We fell in love with multi-disciplinary artist Tehya Shea’s work while shooting Vanessa Dingwell’s home for The New Bohemians Handbook. (You can find her textile wall hanging on page 107!) Intrigued, we followed up to learn more about the artist behind the loom.
Tehya moves to her own rhythm in her Nevada City studio – staying grounded and feeling fresh with open windows and doors. Olafur Arnauld’s instrumental music and Clarissa Pinkola Estes books on tape often play in the background. It’s important to her to allow the studio to get chaotic and let yarn piles claim their space as needed while they’re being used (sometimes over a long period of time). She has a lot of weaving books – inspiration from the weavers who came before and set the stage for what we are all getting to experience right now with weaving and fiber arts. Included in the list of creative pioneers and spiritual revolutionaries she holds in high esteem are Martha Graham, Vali Myers, Georgia O’Keefe and Sheila Hicks.
Submerging herself, (and the thread) in the depth of somatic meditation, she works on each of her several looms. She muses that they are “external reflections of (her) internal space.” Her woven stories, made with intention, do more than fill space on a wall. “Each piece is a woven expression from a place I can’t even fully name,” Tehya explains.
Moreover, Tehya finds inspiration in the mountains and rivers she calls home. As a result of growing up in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, she is a self-proclaimed “feral Yuba maid.” In addition to regular rainbow hikes, together with friends and family, she can be found along the river. She enjoys bathing in the water, climbing granite boulders and collecting driftwood for her wall hangings. Additionally, she follows her wanderlust up and down the coast and into the desert. As a result, she invites the wild and untamed to be her muses.
Additionally, she answers the call of the wild, and visits the Pacific Northwest for annual Spirit Weavers gatherings. It is the perfect environment for her to teach experimental nature weaving classes. She teaches how to make non-traditional looms made from driftwood, weaving the weft with found earth elements collected from the land.
Therefore, in essence, Tehya’s work is influenced by (all of) the spirit environments. What’s not to love?
Thank you Tehya for sharing your woven inspirations!
Also, unless otherwise noted, photos courtesy of Tehya Shea.