Love affair with Lines by Tia Keobounpheng

Day 87 of #100daysocreativity - copyright Tia Keobounpheng #tiakeoart

Day 87 of #100daysocreativity - copyright Tia Keobounpheng #tiakeoart

I truly have a love affair with lines. I don’t know if it is because of the order that they suggest, or the way topographical lines attempt to chart the naturally flowing land but they became my place of rest during my first 100 Day Project back in spring 2017. Lines can create value in a drawing, they create boundaries and also connect one place to another. They represent movement and transformation, rigidity and fluidity - particularly those drawn by hand. If weaving is in my blood because of the grandmothers and great grandmothers I never knew, lines are in my blood because of my very own father. I grew-up watching him draw lines to communicate three dimensional ideas for buildings and houses. Lines reflected ideas and the very important instructions for how different materials should be put together to build something. The lines defined the thing but they also delineated the absence of the thing … the open space, the place created between. Lines are about drawing, communicating and also now about releasing. I meditate with lines. I lose myself in them and feel more free than with most other practices in my life. My mind is released and my instincts take over and I simply follow a force that I have no name for. As much as lines attempt to define, it is ironic that I go to them with the expressed desire to not define - to let go …

Day 95/100 #100daysofcreativity / copyright Tia Keobounpheng #tiakeoart

Day 95/100 #100daysofcreativity / copyright Tia Keobounpheng #tiakeoart

Day 80/100 #100daysofcreativebalance / copyright Tia Keoboounpheng #tiakeoart

Day 80/100 #100daysofcreativebalance / copyright Tia Keoboounpheng #tiakeoart

Day 84/100 #100daysofcreativebalance / copyright Tia Keobounpheng #tiakeoart

Day 84/100 #100daysofcreativebalance / copyright Tia Keobounpheng #tiakeoart

Day 78/100 #100daysofcreativebalance / copyright Tia Keobounpheng #tiakeoart

Day 78/100 #100daysofcreativebalance / copyright Tia Keobounpheng #tiakeoart

Day 109/365 #tk100plus / copyright Tia Keobounpheng #tiakeoart

Day 109/365 #tk100plus / copyright Tia Keobounpheng #tiakeoart

Day 110/365 #tk100plus / copyright Tia Keoboupheng #tiakeoart

Day 110/365 #tk100plus / copyright Tia Keoboupheng #tiakeoart

Return to Weaving by Tia Keobounpheng

My weaving spot during 7 week-end retreat in 2016

My weaving spot during 7 week-end retreat in 2016

Back in 2016 I spent 7 consecutive weekends at my friend Barb’s condo just a few miles from my house. She offered it up as a creative get-away space while she and her husband were traveling the world. I couldn’t have known how instrumental that time at her place would be in the return to handwork and ultimately to weaving and my purpose as an artist.

As much as I would’ve loved to take a 7-week break from my life (ha!) I knew I had to structure my time responsibly so that my family didn’t suffer from my absence and so that I wouldn’t waste a single moment of my time away. I committed to the weekends - arriving Saturday morning and returning home Sunday night. I had a list of work projects that I could begin to tackle … and then, just in case, I bought a few supplies for a weaving idea I had based on a piece I had made 18 years earlier.

Return to Weaving - installed as part of PERMISSION - solo exhibition / Tia Keo

Return to Weaving - installed as part of PERMISSION - solo exhibition / Tia Keo

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Now, by 2016 I had not done any weaving in over 15 years. I first learned how to weave with some old Finnish ladies in a community weaving center in Oulu, Finland in 1995-96. When I returned home after my exchange year I studied weaving for a year at UW-Superior in 1996-97 and again briefly in 97-98 at the University of Minnesota-Duluth - before transferring from Fine Arts into Liberal Arts to focus on Architecture.

When we founded Silvercocoon in 2001, I was weaving on my floor loom at our home in Duluth. But after September 11th, something changed in me and I started telling myself I needed to be more practical and responsible. The world was different and I should be doing more responsible things than playing around and making things. And then I stopped weaving. I stopped making anything for a while. Design felt practical and responsible and that is the direction in which I returned my gaze and I kept it there through several design jobs, through the birth of my two sons, and even as I built my jewelry business and ultimately through burnout in 2014.

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So, many aspects of this art retreat at Barb’s condo are truly miraculous … that the opportunity came when it did and that I was able to accept it and allow myself a measured amount of free time to begin the road back to healing myself. But it was more than simply the time away, it was the weaving that coaxed me out of my restricted existence. It was the weaving that was healing - miraculous and inevitable I suppose.

