About Kathleen

Kathleen at the Potters’ Studio

Fortunately, I grew up in an environment that encouraged my talent from a very early age. Up through high school, I studied just about every media, from drawing to print making.

As a college undergraduate, I fell in love with architecture and made a commitment to the field of historic preservation. After graduate school, I began working in an architectural firm and soon realized the connection between historic preservation and economic development.  After serving a stint at inner-city neighborhood work, I eventually specialized in historic downtown “Main Street” commercial revitalization. This work culminated in a position in Washington, D.C., traveling throughout the U.S., helping communities reclaim their economic integrity.

Although I knew I contributed to the economic revitalization of many communities throughout the country, I realized that I had lost myself in my work, putting in 60-80 hours per week. So I made the infamous “quality of life” move to California, gradually shifting my life focus back to art. I soon fell in love with two new artistic media, ceramics and Ikebana (Japanese flower arranging)–Ikebana came first.

I have studied in two schools of Ikebana. The first school I studied was Sogetsu, possibly the most avant-garde and abstract form of Ikebana. However, I felt that I was missing something, switched to the Ikenobo School, and learned the ancient philosophies I was missing.  See my beloved Ikebana teacher, Muryo Sawaii, departed, below.

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To reflect the multi-cultural composition of northern California, I decided to establish my own school, The Tayou Bunka (multi-cultural) School of Ikebana. This is new approach welcomes people of many different cultures to learn traditional and modern techniques of Ikebana.

Ceramics came to me as a wish fulfillment and a financial need. Always fascinated by the magic of turning mud into beauty, I often envied others who had this ability. The high cost of Ikebana vases imported from Japan finally gave me the impetus to try it myself. I started with handbuilding and gradually learned throwing on the wheel. The first forms were, of course, Ikebana vases. Now I enjoy a variety of forms in ceramics, from functional pottery to abstract sculpture, most recently producing pots inspired by Mata Ortiz Mexican pottery.

Now I combine my love of teaching art with making art. Although I continue to expand my repertoire, I keep trying to make that perfect Ikebana vase!

You can reach me at www.kelleysart@gmail.com .

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