About the Artist
Artist with Jellyfish from Salish Nettle 2018. Artist at 100 ft deep, Buck Island, St Thomas USVI, 1978.
"It was my great fortune to grow up in and on the water of the Caribbean with my family (1973-80). The first material I worked with was fiber, I created jewelry with natural elements from the world around me and did decorative knot tying for the boats my family lived on.
My life was surrounded by nature, the liquid light and aquatic life imprinted upon my senses. The artwork I create is informed by my early experiences within and curiosity about the natural world. My fascination with aquatic ecosystems began with my first-hand examination of sargasso seaweed at the age of six.” Kait Rhoads
Mom’s Necklace 1978, macrame waxed linen and limpet shells.
After getting macreme lessons at a tender age, she got formal jewelry instruction in undergrad, at Rollins College and Rhode Island School of Design, while she was studying for her BFA in 1993. She belonged to Facere Jewelry Art Gallery in Seattle 2005-2016. She continues to create wearable artwork in her studio in Seattle, WA. Kait acknowledges that her studio is on the traditional land of the first people of Seattle, the Duwamish People past and present, and honor with gratitude the land itself and the Duwamish Tribe.
Kingfisher 2014, blown glass, sterling silver, fine silver wire, Swarovski crystals and Chalcedony.
Kait’s inspiration for jewelry design is derived from the sculpture that she makes. She uses the two-thousand-year-old Italian qlass technique of murrine making as a platform to innovate from.
In the hot shop she blows multicolored hollow hexagonal glass tubes which are then cut and fire polished in a kiln to smooth the edges and make the forms more conical. Her ‘hollow murrine’ can be combined in a variety of ways to create sculpture and wearable art. As architectural elements, they are stronger bound together with fine silver or copper wire and resemble constructs from the natural world such as the ‘bones’ of coral colonies or wax comb in bee hives.
Sea Stone 21/15 2021 glass, copper wire and cast bronze tag
Kait remains passionately committed to marine conservation. She focuses on creating public artworks that foster an appreciation of our seas and oceans, bringing its wonder to a wider audience through experiencing immersive environments that convey the expansiveness of ocean life.
Kait is collaborating as lead artist on the program Fused Together with Hilltop Artists and Communities for a Healthy Bay (the program began in 2022). Fused Together creates a connection between youth of the Tacoma community and art, science, and water ecology.
Salish Nettles a public art commissioned by Metro Parks Tacoma for the Pacific Seas Aquarium, 2018. Kait worked with Hilltop Artists, the Museum of Glass and members of her community to complete the project.