Kathleen Alden Smick Memorial
Kathleen Alden Smick died on October 17, 2007, after battling
inflammatory breast cancer (IBC
for three brave years. This page is a place for thoughts from her
many friends and fans. To
add your own thoughts to this page, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org
with the word "memorial" in the
title. For other stories about her life, see Stories
, and of course her jewelry
Words and Wishes
"Please give a copy of the following to my friends and family.
Thank you every one. It was a great life and I'll see you on the
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn's rain.
When you awake in the morning's hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft star that shines at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
-- author unkown.
May your road be interesting, all your hills go down and may the wind
be at your back. ~ KAS
Today is yesterday's tomorrow. -- KAS
~ Kathleen Alden
Smick, Oct. 11, 1998
Experience with Cancer and Lessons To Help Others
Kathleen repeatedly expressed the wish that other people benefit from
her experience with cancer in general, and inflammatory breast cancer
in particular. To honor her wish, her partner Kelley Harris is
willing to discuss Kathleen's cancer story. He's collecting parts
of her story and information that may help others on his web page Cancer
Celebrations and Donations
At this time, a specific memorial celebration is not yet planned.
encouraged to celebrate her life through the way you lead your own
life. Kathleen would also welcome your efforts and donations
channeled towards spreading the word about breast cancer and helping
people get through it. (Examples: http://www.bcrcsb.org/home.html
To help carry on Kathleen's jewelry art spirit, we set up a
scholarship/workshop fund to aid students of the Jewelry Arts program
at the Santa Barbara City College Adult Education. If you
wish to support this fund, your donations would be welcomed by Janice
Lorber, Jewelry Arts Coordinator, 22 Saint Ann Dr., Santa Barbara, CA
93109. The working name is "Kathleen Smick Memorial Jewelry
Spirit Fund", for scholarships
and special workshops. Additional donations can be made to the
Earth and Sky Circle Foundation. (heyoka-art.com). Plus any cause
supporting cats, hawks, owls, and open space.
by Friends and Fans
"Kathleen shared her life and playful creative spirit with me for
eleven and half wonderful years. While I can't help but want more
time with her, I feel thankful for the time I had. I will spend
the rest of my life both missing and appreciating her. While I
truly want to believe that her spirit has moved on to do other work,
and that I may even join her again someday, I don't claim to know how
this vast and mysterious universe really works. But I do know
that we can all take the lessons and inspiration she offered us, pass
them on to others, and thereby her spirit will live on here and
now." -- M. Kelley Harris, life partner, fiance, and adoring
fan. Santa Barbara, California, 10/18/07
"It is with very heavy hearts that we say goodbye to Kathy. She
brought such great happiness and joy to our dear son,
Kelley. We loved her independent spirit and the powerful warrior
woman we saw in her. The wonderful and artful jewelry, into which
she poured her soul, showed her unique spirit and strength. We
will hold her tenderly in our hearts. She was always so loving
and thoughtful towards us. When we look up at the night skies, we
will see her in the heavenly sparkling star dust. We love you
greatly our very dearest Kathy." -- Ron & Marlies Harris, father
and mother of Kelley, Colorado, 10/18/07
"Kathy has been my closest friend and inspiration for the past 47
years. I was in first grade and she was in second grade when we
first met. I learned a great many lessons from my “sister”.
Perhaps the most important was that imagination can be brought to life
in action, art and word and that a brave and loving spirit can
accomplish any dream. I know Kathleen’s spirit will remain with
me and until I see her again whenever I see anything of beauty I will
think of her." -- Peggy Frye, friend and sister in spirit,
"My Medicine sister Kathleen was a dear, gifted, helpful, friend and
apprentice. I miss her greatly as she joins with Snow Deer who
went before her last year. Both were helpful in creating the
Earth and Sky Circle and the memorial trees that we started planting
will now honer them both. The sacred space will be called,
Kathleen & Snow Deer Grove.
The rain is singing in harmony
With the sad song playing my harp
Another dear sweet friend has left
To journey into the spirit world
Like a falling star her light shown bright
Her glow lingers in all of us
Leaving behind gifts of art and beauty
Through her students she lives on
Between us death cannot break the bond
Our friendship is too strong to die
We can sense she is still close by
Her presence is a helper in our hearts
Kathleen, enjoy your new place to create
As you become one the stars above
Good Medicine, Heyoka
-- Heyoka Merrifield, Stevensville, Montana,
"Kathy will be truly missed by all of us at the Wake Center Jewelry
classes. Kathy was loved by everyone and we will always remember
her for her gentleness, patience, and jewelry making talent. She
was an inspiration to all of us." -- Dennis & Angela Maloy,
Santa Barbara, California, 10/19/07
You fought valiantly and displayed unrivalled courage by your demeanor,
your continued smile, and your unrelenting concern for those around
you. I can say with all my heart that nobody on this earth could
have matched your fellow traveler Kelley for his dedication,
determination, brilliance of research and insight, and love.
Here I sit, crying. Few people on this planet can evoke that emotion. I
will miss you always.
Take care, gentle spirit.
-- Clive Munro, Florida, 10/20/07
"Ohhhh, Kathy, where to begin? You are my sister, my dear sweet friend,
confidant, my ski instructor partner, my roommate, my photo traveling
buddy. My Renaissance partner. You will always be such a big part of my
life. We grew up in neighboring towns and even went to the same college
in jewelry making but didn't meet until our days in Colorado. Then when
I had to move to Santa Barbara, you moved too. We were so close and
this hurts so much. My sweet Kathy I love you. I've saved so many of
your cards and have so many of your pictures to look at and just admire
you. You give me strength. The adventures you have taken and some of
the stories you have told me have always awe struck me. Like your
bicycling through Europe by yourself. Wow, girl, that was incredible.
