Kathy Bingaman creates her unique pieces of wearable art primarily from polymer and glass. Her work has been seen in local galleries and national magazines. She is also involved in the decorative restoration of historic buildings in St. Joseph County.Artist’s Biography
I was born and raised in southwest Michigan and graduated from Centreville High School in 1979. After high school, I had a great experience earning my Associate of Arts degree from Glen Oaks Community College in 1981. It was there that my art professor, Harvey Gordon, taught me to really “see” things. I was honored to be named Glen Oaks Distinguished Alumni of 2004. GO VIKINGS!!
When our two boys were young, I worked at home painting weekly specials window signs for a local grocery store, with an occasional sign or banner. After a couple of years in my basement, a friend and I opened Walnut Street Studio. We created custom floor cloths, hand-painted signs, banners, furniture, and faux finishes for our clients. We worked in our restored downtown Three Rivers studio.
Trying to preserve our historic Three Rivers downtown has always been important to me, and I served 10 years as a Downtown Development Authority Board Member. Among the projects I helped complete were several community participation murals and a handmade tile pool and fountain in our downtown. Our biggest project was the faux finishing and stenciling restoration in the St. Joseph County Courthouse.
While still involved in Walnut Street Studio, my husband and I opened “That Artsie Place”, a downtown gallery of local artists. We both found it fun to do, but very difficult to run a retail shop ourselves, and both work other full time jobs. After investing 3-1/2 years into the business, and 15 years into Walnut Street Studio, I decided to move my work back home and concentrate on my new love, polymer clay, and creating handmade jewelry. Bingaman Design was born.
Currently I’m working on restoring the stenciling at the Carnegie Center for the Arts in our downtown. I’m a member of Carnegie and also part of the Three Rivers Women’s Club that takes care of the building. For many years I’ve taught Carnegie’s Fourth Grade Art Awareness Program and also their Summer Full of Art Camp. I’m a charter member of the new Three Rivers Artists Guild. It’s fun to find others like me! Check us out at “3rivart.org”.
I find that everything is an inspiration for my work, and sometimes it actually overwhelming, so….I EAT CHOCOLATE! Yes, I love dark chocolate, margaritas, anything tropical, the Keys, and Jimmy Buffett. We became Parrot Heads a few years ago. I love the sound of steel drums! Oh, yes, and the horizon line at the beach. That’s where my studio is! Even though I’m in the upstairs bedroom of our Michigan home, I’m painting my space to be a purple cottage on the beach, with the horizon line of the water around me, and the blue sky above.
I love collecting stuff from the beach to add to my artwork. Recently I’ve collected beautiful sea glass from the beach, and I’m combining it with my polymer to make one-of-kind pieces.
My husband and I love to travel to interesting places, meeting fun people and cool galleries interested in selling my work. If days were 100 hours long, I’d also be a archaeologist studying ancient art and written languages. One of my dreams is to teach about ancient cultures by recreating their styles of beads and jewelry in polymer clay, perhaps on a ship while touring those areas.
Until then, I’m totally happy in my purple cottage studio at the beach in my upstairs at home!!!