Kim Keats holds a BFA from Augusta State University, pursued graduate studies in fibers at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts and received an MFA from Georgia Southern University. Keats has professional experiences as both teaching artist and arts administrator.
She has been on the South Carolina Arts Commission’s Approved Artist Roster for over 20 years. Kim’s fiber works have been exhibited in museums including the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, SC. She has received merit and best of show awards in a number of juried
exhibitions. I primarily use bark from trees, a vital and noble material that houses the wood and provides sustenance along with protection from life’s destructive elements. Harvesting bark is a considerable part of the overall process and is seasonable and laborious. I prefer to salvage trees not savage them and look for ones that have fallen as a result of natural disaster or slated for removal. The bark is manipulated while wet and then sewn or woven together with waxed linen thread or palmetto root. The surfaces are refined through sanding and finished with oil or stain. My work reflects the influences of a number of indigenous cultures that have a tradition of using bark as a dominant medium and the tree symbol as an important icon and metaphor for life. Sharing in this celebration of material and imagery has made me feel as though I am part of a universal heritage!