Your thighs were like rocks. Remember? hahaha. You are my spirit
warrior, Kathleen. I know you're my angel now and please come to me
when I need you because I'm going to be needing you a lot.
_Your dearest friend, Debbie" -- Deborah Welsh, Sausalito,
Vulnerable without being weak.
Strong without being overbearing.
Courageous without being reckless.
An old soul filled with the wisdom of many lifetimes.
I admired her:
Sense of humor,
She approached her art with a meticulous perfection that made sure each
of metal or stone was placed just so. Kathy was one the most gifted
I have ever known.
Once, in the blackest of times in my life, even when facing her own
hardship, she found time to lend an empathetic ear, which helped to
back from the edge.
Some people believe in families of kindred spirits. If there are
kindred spirits, I would like to believe she and I are of the same clan.
I SHOUT OUT TO THE WORLD!
A GREAT SOUL HAS MOVED ON!
A GREAT HEART NO LONGER BEATS ON PLANET EARTH!
I will miss you.
Micheal Towers", Santa Barbara, California, 10/20/07
"What a tremendous blow to hear of this magnificent person's
departure from us too soon...such a
wonderful friend to so many. Kathy taught me almost everything I
know about drafting while we
worked together at DAC in Carpinteria, CA in the early 1990s. We
worked alongside each other and
became great friends. She was a whiz at drafting and could design
parts and/or turn out drawings
faster than anyone else in the company. When there was real work
to be done, Kathy was the
first-string pick of our engineers. No one else came close. As
Kathy and I got to know each other
better, our friendship grew. We shared many lunch breaks
together in the restaurants of
Carpinteria and had wonderful times.
Whether enjoying photography, fencing, or jewelry making, Kathy
always stayed young at heart. She
loved having fun and constantly explored new interests. In the
mid-1990s, a vintage, tall masted
ship visited Santa Barbara, and Kathy--with her then-new passion
for fencing--signed on as one
of the "pirate" actors for a local event, swinging from the
ratlines and putting on quite a show
with her sword. That was typical Kathy. Not too long after--again
in typical Kathy fashion--she
changed job tracks, devoting herself to her jewelry making and
long-term love of photography. A
look at her website proves that she went after her new passion
with the same exuberance and focus
with which she tackled engineering. Everything was done to
perfection, and her soul still shows
in her gorgeous work.
When I moved to Digital Instruments and met Michael (Kelley) Harris,
I knew they were an ideal
match and soon introduced them to each other. After all, who
could be a better partner for a
great person than...well, another great person? Kathy and Kelley
were truly meant for each
other, and it gave me tremendous joy to see them fall in love and
share their lives together. As
very sad as Kathy's loss makes me now, I am also comforted that
Kathy had these wonderful years
with Kelley. She could never have shared her life with a better
I will continue to miss Kathy, and only wish that I had spent
more time with her. It truly
grieves me to hear of her passing. How to leave a monument worthy
of her? I believe the best way
is to also live as she did: fearless, free, and full of life. She
would want that for all her
-- Doug Bradley, Los Olivos, California,
"Wonderful, treasured woman.
Gone, and we remain."
-- Yona L. Munro, Florida, 10/21/07
Beautiful flower, sweet friend.
Lover of beauty and life.
Patient giver of time and knowledge.
Humble servant of nature, stone and metal.
Brilliant talent, brave goddess, trusted ear,
I love you and thank you for all that you have shared.
I will remember your essence and take heed of what I have learned from
I will listen for your guidance, and rejoice in my good fortune to call
you friend." -- Maile, Santa Barbara, California, 10/21/07
"My last memory of Kathy was of talking to her on the phone about what
kind of cat litter she uses. Kathy reminds me of my cat, and of my
favorite book, Alphabet of
Thorn. Kathy gave me this book a couple years ago along with a box full
of post cards with
fairies on them. Whenever I use one of these post cards, or
notice Alphabet of Thorn on my bookshelf, I
think of Kathy and I remember how much she loved and how caring she
was. I remember the time
all of you came here and skiied with us. That was a lot of fun for me,
and I remember how Kathy
had so much spirit and was so lively. I believe she is still here in
spirit, and she will always
be. I just want you to know how much we love and miss her and that we
all love you and hope that
she will be remembered forever and loved forever."
-- Camille Wasinger, Boulder, Colorado, 14
yrs old, 10/21/07
"Kathleen and I didn't see each other often but I felt very close to
Maybe it was her unassuming manner that allowed me the delightful
feeling of tight bond.
Maybe it was our innate sacred sisterhood.
Maybe it was our mutual passion for earths' treasures.
