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Hey there!! I'm Kiala and I'm a published poet, bookbinder, teacher, fountain pen collector, and radical nomad. I believe in surrounding myself with ordinary humans who live extraordinary lives, gathering with people who make me laugh & love uncontrollably, and living a life intent on cultivating happiness.
I am a Double Capricorn ambivert who grew up on the Gulf Coast of Florida where I learned to appreciate and respect hurricanes, humidity, and the transformational powers of the sun, the moon, and the ocean. I hold six academic degrees in various subjects from various Universities, but the one I cherish most is my M.F.A. from Mills College where I studied with (and later apprenticed for) world renown Book Artist, Julie Chen. Finding and falling in love with Book Art was a life changing experience for me after having gone through a traumatic two-year health battle and realizing life is too short to put off doing the things we most desire.
I am proud of many things, but at the top of the list is having a successful 20 year professional teaching and training career at the K-12 and College levels, being married to my best friend of 30 years, raising her nephew Treavor, mentoring more than 20 young women over the last 25 years, and unapologetically pursuing my creative and entrepreneurial dreams. I now run two successful online businesses and through online courses and in person retreats, teach women all over the world how to find what makes them happy and pursue it without regrets.
I've always seen books as vessels for sharing our journey and documenting our lives. And while many believe that Book Art is a complex skill that only a select few can master, I am on a mission to demystify creativity & handmade books in order to make both accessible to anyone who wants to document their ideas, images, and stories. Through my love for paper, words, stencils, and handmade books, I have been able to cultivate an artistic life that includes Book Art, poetry, lots of silly doodling and tons of creative exploration and discovery.
Stories connect us while also highlighting what is unique about us. I've always been a storyteller, relying on words to convey feeling, energy, and information. So learning to make handmade journals changed how I connect and communicate with others by giving me a way to help people feel more creatively empowered and encouraging them to share their stories. The scribbles in my journals always begin or end with words. By adding color and imagery I am able to visually share how I see the world. I believe art can look multi-layered and complex while being extremely simple and approachable. I use paper, color, mark making, and wordplay to create tangible versions of my stories in hopes of inspiring you to do the same. This is why I teach!
My writing has appeared in Mabel Magazine, Calyx: A Journal of Literature by Women, Eleven Eleven, Jacket 2, deadpaper.org, the Bella Vista Art Gallery, and in the Campanil. I received my MFA in Creative Writing & Poetry from Mills College where I spent two years as the poetry editor for 580 Split. From there I went on to start Generations Literary Journal, where I currently serve as managing editor and host of the Generations Literary Podcast. I am a former Associate Coach with Artizen Coaching, a Right Brain Business Plan® Licensed Facilitator, a Cave Canem fellow, a Voices of Our Nations (VONA) alum, a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and the proud owner of a fabulous collection of fountain pens. I'd love to create with you and see what your muse has in store for you next!
Check out my writing and my past and upcoming appearances.
Check out my Book-in-a-Day series on YouTube and follow my online shenanigans here at kialagivehand.com and on Instagram (@kialagives).
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