Artist, Creatrix, Teacher
I grew up in Charleston, SC, in a home filled with hand-crafted items. Whether it was a table cloth my grandmother crocheted or holiday decorations my mother crafted, I was fortunate to be surrounded by items intended to comfort and inspire. I still treasure these heirlooms (including my grandmother’s button box, where I first learned my love of color, shape and texture).
I have had no formal training in any kind of art. I have always delighted in working with my hands, whether coloring with crayons as a young child (remember how Crayolas smell?), making pasta necklaces in kindergarten (remember those?), or – eventually – sewing my own clothes (everything from school clothes to formals). My mother taught me to embroider, knit, crochet and sew before I entered the ninth grade.
Additionally, I have always cherished reading. When I was very young, I would read labels on cans (I still do!) then graduated to pouring through books ranging from Little Women to the natural world. And I would eagerly take our dog Gomer for long walks – just him and me – where we could explore nearby undeveloped land, marshes, creeks, and wildlife. Now more than ever, I treasure being in and being inspired by Nature.
I also enjoyed school. To this day, I thank my sixth grade English teacher Mrs. Gilliam (who we called “Kill ‘em Gilliam”) for teaching me the grammar that would serve me well through my life. I first learned the love of art, however, when I meticulously drew the various systems of the body to go along with projects and reports for Mrs. Day’s sixth grade Science class. (The sixth grade was a big year for me!)
I graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in English Education. I taught high school English and French for a year, however teaching has always been a part of what I have done since then, whether training other professionals in Desktop Publishing or elementary students about our natural world or adult women in creating from their depths. I have spent much of my career in higher education administration as well as in managing non-profit organizations that focus on building stronger community and promoting positive change.
My husband and I moved from Charleston to the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina, where there are four seasons and beautiful, verdant surroundings:
These green mountains! Here,
Nature gathered the Earth’s folds
to pillow her head.
– KCS, 1992
Now it’s my turn to create beautiful things intended to comfort and inspire. I have been creating beaded jewelry for over 20 years (if you don’t count those plastic lanyards woven in summer camp).
I am especially passionate about “recycling” or “upcycling” antique or vintage items into other uses. My heart flutters and my spirit soars when I see an item used well for a totally new purpose! Being able to incorporate natural items into my art is also exciting to me.
Thanks to all those fiber skills I learned, I have created fabric dolls which I call “Earth Sisters”. Each doll represents an aspect of Nature, whether it is a season, a holyday, an animal totem, etc. I have taken classes from Akira Blount, Caty Carlin, DeeDee Triplett, and Victoria Blue Lightning Snake. All of these classes deepened my love of creating and my appreciation of hand-made dolls as vessels of Spirit.
In my love of combining texture and color, I also created “Fabric and Fibers and Beads, Oh My!” art scarves. Another delightful venture was creating “Goddess Garb: Wearable Art for Divine Women (and that includes all of us!)”. I crafted Goddess Garb by adorning and reconfiguring gently-loved clothing into striking and one-of-a-kind wearable art.
While I had made paper for several years (it’s like playing in your oatmeal; try it!), I took my first paper arts class in 2001. I was immediately infatuated! My love affair began with simple greeting cards, rubber stamps, and cool paper folds. It has since expanded into bookbinding, including fatbooks, altered books, one-of-a-kind artist books, and unique journals and photo albums. I have been fortunate to take classes from talented instructors including Dan Essig, Nina Bagley, LK Ludwig, Savannah Canfield, and Joyce Sievers, to name a few. I am also honored to have taught at the John C. Campbell Folk School in their Book Arts program.
Regardless of the medium, I am addicted to the creative process. I know this is a direct connection to Spirit, and I feel awed and blessed to have this experience. When I finish an especially absorbing project, I am amazed at what I have created – with help from the Unseen.
When one begins to dive into the creative process, it is just a matter of time before that process overflows from one medium into another. I am captivated by swimming in those warm, supportive waters! I hope you will join me in the adventure!
The Solar Feminine archetype holds a balance of feminine and masculine traits (these are not according to gender, but according to archetypal definitions). How is she showing up in the world? How does she show up in you?