Our journey included 40th birthday's, a slumber party with poetry,
toe-nail painting and karaoke, a little business, a radiation
treatment, tea at the Casbah showing our finds from days in Tucson, the
great food of Govinda's, Mary's Christmas craft fairs, the renaissance
fair, a healing session with a Hopi medicine man, a few visits to her
studio, she a few visits to mine, and Tucson, always the Gem and
Mineral show in Tucson. We had a knack for running into each other
within hours of arriving in Tucson with a million other people. It
happened so often that I started to rely on it. Wandering excitedly
amongst a sea of people and mountains of stones and there she'd be,
magically in my path. I loved our show and tells in Tucson; I
loved seeing the stones she picked, and hearing her vision for them,
she could open a new window of perspective for me and I enjoyed the
A few weeks ago she was so persistently on my mind that I called
her with pretense that I needed a name and phone number. Funny, I felt
I needed a pretense, I felt shy about intruding or prying. Kelley told
me that she felt that her condition made me uncomfortable. And maybe it
did, I have watched 4 other friends transition in the last 2 years,
maybe I didn't want to believe or face that she was going to be one of
them. Maybe if I didn't see her slowly slipping step by step into the
otherworld I could pretend it wasn't happening.
But I needed to connect with her. I left a message, she returned my
call and left me a message, and that was our last communication.
Listening to her voice on my voicemail relaying information that I
really didn't need. What I needed was to hear her voice. To gauge from
it if she needed my help in anyway. I got no hint that she would be
gone in a week, nor that she was in need. What I got was what I
always got from her, helpfulness, willingness, appreciation......... I
well lived my friend...
Thank you for gracing this planet with your light and love.
I am so very grateful..........
and there is sorrow......
A sufi prayer:
"May the road rise to greet you
and the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
and the rain fall gently on your fields
until we meet again
may the goddess hold you
in the hollow of her hand."
-- Maile, Santa Barbara, California, 10/21/07
"We were so sorry to hear of Kathleen's passing. She will be very badly
missed by both of us. Kathleen's passing seemed so sudden to us
as it seemed like just a while back the two of you were cycling
up Old San Marcos together. Know for sure that her journey continues
and that only her body has been left behind. She has a bright soul that
will continue to burn brightly and be carried by all who knew her!" --
John and Lorrie Richards, North Carolina, 10/21/07
"Last year, I was given the assignment to redesign the magazine
“Lapidary Journal” as the magazine was undergoing a name change and a
thorough over-haul to become “Jewelry Artist Magazine”. As a
graphic designer, I’m used to starting projects in subject areas that I
know little about. However, when I took my first look at Lapidary
Journal, I knew I was in a foreign country. In rode Kathy to the
rescue. She had shared her jewelry with me and I appreciated the
singular vision she had and the meticulous craftsmanship which she
lavished on all her pieces. I had listened to wax passionate
about her tools, and the ecstasy and inspiration she felt at finding
that perfect gem or metal. I also knew she was an avid
reader of “Lapidary Journal”, and so, whether she wanted to or not, she
became my muse.
I used images of her jewelry in the various comps and working pages for
the magazine. I imagined colors she would wear, and
embellishments she would appreciate. I even chose type faces
based on time periods I knew intrigued and inspired her like the
renaissance or moments of the art nouveau. I ran every idea, notion,
concept through a “Kathy filter”, before putting it down on
paper. All the nuance and inflections had to be true to what
would please her. I even lost sight of my actual client a few times, I
was so sure that Kathy was ultimately the one who had to be pleased
with the final product. I wanted the magazine to still be “her
magazine” even though it had a new name, new owners, and a totally new
In the end, I think she was pleased and still felt a complete kinship
with the redesigned journal. Luckily, it seems also to be a hit
with others. I was so fortunate to be able to hold Kathy as
the embodiment of the “Jewelry Artist”. Imbuing the magazine with
her talent, her vision, and her spirit seems to have been a recipe for
its success. But more importantly, it allows a piece of Kathy’s
spirit to live on in this magazine, and whether anyone else knows it or
not, she remains at the very heart of a touchstone for her artistic
Thanks Kathy for all your inspiration.
Your almost-sister-in-law, Susan"
-- Susan Wasinger, Boulder, Colorado, 10/22/07
"I am so sad to have to say goodbye to such a creative, gentle, warm
spirit as you Kathy. We are much the worse off for your leaving this
world. My prayer is that you now journey along the wolf road with our
kindred spirit, Snowdeer. I pray our beloved medicine birds, the crows,
guide your way and I pray it's a good journey.
Aho mitakuye oyasin
Julia Crystal Crow"
-- Julia Crystal Crow, California, 10/22/07
"Although I only knew Kathy a little over a year, I was quickly touched
by her thoughtfulness, intrinsic warmth, and simple openness of
character. She was easy to be around... easy to talk to... easy to
relax with... She made me feel good to be myself, probably because she
was so comfortable and at home with herself. "Never hesitate to
ask me any questions about my breast cancer," she once told me; "I'm
always happy to share with you." Plus, who couldn't love the fact
that a middle-aged woman signed her emails with a smiling cat face?
Thank you, Kathy, for being a shining example of a strong and beautiful
woman; thank you for sharing that wonderful dinner with Heyoka and me;
thank you for passing on your harp, which will remind me of you
whenever I play it; and most of all, thank you for leaving the world
more beautiful than when you entered it, through your jewelry and
~ Kelly Morgen, fellow apprentice",
"Very sad and heartbreaking news ! She was a most excellent soul
and she will be missed! We had the arts in common.....we attended
a gem show together one summer and that is truly where I learned how
talented she was.. I had a great time listening to her talk to the
vendors about the different stones and then she would turn to me and
say "I will cut this big piece of "blah" this way and that
and I will turn it into a dragon pendent" ....what an
imagination! I was also lucky enough to visit her jewelry studio
on her home property. As soon as I walked into this tiny slice of
heaven that was wall to wall with her treasured possessions.....I
thought to myself that Kathleen was so lucky to be doing what she loved
and to have such a peaceful space to do it in. Kathleen was also
so very lucky to have met her soul mate Kelley. My heart
truly goes out to you Kelley - big hugs for you!
