Living in the Southwest, it was at a very young age that my passion and respect for the West, it's wide open spaces, distinctive colors and free spirited lifestyle began. It was during this period that I developed a deep appreciation for the native lands of Arizona and New Mexico, and through that exposure to tribes and their artisans I developed my art form.
As a trained acrylic artist, I worked primarily as a colorist in ancient motifs, designed and painted on wood. The bead work was simply an evolution which followed in the mid 1980's, primarily as a result of admiring and studying the Navajo bead artists. My work maintains the integrity of color and symbolism used by the ancients on rugs and pottery as the motifs are simply transformed into contemporary bead art cuff bracelets. The use of these ancient symbols from the Mayan, the Aborigine, the Asian, European, to the South African to the Hopi and the Navajo...the symbols are the same and carries with it the same interpretation since the beginning of time....truly a common thread.
As a non-Native, I have been most fortunate to learn the techniques of bead work from extraordinary Navajo artist who were generous to share their artistic knowledge. I travel the reservation lands of the Southwest several times a year, showing in powwows, visting with Native acquaintances and continually improving my workmanship and understanding the history of this craft.
I now reside in Northern Nevada, living in harmony in this region's high mountain desert surrounded by the enormous energy of ancient pinion, sqaw tea and desert sage.
You can see Kathleen's custom hand beaded artwork at Best of the West Art in Great Falls Montana.