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Kecia Deveney

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My name is Kecia Deveney, and I am a full-time artist and instructor. I’ve worked in a variety of mediums, such painting, sewing, sculpting and assemblage. I think working with fabric and textiles are my favorite and creating one-of-a-kind dolls and funky purses are what I am known for. Recycling and up-cycling is very important to me in my work. I’ve been an instructor for about 12 years now and look forward to the day when I can be holding workshops again. I have two boys, 3 dogs and 2 cats.

During COVID lockdown, I made the painful decision to close my rented studio. With no teaching opportunities or shows to sell my art, I couldn’t justify the expense. As a full-time caregiver to my adult son, Tucker, leaving the house and going to my studio was a chance to clock out as a caregiver, and I dedicated those precious hours to uninterrupted creative time. It even had a small bedroom where occasionally I would stay over and play all night. Being a caregiver can be quite monotonous as well as draining (we refer to it as “Groundhog Day.”  If you’ve ever seen the movie, you’ll know what I mean). I’ve definitely learned that caregivers need to be very vigilant in nurturing themselves to recharge and rejuvenate. I’ll admit, it was a huge loss for me to give up that space, and my spirit was a tad adrift.

Many things changed during lockdown for so many of us. How we adapt to unpleasant or unexpected occurrences is the heart of resilience. Now I work at home in a couple of different spots in the house, depending on what it is that I am working on. I have a large space that used to be the garage, where I paint, journal, play with clay or work on assemblage pieces. It has a tv and space for my son’s wheelchair. We watch movies or listen to music while I work on art and also attend to his needs. And, of course, our dogs love having me home as well.

The dogs have multiple spots to lounge about while I work. The kitty likes to jump in my chair the second I get up from it. But our senior dog, Kashie, usually just wants to sit in my lap while I work. I enjoy listening to him snore and appreciate his every moment by my side. When I moved into the converted garage space, I opted for no carpeting, as I wanted to be able to be messy and not worry about spills. The plywood was an open canvas, so I decided to paint it. It reminds me of the vintage crazy quilts that I love.

My other space is in the basement. That’s where I do all my sewing and fabric art. The basement isn’t fancy or finished and it also doubles as our guest room, but I’ve enjoyed tricking it and creating an environment that I love to work in. Each space is typical of what I call my “eclectic boho” style. You’ll find flea market finds, treasures from traveling, collected art and, of course, lots of my art.

I have 3 sewing machines. One is for very light sewing, one for medium sewing and then I have an industrial machine for heavy work. I think I enjoyed teaching people projects where they have to use their sewing machines because a lot of people say, “I can’t sew”. Mixed media sewing is so easy! I think threading the machine or filling the bobbin is what really makes them hesitant. But once they get that part down, it’s smooth sailing.

Originally, I started my art journey by making gifts for friends and family. It was a fun way to spend my time since we had newly moved to New Jersey, I had 2 small children, and I didn’t know anyone to socialize with. I then started selling at shows and began meeting people who had similar interests. I didn’t even realize that what I was creating had a name, mixed media. From there, I began taking classes. Those were really fun times, learning new things, traveling and meeting new people.

It was at this time that I decided that I would also like to become an instructor. I really enjoy teaching as it also provides me with the opportunity to travel, and once again, spend time in a different environment. I always find time away from my own space inspiring. I usually return home feeling refreshed and make changes to my home aesthetics to reflect that inspiration. I find teaching enjoyable, because I can help students build self-esteem and believe in themselves and their ability to learn, no matter their background or abilities. I look forward to the day that we can safely go back to traveling. I miss being out in the world.

My art journey has evolved over the years. For a while I was known for the found object jewelry that I created. I taught many classes on soldering and how to make funky necklaces. When I noticed the jewelry market getting saturated with that sort of look, I decided it was time to start doing other things to stand out. I began taking classes again and experimenting on my own; just playing, so to speak, without the worry of trying to make a sale or market a class. I love taking art classes, but for me It’s important to incorporate what I’m learning and apply it to my artistic hand versus recreating the look of the instructor.

Eventually, I noticed that others were responding to what they were calling “my style”. As an artist, I tend to get bored quite easily, so I like having the different mediums to move around in. And actually, I’ve found that I love mixing mediums. So, I might make a doll body from fabric but then sculpt its head from clay. I find the more texture (like fabric, clay, found objects, etc.) I introduce to an art piece, the more the piece becomes a story. It’s important to me that my pieces convey a narration, and often a lot of my pieces appear as self-portraits. I am very inspired by different cultures and ethnic looks. When I have returned from traveling, I feel motivated from seeing and experiencing new things.

When I can travel again, I’d love to go back to Bali. Bali—what can I say—I love everything about their culture. The people are so kind and generous. Their rituals for holidays, weddings and funerals are just amazing. I hired a Bali family for a week to show me around. I was so affected by what I saw and learned. I was generous to them, but they were equally generous to me. Before I left, they had me to dinner and I met their extended family as well. It is a high compliment to be asked to dinner. I gave them a painting I made one night in my hotel room depicting something they took me to see. We are still in touch today.