Much love, Alycia Towers", Santa Barbara, California, 10/22/07
"... just a few weeks before. Kathy seemed so bright and
energized. Though I've only been with her on two occassions, she
made a strong impression on me as a woman of depth and integrety and
wonderful artistic talent. Her jewelry was so finely crafted and
beautiful. I regret that I didn't get to know her better and
spend more time with the both of you. She seemed happy and
fulfilled in her life with you and in her own little studio which she
spoke about. My heart-felt compassion goes out to you - I sense
Kathy is fine wherever she is on her journey. It's the people
left behind that feel the weight of the empty space."
-- Dale Figtree, Santa Barbara,
"I've found comfort in all the stories and memories of Kathleen really
enjoying life and loving to play. Also in a couple of thoughts
her friend Debbie sent to Kathleen:
'Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you
meet is fighting some kind of battle.'
'Life isn't about waiting for the storm to
It's about learning to dance in the rain!'
Kathleen definately danced in the rain she faced."
-- M. Kelley Harris, life partner, fiance, and
fan. Santa Barbara, California, 10/23/07
I remember the day we met; I was great with child and you came down the
street in Harris Park. Remember? You came to meet the woman Julie (my
step daughter) had described as the Wicked Stepmother. Oh we became
fast friends and had many hours of conversation, laughter, tears, joy
Kathy, you are philosopher, teacher, student
You are magician, seeker, knower
camper, hiker, peacemaker
you are hero, woman, mystic
optimist, realist, dreamer
artist, friend, confidante
you are grace, independance, an enigma
you are spirit dancing in the stars
Oh I remember Lovato's woman, peyote stitiching, moonlight hot tubs. I
remember long walks and heart talks. I remember your California Beach
Birthday party in Harris Park. The snow was deep, and the wood stove
was cooking so that we could wear our beach togas, swimsuits, and
summer wear. Remember? I fired up the hot tub, and we all gathered to
drink Orion's Belts--toasting to another year ahead.
I remember watching "The Greatest American Hero" and sitting on the
deck watching the sun go down. I remember how you make every space come
alive with Kathy--all your little nooks and crannies filled with Kathy
stuff. Stones and feathers, gems and bones. Everything has a place.
My heart is filled with memories. Thank you
"She Dances With Faeries
I see her
Long of limb,
Her slender fingers adorned
With the beauty she created
I see her
Hair of spun gold
She reaches out
And the cup leaves the table
Attaching itself to her hand
I see her
Grace her ethereal form
Orion’s belt carries her sword
And the Pleiades dangle from her ears
I see her
She dances with Faeries
In the Redwood forest
She soars with owls and eagles
Her laughter calls out the stars.
I see her
My sister, my friend,
She dances with Faeries
I'm not sure if you remember me -- I was a neighbor of Kathy's while she
lived on Prospect Street in Oak View, and am a buddy of Susan
I am so utterly sad to hear that she has moved on. Our little world on
Prospect Street has been the poorer for her absence, and I know that
world will be, now, as well.
I have a number of wonderful memories of Kathy:
I see her patient, quiet, loving strength with her mom, along with a
superbly wicked sense of humor as the two of them navigated her mother's
I see her when we gathered for the First Annual Prospect Street Art
-- our own ridiculous response to Ventura's Art Walk. We gathered, drank
champagne, and giggled at our own silliness...and then were struck
awe when the real artist among us revealed her talents as a
And I see her, one December, several years ago, when a group gathered
house to celebrate the Blue Moon that had come that month. We shared
stories, and celebrations of the moon, and ended up on the bike path
And I remember talking with her when the two of you met -- she felt
had come home with you. I'm so sorry that your time together was short,
am so glad that she found you.
All the very best,
Leigh Melander, Oak View, CA", 10/24/07
"Although I talked with Kathleen only a half dozen times, I won't
forget her calm explanation of how she removed rattlesnakes from her
yard occasionally to protect her curious cat. She used an
extended-reach light-bulb remover to catch them, then boxed and trucked
them to a place far away where they would pose no danger to people,
pets, or themselves--from people or cars. I'll remember her as
Kathleen, the Rattlesnake Whisperer.
Claude Macri", 10/24/07
"A beautiful friend indeed!
Though its been some time since I've seen Kathleen I never once saw a
bird in flight that didn't remind me of her, thank you for the
experiences we shared as we explored the energies of stones, the road
trips we journied on together as we drove to Renaissance Fairs and sold
our wares. I always reflect upon these experiences and feel that
in your presence you were always teaching me a deeper medicine
experience. I remember the owl we came across, its death was a
beautiful spirit emblem, your energy like the owl lives by night and
through the darkness a guide to another world in which I know you are
present. I will think of these moments as a gift of enlightenment
as well as the empowerment of my being, I miss you!
~ElizaBeth Frey~ Avery", California, 10/24/07
"We were attending a workshop on enameling, and I watched Kathy work on
her project with awe, as she carefully added layer upon layer of enamel
to what she was making. At the end of the day, she had a
beautiful Eagle's wing. Perfect in every way. It was
beautiful, and she told me she loved how beautiful feathers were.
And now, every time I think of Kathy, I know she is free, and flying
with the eagles. I will always remember you, Kathy, with
love. Pat McCloskey", 10/24/07
It is so very hard to say goodbye. You were like a daughter to us, and
loved as if you were. We did not see you as often as we would have
liked after You & Deb moved to S.B. and now you are gone , much too
soon. We all know that your sweet spirit will live on for eternity.
