Beaded Spirit

 A little about the artist

Wearing my own skirt in my booth at Cowboy Christmas - the official gift show for the National Finals Rodeos, Las Vegas December 2009 





Madison, WI 

Tel: 608 246 2785



Many things have influenced my works of art. My growing up in Colorado being a major part. I studied art in college, I professionally trained and showed Arabian horses, and I studied American Indian art and culture in the Denver area. While learning the techniques involved in creating traditional American Indian style beadwork I was able to meet with the curator of American Indian Arts at the Denver Art Museum. He allowed me to study pieces in their collection and discussed the techniques and concepts of the items with me. In addition I was closely involved with the Native American spiritual community during the late 1980's. I began my life as a full time historic reproduction beadwork artist in 1991 when I moved to Madison, Wisconsin. Since that time my art is based on my dreams and visions with close ties to the traditions I hold dear.


In 1995 my knowledge of beadwork and my study of American Indian art and spirituality came together when I envisioned my leather Spirit Animal© necklaces. I hand sew, bead, and embellish each one with antique glass trade beads, Indian head pennies, and a often a bit of hair of the animal depicted. Included with each necklace is a creation story in which I explain the traditional meanings and symbols I incorporate in their design. I also occasionally offer a sculpture version with a steel surround and stone base.


April 2002 brought a new dream on which to base the majority of my works of art. I awoke with colorful horses with Indian riders running across leather covered cigar boxes. The dream combined my early horse years with my years creating traditional beadwork. I began painting and beading my Hailstorm Horse© artwork on leather which I then used to cover boxes. Just as I had seen in my dream. I rarely do the boxes due to the time involved. My work is now primarily created on various other leather items. Mostly leather purses and pouches I have designed. I make them in various sizes using unique leathers. I also occasionally  produce framed Miniature Hide paintings.

Each piece is uniquely decorated with my dream horses. No two are ever exactly alike. I make no prints or reproduction pieces of any of my works of art. Every one is simply the only one! To hand decorate each piece I use dye-based pigments to individually hand paint my artwork and hand sew each bead on the horses. I make most of the leather items. I have  chosen to also add a few items such as zippered pouches, structured purses, wallets and checkbook covers, made by other accomplished leather workers, as well as jackets and vests made by Scully. I consider my these pieces as my "canvas" on which I personally paint (dye) and bead each unique Hailstorm Horse©.


I hope that you have enjoyed learning a little more about me and my artwork. I do not offer a brochure. As you can see, I include only a few photographs of my work on this website. I also do not include any online purchase capabilities. I believe you should experience my pieces with all of your senses. Therefore, I sincerely hope that you will be able to come visit me at a show soon. I look forward to meeting you!


Warmest regards, Kathy Kershaw



 All artwork, images and text are protected by copyright belonging to Katherine L. Kershaw