When I got home, I decided to create for myself an artsy shrine influenced by the abundant temples all around Bali and using items I had collected or found while on my trip. Before I left Bali, my guide took me to a little kiosk and I purchased some traditional fabrics and a few other items that would be used for the shrine. In Bali, they burn incense and make offerings to their family shrine, which is to honor deceased family members. So when I got home, I was inspired to create my own type of shrine where I keep photos of my pets, my children, a friend that passed and other spruce items of importance. It even has a little place on top where I can insert incense.

Recently, my sister was visiting, and we attended an art class nearby in Pennsylvania. I fell in love with the instructor’s bell tent that she had set up in front of her studio. My sister and I thought it would be great fun to have one in my backyard, so I ordered one, and I love it. I have hopes of using it as yet another spot to channel my creative energy and maybe even for hosting classes. My backyard is another place that I like to be creative. I have that same eclectic boho look happening outside with color, plants, and little vignettes throughout the yard.

I love to create little artsy vignettes inside and outside. I also like to work outside doing rust dyeing, spray painting and gardening. My husband and I built a mini chapel in the backyard. I painted it a lovely purple and it is dedicated to the memory of my best friend. It’s another way in which my creative expression has spilled outdoors.

I consider my spaces to be very sacred, almost like a sanctuary. I am the type of person that enjoys solitude and can get very lost in the moment when I am in the zone. I’m an introvert, so doing my own thing is what I do best. It’s healing for me and really feeds my soul. My favorite quote is, “to seek that which nourishes my soul”. I think I might have read that written on a wall somewhere and have never been able to find out who might have originally said it. But the quote perfectly sums up my art journey. It helps fill a void from past trauma and, as I like to say, “keeps me sane”.

In the same way that I enjoy mixing up my art mediums, I also love to change my home studio around as well. I’m always trying to get it more streamlined and create better storage—purging old interests or incorporating new interests. It is ever-evolving which is true of my art journey.

Flea markets are another place I find inspiring as I love to be surrounded by vintage items. To me, I would prefer decorating with a vintage piece rather than something new that has been mass produced. I also try and stay away from perfection. Old vintage pieces, whether it is fabric or furniture, usually have flaws. Older fabrics with stains and rips are the best. I love those flaws and consider them beautiful.

My name is Kecia Deveney, and I am a full-time artist and instructor. I’ve worked in a variety of mediums, such painting, sewing, sculpting and assemblage. I think working with fabric and textiles are my favorite and creating one-of-a-kind dolls and funky purses are what I am known for. Recycling and up-cycling is very important to me in my work. I’ve been an instructor for about 12 years now and look forward to the day when I can be holding workshops again. I have two boys, 3 dogs and 2 cats.

During COVID lockdown, I made the painful decision to close my rented studio. With no teaching opportunities or shows to sell my art, I couldn’t justify the expense. As a full-time caregiver to my adult son, Tucker, leaving the house and going to my studio was a chance to clock out as a caregiver, and I dedicated those precious hours to uninterrupted creative time. It even had a small bedroom where occasionally I would stay over and play all night. Being a caregiver can be quite monotonous as well as draining (we refer to it as “Groundhog Day.”  If you’ve ever seen the movie, you’ll know what I mean). I’ve definitely learned that caregivers need to be very vigilant in nurturing themselves to recharge and rejuvenate. I’ll admit, it was a huge loss for me to give up that space, and my spirit was a tad adrift.

Many things changed during lockdown for so many of us. How we adapt to unpleasant or unexpected occurrences is the heart of resilience. Now I work at home in a couple of different spots in the house, depending on what it is that I am working on. I have a large space that used to be the garage, where I paint, journal, play with clay or work on assemblage pieces. It has a tv and space for my son’s wheelchair. We watch movies or listen to music while I work on art and also attend to his needs. And, of course, our dogs love having me home as well.

The dogs have multiple spots to lounge about while I work. The kitty likes to jump in my chair the second I get up from it. But our senior dog, Kashie, usually just wants to sit in my lap while I work. I enjoy listening to him snore and appreciate his every moment by my side. When I moved into the converted garage space, I opted for no carpeting, as I wanted to be able to be messy and not worry about spills. The plywood was an open canvas, so I decided to paint it. It reminds me of the vintage crazy quilts that I love.

My other space is in the basement. That’s where I do all my sewing and fabric art. The basement isn’t fancy or finished and it also doubles as our guest room, but I’ve enjoyed tricking it and creating an environment that I love to work in. Each space is typical of what I call my “eclectic boho” style. You’ll find flea market finds, treasures from traveling, collected art and, of course, lots of my art.