We will always remember the fun times at the "O" ranch, Breck, &
the many holidays you shared & spent with us. We will hold you in
our hearts & treasure our memories of you always. Thank you for
being there for me in Feb. 2005 when I heard the "heart stopping" news
that you had a year earlier. You were truly a "light at the end of a
tunnel". You touched our lives & we loved you
We write this with much sorrow & many tears. Dearest Kathy, you
will be so MISSED.
Joe & Dee Buriegi
"It feels rare and precious to have an instantaneous rapport with
someone and to develop an even greater bond when meeting, for what
always seemed like such a short time, each year. My partner, Phil
and I met Kathleen at Catalina State Park outside of Tucson, AZ.
We were all camping there so we could shop at the "big" Tucson Gem and
Jewelry show. Off the bat we had a lot in common, the park,
the show, we were the only van campers and in record time we found out
we loved to talk, laugh, eat the same foods, have show and tell, the
beauty and magic of nature and the mystery of being.
I think she intuitively saw the best in all, which brought out
the best in all. So that's how I think of Kathleen. A rare
and precious, beautiful and magical, talented and creative being.
The lights flickered off and on in our bead store the other day.
I think it was Kathleen. I really do. I love you
girlfriend! Jo Merkle, Athens, OH", 10/25/07
"Kathleen was a rare friend. One of those people you hit it off
with so fast it seems like you knew each other forever and with who,
after a years seperation, the conversation flows like you barely left
the room. She struck me as being endlessly in love with and
curious about the world around her and her relationship with it. It's
what made her art glow. Kathleen was a remarkable person in so
many ways and I'll miss her. Alot. I like to believe we meet the
people we're supposed to, when we're supposed to, to have the
experiences that enrich our lives. Kathleen certainly enriched
mine with her genorous spirit, her thoughtfulness, her kindness,
her spunk, that wonderful Kathleen sense of humor and so much more.
Thanks and Happy Trails, Kathleen. Phil Berry-friend from Ohio
and fellow camper in Catalina", Athens, Ohio, 10/25/07
"It has taken me five days after hearing about
Kath's passing (I almost always called her Kath) to be able to sit down
and write this. I'm crying again as I do so. I hadn't
talked to her for much too long, and the last I had she insisted she
was doing great. She didn't like the drugs but she was doing
fine. I admired her incredible strength and spirit, and the way
she remained so upbeat. If you didn't know she had cancer,
you wouldn't have known she was sick, so very concerned was she with
what was happening in YOUR life. She never complained-she just
answered my questions, and then we'd talk about jewelery, common
friends, our pets, and our significant others. The last time I
talked with her I told her I missed her, and couldn't wait til she came
up to visit.
Now I think about all the times she
helped me in jewelry class. She wasn't a T.A. then, just a
regular student like me. Well, not like me. She was
amazingly talented, and amazingly generous with her time and knowledge
and sharing them with me. I knew nothing-REALLY. I had
never had a jewelry class before, and she helped me so much. She
was incredibly patient and endlessly encouraging. I told her then
she should be a teacher. It made me very happy when she started
being an assistant. And her jewelry! I always had a thing
for her pieces: I thought they were fantastic. I talked
about her so much my husband secretly commissioned her to make a
necklace for our 14th anniversary. It's the animal circle on the
website. Naturally, I think it's the most beautiful piece she
Our friendship wasn't just based on our
appreciation of jewelry. We hiked together, biked together, went
out to lunch, just hung out, admired the view from her house, petted
all her cats, petted all my cats and other pets too-in fact, she took
great care of them for us when my husband and I went away on trips,
talked on the phone, had a wonderful time on her 50th birthday
party.......I thought it was so cool she planned her own birthday
party. Basically, she was just cool.
Kath, I miss your smile, your laugh,
your inner beauty and your friendship. And yet not-you have
impacted me positively in ways you could not imagine in so many areas
of my life-you will be with me forever. I love you
forever--------------- Sherry Piatt", California, 10/25/07
"Kathy and I became sisters many years ago. She was a wonderful
woman and so full of life. She was a very unselfish person,
giving of herself and she loved life more than anyone I know. Due
to past circumstances we've talked only a few times in the last 13
years and the last time I was able to see her was in 2002. I
missed seeing her and the conversations we used to have and I was sorry
we didn't get to talk more. She was a wonderful Aunt Kathy to my
two boys and they loved her dearly. They loved spending time with
their Aunt and Kelley. I'm glad they'll always have great
I've learned one thing from her passing......Always keep in touch with
your family and dear friends and don't let anyone stop you from doing
We all miss you tremendously!!!
~ Kim S., California, 10/27/07
"Now she lives in every rock, every sunset, every peculiar shadow
that draws me in and rekindles my curiosity about this planet we
all call home. As long as I draw breath, she will always be
with me. I'm typing this in the same room where she stayed
with us on a ski trip to Tahoe 14 years ago. A thousand
years from now, a part of her will still be marveling at the way
the sun dances in the trees where we all were sitting all those
many years ago.
