KATE McKEOUGH

Dreams of treasure chests filled with gems & jewels; lost in my mother’s jewelry box; mesmerized by quartz sand sparkling on the beach; swooping up rocks that glitter in the sunlight; collecting vials and vials and strands of beads.  I’ve always been drawn to the sparkly.  And now I get to play with them all in the creation of my Sundreams!

A southwesterner at heart, I knew from childhood that I had been born in the wrong place.  In the late 1980s I was able to move to New Mexico and shortly afterward, learned how to bead in the Native American technique of peyote, brick stitch and dangles.  I created beaded jewelry for about seven years, foraying into the arts and crafts show circuit.  Back then, we didn’t have the range of contemporary styles or beads available now, although I was one of the first few people who incorporated gemstone beads and other findings into bead art.

It was a natural progression from beaded jewelry to the crystal beaded dreamcatcher suncatcher - Sundream.  Experimenting, I’d hold earrings up to the sunlight and imagine what they would look like hanging on a Christmas tree or even in a window.  That was the beginning of my “Sundreams”©.  I discovered antique crystal prisms while visiting a friend in Washington State, and incorporate them, as well as new lead crystal, cloisonne hummingbirds, gemstones, pewter, bells, druzy agates, and anything else that adds life to my art.  It delights me to create these works of crystal beauty and know that they bring joy and rainbows into other peoples’ lives.

Galleries: Over the years I have exhibited Sundreams in stores, galleries, co-ops and art shows in Albuquerque, the East Mountains, Los Alamos, Cloudcroft, Ruidoso, Santa Fe, Colorado, Texas and Arizona.   I enjoy participating in art shows, talking with the people who admire and hopefully buy my art.

       Recently, although I opened my Etsy store in 2011, because of the pandemic I've become more involved in listing my smaller Sundream suncatchers on Etsy.  While shows are active, Etsy will be less active, but off-season I'll have items available and for sale on Etsy at sundreamcatchers.

Awards:   My first submission to the New Mexico State Fair was in 2004 (Bead Mavens, Professional); a modest piece without dangles called “Hummer.”   My thought was that since my work was unique, I should submit a simple, rather than an elaborate piece.  Hummer took second place.  The following year I submitted  “Sun Grapes”,  a vine woven Sundream with cascading grape clusters, prisms, beaded grape pots, and a single small glass hummer.  It took first place.  My last submission was “Hyacinth” in 2006, which again was awarded first place.  Actually, when it comes to competition, I prefer competing against myself rather than anyone else.

Teaching Classes:  I occasionally teach Sundream classes, and a student of mine won an award in the 2006 New Mexico State Fair amateur class for a Sundream piece she created, which was almost more thrilling than winning first place myself!  They've since eliminated the Bead Mavens competition from the State Fair exhibitions.

Future Plans: I have no doubt that whatever comes, and for as long as I can, I will continue to explore the world of beads and crystal, and the creative possibilities for future Sundreams.

Kate McKeough, Artist