The collection of 12 weavings that I created in 2016 have been boxed-up and mostly not shown to anyone for over two years. Eight of them are currently on view in my solo exhibition PERMISSION at Finlandia University Gallery in Hancock, MI through February 15, 2019. Sharing this work, even years later, feels like opening the door to the future. Allowing myself permission to weave again feels like opening the door to my personal history and that of my ancestors.

Return to Weaving - installed as part of PERMISSION - solo exhibition Tia Keo

Return to Weaving - installed as part of PERMISSION - solo exhibition Tia Keo

Return to Weaving - 2016 / Tia Keo

Return to Weaving - 2016 / Tia Keo

Return to Weaving (collection) / 2016 by Tia Keo

Return to Weaving (collection) / 2016 by Tia Keo

Return to Weaving (collection) / 2016 by Tia Keo

Return to Weaving (collection) / 2016 by Tia Keo

Words are powerful by Tia Keobounpheng

“To have a voice and to know your voice are two different things” - Tia Keo

“To have a voice and to know your voice are two different things” - Tia Keo

The words we use are powerful, particularly those we use to describe (and think about) ourselves. More about that soon when I share more about my words that were published in Make MN magazine.

As I continue to reflect on 2018 I cannot help but feel grateful that I allowed myself time to write. At the beginning of 2018 I spent months laboring over (two grant applications and) multiple-pages of writing for a fellowship application. It was/is the most demanding application I have ever filled out, and I have heard from more experienced artists who have said it was unlike anything they’d encountered before. They asked deep, open-ended questions that are more inline with the way (and the why) artists work. I actually felt honored to engage them because no other source of artist funding I’ve encountered comes at it that way. I know that sounds dramatic, but it is true.

My dear friend and coach told me that “the experience of writing the application needs to be enough for you” - and in the beginning I nodded in the way we do before we learn the lesson. Even after submitting the application I hadn’t learned the lesson she was talking about, but as I moved through the year and approached the opportunities that were tangibly in front of me, all of the digging and churning, writing and considering, editing and rewriting, and the ultimate making sense of myself surfaced. I had my why. I had my purpose tucked right inside my head and wrapped right around my heart. Words did that for me. My labored words gave clarity to my vision and my direction. The experience of writing the application was enough for me to continue forward no matter what.

Now, they still haven’t announced the recipients of the fellowship - probably won’t for several more months - so I still have hope that I can reap the value and the support that this fellowship would bring. But in the meantime, I am looking back to some of the words that inspired me in the last year, as well as some of the words I was inspired to pen that I have shared up below. Thanks for reading!

My word for 2019 by Tia Keobounpheng

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REALIZE

1. to become fully aware of (something) as fact, understand clearly

2. cause (something desired or anticipated) to happen

3. give actual or physical form to

4. make (money or profit) from a transaction {•convert (an asset) into cash}


My process for deciding on my word for 2019 differed from last year (where in I found myself saying out loud numerous times as 2018 rolled-in that "multiple things could be true at the same time" thus = "Yes, And")

Nothing stood out for me this year, so on NYE I started by writing down potential words. I then took to the task of scouring definitions of the nearly 20 brainstormed words. The definitions for REALIZE made it an obvious choice, as they touch on head, heart and physical meanings of the word - as well as the monetary - which is an aspect of being an artist-entrepreneur that is most uncomfortable for me. I have generated an immense amount of potential leading up to this moment and now it is time to start realizing some of that potential - in all ways, one thru four - as @tiakeo.art and @silvercocon !!

 

'Yes, And' set an amazing tone for my 2018, so I can attest to the power of focusing your energy. What about you? Have you picked a word for this year? What is yours?

Three Sixty Five : solo exhibition American Swedish Institute by Tia Keobounpheng

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It was a powerful and emotional experience to hang this show. 365 individual paintings hung on the walls of the American Swedish Institute are honored individually and collectively as part of the generative work I produced over the span of one year. Also include in the show is the 100 days of metal work (that was finished along side one painting a day and) that ultimately led to my diversion into metal sculpture.

One can visibly witness the progression from one day to the next as creative ideas live and evolve and circle back again and again over time. It is also not lost on me that it took all of this work to make it possible for me to open-up enough to begin exploring and producing personal, expressive sculpture work.

Show is on view through August 7, 2018 in the Benson Gallery.