Gentle, peaceful and calm... truly an old soul." ~ Eric Warp,
Sacramento, California, 10/29/07
"I'd never held a sacred object until I held one of Kathy's
creations (the phoenix, I think). As much as anyone can
imbue living spirit into metal and stone, she pulled it off... the
jewelry itself seemed to have a soul. She left a part of
her behind that was larger than herself in her art. There's
a universe inside each object, as though each was crafted by a
team of gifted, loving, whip-smart and thoughful angels. I
was struck particulary by the phoenix, because as we passed it
around among my wife, myself and daughter, we all fel the power
of the piece, as though it had a life of it's own. I can
still fell the warmth and weight, and energy, as I write this.
When I first met her, back in Bailey, she'd sculpted a funky
little plaster house that was kind of M.C. Escher-esque.
Her house was festooned with all things colorful, flowing,
intriguing and magical. Everything about her spoke of the
richness of her inner life. The Renaissance Faire folk (of
whom Kathy was one) have a word for those who live in a world
devoid of imagination-- the "mundanes." Kathy was anything
but, and we're all the better for that.
Such a delightful, warm, witty and funny woman. You will be
missed, and yet with us always, my friend." ~ Eric Warp,
Sacramento, California, 10/29/07
"I'm one of the instructors out at the Wake Center. Kathy
was my assistant for a couple of the beginning
classes. I don't even know where to begin, except to say
that she was a pearl beyond price. I don't know what she may have
told you about teaching, but it's not easy. I usually describe it
as doing standup for three hours, with blowtorches. She
made things so much easier. With many assistants, I have to keep
one ear on them, to hear what they're telling the students, and
to make sure they're right, and nobody's going to get hurt.
I didn't really know Kathy except as a friendly face, and talented
regular when she first started assisting me, so I was a little
worried. After the first 30 seconds in class, any thought
of that went out the window. I knew that I could trust her,
completely. That is the highest praise I know how to give.
To know that I could trust her to be right. Every time. To
know that I didn't need to listen, that I could relax and give my
full attention to the students in front of me was an amazing
gift. I hope she knew how much I appreciated it. She was so
patient, and giving, especially with the beginners. I've been
doing jewelry and metalwork since I was fifteen. Sometimes,
I forget how I learned certain things, or forget that there were
ever times when I didn't know six different ways to do 'x'. She
was a wonderful reality check, reminding me of what it felt like
when it was all bright and new. Her enthusiasm was contagious,
and it was a joy watching her share it with the students,
especially once they were her own. She touched many lives at the
Jewelry Lab, and now that I read all the stories here, it's
clear that she left a trail of smiles behind her wherever she
A wake of smiles is a pretty good thing to leave behind."
~ Brian Meek, MFA., Santa Barbara, California,
"Dear Kathleen, K is for Kathleen a wonderful human being,and K is for
the Kindest of your Heart within you. I will always remember you."
~ Ron, 10/30/07
"Kathleen was a woman of valor, talent and grace. Her beauty
lives on in her work and in our memories." – Susan Welsh,
"KATHLEEN, my dear sweet friend, I Love You. I am proud of
you. And as always, there is no thing I will not do for you. I am
honored to have you for a friend and blessed to be your friend!
JOY" ~ Santa Barbara, California, 11/6/07
I knew you for such a short time and in that time you touched my
heart. You co-created a sacred tool for me called, Dragonfly to
Egypt. When you were creating my piece, you had the energy to
connect with my guides and draw from them what to make. You are
an amazing being and I am honored to have known you in this life.
Blessings to you,
Keenya McNamara" ~ England, 11/16/07
"Hello Kelley and Everyone,
It has been a month since our dear Kathleen has left us and it has been
a most difficult time for all of us at the Wake Center where
Kathleen taught jewelry. She was such a wonderful teacher and
lovely warm caring person and not a day has passed when she was not
remembered in some way. She did so very much for all of her
students and for the program as well. One of her students from
China spoke to me last Thursday evening (the last nite of classes for
this term) and said he thinks of her all the time and remembers
her warmth and how patient and loving she was to him and all who were
in her beginning class. Kathleen was always ready to help in so
many ways. I remember her seeing that the stone grinders needed
re-building so that the water system was more effective for stone
grinding and she just went to the store, bought some new tubing,
drilled holes in the side of the machines and fixed them all up so they
worked well. She always went the "extra mile"....with a
smile..helping with studio clean up days, coming in and giving special
talks about the special gem stones she had purchased in
Tuscon, assisting at the specialty weekend workshops with guest
jewelers and on and on. I will also personally never forget the day
when she same over to my house for a special Qijong therapy
session (which we did weekly) and realized that I had had a flood
in the house and all of the wooden parquet flooring was soaked
and spread out all over the front yard. Even though she was
scheduled to go to the clinic later that day, she "dropped everyhing"
and spent more than an hour collecting and stacking the
flooring for drying and storage. That was Kathleen...always ready
This month, we have collected $2000.00 from our Wake Center students
and friends and relatives of Kathleen to have 4 tiles designed
and installed on our Wake Center comemoritive wall. The tiles are
now being designed and will be installed in early January. We
plan to have a reception at that time. We have also created an
ongoing Kathleen Smick Memorial Jewelry Fund. Many have
already donated to the fund and it has more than $1000.00 in it at this
time. This fund will be used to support student scholarships to
our jewelry program and to augment our Weekend Special Seminar Program
where we invite accomplished jewelers from all over the country
to come in and give special presentations. Kathleen was very much
in favor and involved with this program. We will kick off this
Fund officially in January with a sale of jewelry tools and
equipment which we will all be donating to. I miss Kathleen so very
much. All I can do is remember how wonderful she
was....how she enriched my life, and enjoy the memories I have of
her. What a terrific woman!!!
