Kiya Nicole is a Wild Mantle model and incredible visual artist (Pictured above in our Light Grey Merino w/ White Liner + White Drawstrings Mantle). We asked Kiya to tell us more about the "mantle" she takes up in her life.
I am an artist inspired by the connection between natural form and cosmic energy in relation to the limitless mysteries of the unspoken world within ourselves. I take up the "mantle" of visual art in the hope that my sculptures will create a moment for others to reflect on the beauty of the world. Often struggling to articulate the complicated inner workings of the soul and how it translates to the physical realm, I turn to forms in nature to reflect what is absorbed within. Using clay dug from the earth, I build sculptures inspired by twisted root forms. I sculpt intuitively, allowing the tactile experience to guide me as I work. My process becomes a meditation on the cyclical nature of interconnection.
In particular I am inspired by the simple beauty and wisdom in the cyclical relationship between rocks, lichen, and roots. Lichen is one of the oldest and most successful organisms and micro ecosystems on earth—creeping slowly across entire mountain ranges, brightly coloring bark, roots, and stones. Lichen has the unique ability to draw nutrients from almost any source, allowing them to thrive in the harshest environment. Trees tangle themselves around the lichen covered rocks, drawing strength and support, twisting the earth into its roots. Over time, a closed system has developed, with the roots decomposing, becoming soil, and eventually compressing back into rocks-which are then broken down.
With this natural process in mind, this past June, I drove across the country with two artists to attend a residency in Oregon. We explored over 5 national parks, hiking and camping along the way. We researched techniques which would enable us to physically infuse our work with the landscape we encountered. We dug and processed clay from the riverbed, and gathered plants to naturally dye fiber for a mixed media collaborative sculpture. This time of exploration and experimentation allowed time and space to meditate on my work and explore working in a collaborative, supportive environment.
I have a passion for sharing my knowledge, especially with children. When not at school myself, I teach art classes which encourage students to explore outside and use their inspiration from nature in their work. I incorporate many of the practices that I explore in my own work, such as processing clay. This allows my students to experience a process derived directly from our connection to the earth, as well as the ancient traditions of ceramics.
By drawing attention to the intricacies of the natural world through my art and my teaching, it is my wish that people will consider deeply how very connected we are to our surroundings, that beauty exists in unexpected places, and that we should explore the relationships we have with the earth and with each other.
Thank you Kiya for sharing your story with us, and for sharing your art with the world!
To get more info on how to submit a story to our blog, email your idea to Avi@WildMantle.com