My little sister is 3 years younger than me. She was victim to many of my full and half nelsons, stiff arms and choke holds. Over time, in her elementary years, she became extremely resilient to all these moves and more. Maybe because of the frequency of their happenings or because of the “bowl cut or bob” haircut my mother had chosen for her at the time. Either way she was tuff but if you were going to make it out of the Cedar Street neighborhood in 1990s, with 8 boys to 1 girl inhabitance and a rule that states that you don’t come back in the house until the streetlights come on, she needed to be.
Everything was a competition. Head-to-head, I dominated as I should, being 3 years older, a foot taller and had her by 30 pounds. But on a level playing field she almost always had the upper hand. Better grades, more athletic awards, more Nebraska class B state qualifies and more home runs (but only if you count inside the park). Where she shined the most over me was in the category of making cool and beautiful art. She loved it and she was good at it. From drawing, to prints, to ceramics, she had a passion for it.
At some point in the early 2000s we both had the same art project. Make a ceramic trivet of some type. It was the only art project of my high school career where mine ended up even in the discussion of who’s was better. For years to come when we were both home, we would see who’s trivet was out and in use on the kitchen counter. This would obviously tell us one of two things. Either the trivet that spent the most time in use and on display was the favorite or it was proof of who was loved the most by our parents.
Fast forward to March of 2023, Katie is married with a 2-year-old little girl, pregnant with her second child and living just outside of downtown Houston, TX. She holds art degree from the University of Nebraska but helps her husband Clayton support their family in the real estate market of Texas. Motherhood is her number one priority. Raising and protecting these little ones so that they grow up to know all that is good in the world and be able to navigate the bad. That is the task at hand. I pitched her an idea, it’s not a new idea and its wasn’t even a new pitch, its something we have talked about multiple times before. What if she started throwing clay again, what if she fired up that passion again?
Located one block from her house is Foelber Pottery Studio and Handlebend is currently launching a coffee shop in their building of Katie’s hometown, O’Neill, NE. What if, even though she hasn’t thrown clay in 10 years and has no time to start again, she does?
- Matt Dennis
Linear would not describe her journey, but predestined certainly could. Architecture, art education, real-estate appraisals and wife all provided stones in the stepping-path along the way. Eventually, Katie Kimbrew arrived at a major destination in her trip: Mother.
“Art, all forms of it, have always had my heart. Ceramics have been on my mind for as long as I’ve been interested in art”.
Motherhood has brought Katie, in many ways, full-circle. Life’s wandering jaunt has connected her back into the creative realm of art and, more specifically, with a path toward that ever-curious itch of ceramics.
The meandering nature of life’s journey over its oft-unanticipated pathways is nothing to fret.
On the contrary; it may be just the reason to curl up with a cup of coffee and embrace the whole beautiful map.
Katie Kimbrew mugs are one of a kind and available in-store at Handlebend.
215 E Douglas O'Neill, Nebr.