Wake Center Jewelry Program Director" ~ Santa Barbara,
11/18/07 (Kathleen's birthday)
"On this special day I celebrate you with all my heart. I remember you
and what we did on many of your birthdays. They were all special. Thank
you Spirit for giving us the beautiful soul known as Kathy. She has
touched so many hearts and left her memories in us all. We are all so
grateful to have known her and to carry on her memory. Her smile, her
laughter, her beauty in all she was and in all she is now. Her gentle
love she had for all animals and her character she displayed in so many
ways. I am so grateful to have all the memories. Happy Birthday Kathy!
I love you, Deb in Sausalito" ~ 11/18/07 (Kathleen's birthday)
"I met Kathleen on only two brief occasions, in connection with a
wonderful piece she made for my friend Keenya. In that
short time my main impressions were of her great talent, beauty,
and kindness. She lives on firstly because there is
no death, and also in the memory of her wonderful and inspired
Leila" ~ Leila Mitchenall, 11/25/07
"To my dearest Kathleen;
Sorry it has taken me so long to get this onto your memorial Kathleen.
I just could not find the words; there are no words that can show who
you are and what you mean to the world and me. Love and strength are
the first thing I feel when I think of you. Through your lessons I have
more strength than I thought possible, thank you!!!! But what I really
want to get across is that you’re not dead or gone! So I would like to
share what happened the night of your memorial at the moon ceremony
that we both love so much.
The ceremony started out for the most part like I felt it would except
for a few new things we did in your honor. I thought I would start
where we all were going to talk about a little part of our lives that
we shared with you. We all lit a candle and one at a time we shared our
stories about you. I could feel you and as I stared into the fire
and listened to everyone talk. I felt you pass in front of Carolyn and
me. At that point Pam said that you were here with us and that you
could hear us.
All the stories where of a theme that we did not have you in our lives
anymore. I just remember feeling you sit next to me, as I looked
inward. I felt you poking me and you said: “Hear the frog, I am hear,
rejoice in my life, love me, don’t morn me”. I was being poked over and
over by you. I know you were trying to make me laugh. You were tickling
me. It took a lot to keep from laughing, and on reflection, I should
have just let it come.
Also I want to share what happened during our shamanistic journey after
the ceremony. I know that this was one of your favorite things to do at
the moon ceremonies. As the drumming started I was standing in front of
my hole that I use to go into the under world. You were standing next
to me; you were in a white dear skin dress. But I only saw that for a
second or less. (In retrospect you had a lot to do and a lot of us
wanted to be with you.) So the rest of the time I was with you, you
were moving at light speed, I only saw you as a streak of beautiful
light. You and I went down my hole in a flash and I was sitting with
you and my ancestors around a fire. Then we swirled up and into the
heavens with all the stars around us. We came back down into the cave
and we were sitting around the fire again feeling warm and at peace. I
was with the best of friends! At one point all the candles that we lit
during the story telling, were floating around us in the cave. Were you
showing me something? There was more, but that is for me.
I know (own) in my heart, mind, and soul that you, Kathy, are not gone
or dead. Yes your physical frame is gone back to the one who loaned it
to you. We all have to do the same when we choose to go onto our next
work. Thank you Earth Mother for the loan of this thing we call a body.
I am so grateful that you are a part of my life Kathy!!!!
May the blessing be in love and light.
Keith Grey Hale" ~ California, 11/26/07
"I was so sorry to learn just today of Kathleen's passsing. She
was a truly visionary artist. I have admired her exquisite
jewelry online for some time."
~ Laura Werner, 12/14/07
We used to have so much fun on Christmas. Teaching skiing at
Breckenridge was always a long day on Christmas. It was a happy festive
day. Fairly slow in the morning and people showing up in the afternoon
for a half day of skiing and ski school. We used to have so much fun
skiing together. Going up the T bar was always a challenge for us. LOL.
How many times did we wipe out half way up and have to start over?
Skiing the bowl was worth it. Going off the cornice was a thrill. After
ski school we'd drive down to my folks house in Denver. They were
always so happy to see us. They really loved you and still do. So many
memories I hold dear to my heart dear One. It still hits me hard
sometimes that I can't pick up the phone and call you. I miss you
everyday. With love, Deborah in Sausalito." 12/25/07
As I sit in my office, I await the first Crocus. It is a long way off,
as the Crocus is the first flower to bloom on the mountainsides here in
I just re-read many stories from your wonderful companions on this
journey through life, and I am thrilled that you are able to connect
with this diverse and amazing group of people.
This is the day after my birthday, and my eyes are missing your
physical presence. My heart is full with the love we shared; my ears
miss your voice; my memory holds dear the moments we shared; I can hear
your laughter when I remember our silly moments. I remember you.
Thank you for taking part of your journey through the Rocky Mountains
and touching my life.
I see you in the snow, the blue sky, the hawk, the crow. I see you in
the crystals, the gold, the amber. I see you.
Here and now.
Memorial Tile dedication
(Jewelry School, Santa Barbara City College, Adult Ed, Wake Center)
"On a sunny Saturday Mar 22, 2008, 35 of Kathleen's jewelry-school
friends gathered for a
dedication of memorial tiles for Kathleen. (You can see the tiles
photos page.) It was a very
sweet celebration of Kathleen's place in the jewelry school. Her
friends shared stories of their
interactions with Kathleen over the years. I learned more about
with each story. I offered one story:
'I think Kathleen would be totally thrilled by this honor and
celebration. She would both glow with pride, and blush with
modesty. Kathy truly loved the jewelry program here at the
Wake Center. She spoke of it very often. She loved the
facilities, the instruction, and especially you jeweler friends
that make-up a supportive artistic family.