I have 3 sewing machines. One is for very light sewing, one for medium sewing and then I have an industrial machine for heavy work. I think I enjoyed teaching people projects where they have to use their sewing machines because a lot of people say, “I can’t sew”. Mixed media sewing is so easy! I think threading the machine or filling the bobbin is what really makes them hesitant. But once they get that part down, it’s smooth sailing.

Originally, I started my art journey by making gifts for friends and family. It was a fun way to spend my time since we had newly moved to New Jersey, I had 2 small children, and I didn’t know anyone to socialize with. I then started selling at shows and began meeting people who had similar interests. I didn’t even realize that what I was creating had a name, mixed media. From there, I began taking classes. Those were really fun times, learning new things, traveling and meeting new people.

It was at this time that I decided that I would also like to become an instructor. I really enjoy teaching as it also provides me with the opportunity to travel, and once again, spend time in a different environment. I always find time away from my own space inspiring. I usually return home feeling refreshed and make changes to my home aesthetics to reflect that inspiration. I find teaching enjoyable, because I can help students build self-esteem and believe in themselves and their ability to learn, no matter their background or abilities. I look forward to the day that we can safely go back to traveling. I miss being out in the world.

My art journey has evolved over the years. For a while I was known for the found object jewelry that I created. I taught many classes on soldering and how to make funky necklaces. When I noticed the jewelry market getting saturated with that sort of look, I decided it was time to start doing other things to stand out. I began taking classes again and experimenting on my own; just playing, so to speak, without the worry of trying to make a sale or market a class. I love taking art classes, but for me It’s important to incorporate what I’m learning and apply it to my artistic hand versus recreating the look of the instructor.

Eventually, I noticed that others were responding to what they were calling “my style”. As an artist, I tend to get bored quite easily, so I like having the different mediums to move around in. And actually, I’ve found that I love mixing mediums. So, I might make a doll body from fabric but then sculpt its head from clay. I find the more texture (like fabric, clay, found objects, etc.) I introduce to an art piece, the more the piece becomes a story. It’s important to me that my pieces convey a narration, and often a lot of my pieces appear as self-portraits. I am very inspired by different cultures and ethnic looks. When I have returned from traveling, I feel motivated from seeing and experiencing new things.

When I can travel again, I’d love to go back to Bali. Bali—what can I say—I love everything about their culture. The people are so kind and generous. Their rituals for holidays, weddings and funerals are just amazing. I hired a Bali family for a week to show me around. I was so affected by what I saw and learned. I was generous to them, but they were equally generous to me. Before I left, they had me to dinner and I met their extended family as well. It is a high compliment to be asked to dinner. I gave them a painting I made one night in my hotel room depicting something they took me to see. We are still in touch today.

When I got home, I decided to create for myself an artsy shrine influenced by the abundant temples all around Bali and using items I had collected or found while on my trip. Before I left Bali, my guide took me to a little kiosk and I purchased some traditional fabrics and a few other items that would be used for the shrine. In Bali, they burn incense and make offerings to their family shrine, which is to honor deceased family members. So when I got home, I was inspired to create my own type of shrine where I keep photos of my pets, my children, a friend that passed and other spruce items of importance. It even has a little place on top where I can insert incense.

Recently, my sister was visiting, and we attended an art class nearby in Pennsylvania. I fell in love with the instructor’s bell tent that she had set up in front of her studio. My sister and I thought it would be great fun to have one in my backyard, so I ordered one, and I love it. I have hopes of using it as yet another spot to channel my creative energy and maybe even for hosting classes. My backyard is another place that I like to be creative. I have that same eclectic boho look happening outside with color, plants, and little vignettes throughout the yard.

I love to create little artsy vignettes inside and outside. I also like to work outside doing rust dyeing, spray painting and gardening. My husband and I built a mini chapel in the backyard. I painted it a lovely purple and it is dedicated to the memory of my best friend. It’s another way in which my creative expression has spilled outdoors.

I consider my spaces to be very sacred, almost like a sanctuary. I am the type of person that enjoys solitude and can get very lost in the moment when I am in the zone. I’m an introvert, so doing my own thing is what I do best. It’s healing for me and really feeds my soul. My favorite quote is, “to seek that which nourishes my soul”. I think I might have read that written on a wall somewhere and have never been able to find out who might have originally said it. But the quote perfectly sums up my art journey. It helps fill a void from past trauma and, as I like to say, “keeps me sane”.

In the same way that I enjoy mixing up my art mediums, I also love to change my home studio around as well. I’m always trying to get it more streamlined and create better storage—purging old interests or incorporating new interests. It is ever-evolving which is true of my art journey.

Flea markets are another place I find inspiring as I love to be surrounded by vintage items. To me, I would prefer decorating with a vintage piece rather than something new that has been mass produced. I also try and stay away from perfection. Old vintage pieces, whether it is fabric or furniture, usually have flaws. Older fabrics with stains and rips are the best. I love those flaws and consider them beautiful.