Tehya Shea


Tehya Shea was born at home in an attic in the quiet hills of the Gold Country. She was raised rock hopping at the Yuba before the winds carried her out into the world for many years. A few years ago she decided it was time to come home and it is here that she has come home in the truest sense. Her work as well as the way she lives her life is strongly influenced by the cultural and geological history of the Yuba. She is as at home draped across a granite boulder or submerged in the emerald waters as she is within the walls of her home studio where she weaves her inner and outer landscapes into textural talismans.

Tehya weaves the way that she lives, in a deeply intuitive manner without following patterns or adhering to any particular tradition. She may have colors in mind, but works with each element as it comes, letting what emerges inform her creative process, responding and relating rather than imposing. Her current intention is to get, in her words: "big, ugly, and weird" with her work, as is evidenced by the wall sized hand-constructed loom that is a feature of her living room studio space. Visiting her in her home it is obvious this is someone whose life and art are inextricably linked, each informing the other.

Weaving is a reflection of the way that Tehya lives her life, it is a metaphor she applies to the movement and sway of life. "When weaving, the warp is laid out as a clear structure and framework: a sort of guide. From there we have the freedom to choose which direction we weave; whether we are wild or tame, refined or messy, and these movements define the cohesive whole. It is in this way too that we live and weave the stories of our lives." Tehya came to weaving as a way of processing the passing of her maternal grandmother, a way to work with grief and the human story, to embrace the imperfections of humanness. Holes, messiness and the ugly are all honored elements in Tehya's work as she allows and integrates the shadow side into her work. Her process becomes a ceremonial ritual of prayer and intention as she weaves these "imperfections" into a cohesive whole.

Weaving is not the only work Tehya does with her hands. In addition to being a fiber artist and working with texture in the physical realm, Tehya is a web designer (she is the woman behind this one, in fact) and works in a collaborative process to assist selected clients in weaving their vision in the digital realm.

"I'm finally really surrendering to and trusting each element that comes into my life. For the first time I am finding the ease and gratitude that flows with that. This trust in life and in turn my journey towards healing are both so interwoven with my work as an artist, both in the physical realm and the matrix of the woven web. For the first time I am consciously choosing where I want to weave my energy: choosing the work and collaborations that what will really feed my soul. In learning to say no to projects that do not resonate I am finding a necessarily slower pace. It is all a practice of self care that I owe fully to illness and the transformations that have come through my commitment to self love and healing."

To see more of this lovely creature and her work, visit her website: www.tehyashea.com.

<< All photos by Kat Alves >>