I'll try to channel her lighter side for a moment. I think she
find great irony and humor in
dying of breast cancer and then being associated tiles, on a wall.
"Tiles" were part of her
colorful vocabulary. She grew up playing sports with guys.
Whenever she heard, 'Balls to the
wall!', she countered with, 'Tits to the tiles!' It always made
blush. But she said it with
pride. She lived her life that way.' " -- Kelley Harris,
Santa Barbara, California, 3/22/2008
Kathleen's Experience with Cancer and Lessons To Help Others
"Kathleen repeatedly expressed the wish that other people benefit from
her experience with cancer in general, and inflammatory breast cancer
in particular. To honor her wish, I'm very willing
to discuss Kathleen's cancer story. I've started collecting parts
of her story
and information that may help others on a web page Cancer
. " -- Kelley Harris,
Santa Barbara, California, 3/30/2008
"We began by setting up an altar with Kathy and her feathers in the
center. We placed gifts,
mementos, sage, crystals and her pipe surrounding her ashes. We began
with an explanation of
Kathy’s connection with the Native American traditions. Then we called
in the four directions.
East We call on the grandmothers and grandfathers of the east to watch
over this ceremony the
element of air Springtime the eagle and the Hawk
This is the time of new beginnings, creation, sunrise, morning dew on
the prairie, breath,
South We call on the grandmothers and grandfathers of the south to
watch over this ceremony—the
element of fire fire breathing dragons, lions horses hooves striking
sparks across the land
This is the time of igniting our spirit, summertime, laughter,
surprise, joy, energy, heat, flame
West we call upon the grandmothers and grandfathers of the south to
watch over this ceremony—this
is the element of water dragons as serpents dolphins all creatures of
the lakes and seas
The is the time of fluidity, love, fertility, exploration of mind and
soul, intuition, rivers,
springs and wells
North We call upon all our ancestors to watch over this ceremony this
is the element of earth,
bison, snakes, the stag, and the polar bear
This the time for looking within, hibernation, contemplation, silence
dreams caves, crystals,
Above-We call upon God-Goddess—all that is to watch over this ceremony,
this is the element of
Spirit/Ether, all the beings who inhabit the sky. The Sphinx and our
This is the time of transcendence, transformation, change, everywhere
and nowhere, within and
without, the void, immanence.
Below we call upon our mother earth to watch over this ceremony, this
is the element nurturance,
groundedness, magnetism, roots, magic, home
This is the time of now, presence, manifestation, knowing, creation
We welcome you to this circle where we celebrate the life of our sister
We, of course improvised, and the words were spoken from our hearts.
We blessed everyone with sage, while Brian sang “The Lights of Cheyenne”
We passed Kathy’s pipe around as a talking stick and everyone had a
story to tell,
Deborah spoke about her sister with whom she shared many nights of
laughter, tears and love.
Trice Hufnagel spoke of knowing a different Kathy, one who was less
self-assured, more questioning.
Louis Gonzalez spoke of gentle loving times with this magical woman.
Brian spoke about memories in Fairplay, Haunted Houses, Kathy’s room
filled to overflowing with
Sandy (Deborah’s sister) spoke of sharing holidays with the family, and
Kathy as a loved member of
Joe (Deborah’s step-dad) spoke of Kathy’s ability to listen, to be
present, to allow one to feel
heard and loved.
Dee (Deborah’s mother) spoke of the years with Kathy as a member of the
family, their shared
experiences with breast cancer, and the tenderness of Kathy’s love.
Howard Oberlander spoke of Kathy’s gentle nature and her gentle nature
when she came to visit.
Nancy Powell spoke of her joy when Kathy and Deborah taught Dylan
(Nancy’s son) to ski. His love
of skiing continues to this day.
Jonathan Bath (Raven’s husband) spoke of his sorrow at having missed
knowing Kathy whose life
touched Raven’s life profoundly.
Raven Gebhart Bath spoke of her relationship with Kathy in loving
tones. She told of Kathy’s
patience when Raven (then two years old) would search all of the nooks
and crannies in Kathy’s
space and with glee and delight listen to the stories Kathy told of
each object found.
Jim Goyette told of Kathy’s ability to master any skill she approached,
fencing, beading, camping, jewelry making. She did not stop until she
Aileen Grayce spoke of Kathy as a sister, a friend, a compatriot, a
We then shared in gift giving. We drank Kathy’s favorite wine, passed
around a basket in which
Trice had placed items of Kathy’s and everyone received a memento. We
gave the women “Promise
Bracelets” and men received pins from the Cancer Society.
Brian sang “Moriah.”
We then, individually, took turns visiting our favorite “spot with
Kathy” at the O’ Ranch, and we
sprinkled her ashes in those spots.
During this time Brian sang “Wildfire.”
We sang an a capella rendition of “How could anyone ever tell
you, you are anything less than
We closed with a prayer and the rain began to pour, buckets and buckets
as we drove out of the
O’Ranch. We went to the Canyon Grille for dinner and toasted, roasted,
laughed and cried. Thank
you, Kathy and Kelley for giving us this opportunity to celebrate the
love and light we shared
with Kathy." -- Aileen Grayce 9/22/08
For other stories about Kathleen's life, see Stories
and of course her jewelry
. And more photos....