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. Kim’s fiber works have been exhibited in museums including the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, SC, the Museum of York County in Rock Hill, SC, the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia, and the Wiregrass Museum of Art in Dothan, AL. She has received merit and best of show awards in a number of juried exhibitions and her works have been included in the traveling exhibits, Palmetto Hands, Craft of the Carolinas, and Material Objects. Keats’ sculptures are in the Mark B. Coplan Collection of Art at the South Carolina State Museum, City of North Charleston Public Art Collection and the Medical University of South Carolina’s Contemporary Carolina Collection at the Ashley River Tower. She is the recipient of the South Carolina Arts Commission 2009 – 2010 Individual Artist Fellowship Award in Craft.
The objects that I make are intended to honor or memorialize the origin of the materials from which they are made. I primarily use bark and twigs from a variety of highland trees along with driftwood and palmetto root from coastal habitats. Harvesting bark and palmetto root is a considerable part of the overall process and is seasonable and laborious. The bark is manipulated while wet and sewn together with waxed linen thread. Combined interlacing techniques are employed to weave the palmetto root and waxed linen thread onto the bark or driftwood structures. Materials such as twigs, bones, and stones are added to create contrast. Objects are also constructed and incorporated to create areas of interest that support the visual concepts. The tree has become a personal icon and my work reflects the influences of a number of indigenous cultures that have a tradition of using natural materials. Sharing in this celebration of materials, techniques and imagery has made me feel as though I am part of a universal heritage.