistic and design-based (including an upgraded, rejuvenated stand-alone building for McKenzie Gibson Studios!), and research, just to name a few – communal office workspaces, a fitness center and child development/daycare services (all will be free to its residents!). Peter and McKenzie both share in the belief that by simply giving someone access to space, machinery and equipment that they couldn’t otherwise attain personally, opens doors to new possibilities and new ideas – which is the focus of these “incubators” for the Parker Mills complex. Having such a mixture of different industries working in the same complex with new ideas has the potential to lead to some really exciting and innovative work! We are so every excited about Peter’s plans for the complex and its role for the Warren and RI community.
The evening will begin with a presentation by Peter King, sharing his redevelopment vision for Parker Mills - where it was, where it is now, and where it’s headed. The evening will conclude in a separate location of the Mills at McKenzie Gibson Studios – 6,900 sf of pure artist/designer playground, featuring full metal and wood-shops. Here, the evening transitions into an Open Studio event, where McKenzie and other fellow Warren artists and designers will showcase their work. McKenzie will also be available throughout the evening to answer any questions regarding: artist space rentals, future classes and workshop offerings, as well as her work and creative practice.
Both parts of this evening event include “A Taste of Warren,” heavy hors d’oeuvres and cocktails provided by various Warren eateries, Yum!
These events are being recorded and photographed. By attending, you give your consent to be photographed, filmed, taped, and/or recorded.
McKenzie Gibson spent twelve years in the hospitality industry, eventually working as General Manager while attending the Architecture program at the University of Tennessee. She dropped out to work at the firm Populous for the next three years, eventually realizing the bittersweet truth that architecture was not her passion. The love of hand drafting and use of machinery for model-making had informed her true passion: McKenzie spent the next six years earning a BA(Hons) in Drawing from Camberwell College of Arts London and an MFA in Furniture Design from RISD. In 2014, McKenzie was a contestant on HGTV’s “Ellen’s Design Challenge,” a furniture design competition television show. She also was awarded as an Honoree for Emerging Product Designer in 2018 by Interior Design Magazine in conjunction with NYCxDESIGN Week and ICFF.
Depending on the day, McKenzie wears any number of hats. She is an artist, blacksmith, woodworker, furniture designer, scientist, entrepreneur, teacher, and advocate for women’s empowerment.
Her practice and final objects rely on experimental processes, informed by her meticulous data collection. Serendipitous moments occur during these experiments that lead to the next idea, object, or process development. She tests, records, re-tests, and re-records the technical variables during the speculative period; whereas the objects are the result of a deliberate methodology, they are categorically sculpture. They’re art. They’re design. They’re science in tangible form.
McKenzie opened her shop, McKenzie Gibson Studios, in October of 2017 at the Parker Mills building in Warren, RI. Her plan is to open up her shop space and machinery as a collaborative studio space under the name Silverthorne Hawk Studios.
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