Copper Cat Studio: Katie’s Story By Gerry Foster McCarroll
What, or who, inspires creativity? It can come from anywhere, or anything. In Katie Packham’s case, she was inspired to create mosaics after being fascinated by those in her family’s church in Oklahoma. Nineteen years ago, armed with a degree in design, she headed west to Reno where her brother John was already living. For the first 10 years in Reno she worked at a day job that was flexible enough to allow her to nurture a mural painting business. It was her love of mosaics that inspired her to quit her job and pursue becoming a professional artist.
Her journey is a perfect example of someone following, and then realizing, their dreams. I first met Katie when I commissioned her to paint a mural on my grandson’s bedroom wall. I had picked up her business card on a home tour, where she had painted a beautiful wall mural of a fairytale castle in a little girl’s room in one of the houses on the tour. Katie painted two murals for me, and in both cases, the work was exceptional. A few years later, a friend and I signed up for a mosaics class in a warehouse called Tessera on Dickerson Road. In addition to selling glass mosaic tiles, the owners were also offering classes. I was delighted to find out that the instructor was Katie. I spent many an enjoyable hour there learning the fine art of mosaics, and even took my grandsons along with me a few times.
I learned that in 2015, Katie had bought the tile business and began teaching mosaics and other classes out of her home studio, calling her business Copper Cat Studio. In January of 2016, she moved into a retail space in Midtown. She quickly outgrew that space and moved into her current location at 300 Kresge Lane in Sparks in April, 2017. Her dream, which she has been fortunate enough to realize, is to provide a place where people can come to be inspired and to nurture their creativity.
The new location, which includes a retail component and a yoga studio, was designed to become a real artisan workshop space. No sip and paint here! This has allowed her to attract expert working artists and artisans who are at the top of their game. In addition to Mosaics, classes are offered in Glass Fusion, Book-Making, Zen Tangle, Alcohol Inks, Henna, Wire-Wrapping, Resin Pouring, and Yoga. In 2013, Katie received her 200 hour yoga teacher certification through the Pure Satya program in Reno. She has also completed her Reiki Master Teacher certification. This is the fulfillment of another dream, that of incorporating yoga and meditation with the arts.
When not in her studio creating mosaics and teaching workshops, Katie is practicing yoga, trying out new recipes, and spending time with her husband exploring the beautiful Sierras. You can visit Katie and the other talented artists at Copper Cat Studio in Sparks, Tuesday-Thursday 11-6 p.m., Friday 11-4 p.m., and Saturday 11-3 p.m. Closed Sunday-Monday.
Gerry Foster McCarroll is a retired planner and community college instructor. She lives in Reno with her significant other Mike, two dogs, and two cats.