Kathie Brillhart was born in New Jersey and raised in New Mexico. She attended the University of Albuquerque and graduated with a degree in Respiratory Therapy which lead into her first career as respiratory therapist and cardiovascular technician. Kathie returned to college at the University of New Mexico and graduated with a Bachelor of University Studies. It allowed her to focus exclusively on the things she loved - painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, art history and psychology. After completing her bachelor’s degree, she worked with America Corps as a visiting artist teacher at Very Special Arts of NM, a day habilitation art program for adults with developmental disabilities. Kathie received a master’s degree in mental health clinical counseling on her 60th birthday and spent the next 10 years working as a clinical mental health counselor.
Throughout her working career, Kathie dreamed of becoming an artist and spent her spare time taking local art classes. Now that she is retired, she is finally able to pursue art on a full-time basis. Kathie is a member of the Rio Grande Art Association and her work has been shown at Season’s Restaurant in Albuquerque, and Studio J in Los Ranchos. She has participated in several group shows and has had one solo show at Studio J.
Making art is very therapeutic for me. When I walk into my studio, I turn on the music and let my mind wander. As I pick up a sewing needle or a paintbrush and get to work, I’m transformed into a relaxed, content artist. Time and place disappear as I get into the creative process, the music, and the flow.
My current 3-dimentional pieces utilize many of the things have learned over the years, such as sewing, building, sculpting, collage and painting. They came about as a result of a workshop I attended to learn about painting on pellon to make murals. Pellon is a non-woven fabric material used in sewing garments to add structure to collars and cuffs. During the workshop, while painting on the pellon my mind started spinning with ideas about what I could do with this material. In the weeks that followed, I started to experiment with the pellon and found it very versatile. I love faces and have been drawing them for a few years now. I thought to myself, “what if I paint the faces onto the pellon? And what if I then attach fabric and found objects to the pellon to make elaborate hats for these faces? And then what if I sew all of this onto the pellon and attach it to a canvas support?” And that is exactly what I did.
Once I got started, the possibilities filled my head and I couldn’t stop making these pieces. There are so many possibilities that I do not think I will ever run out of ideas.