Theresa Killgore grew up in Oklahoma in a family of modest means. As a young girl, she dreamed of success, both professionally and financially. At the age of 10, having saved all of her tooth fairy and birthday money, she purchased her first mineral rights. After studying science and engineering in college, she went on to have a 25-year career as a petroleum engineer and founded two large oil and natural gas companies in Tulsa.
In 1999, she decided to retire, and went in search of a creative outlet to fill her newfound free time. Her husband, Richard taught at the local junior college, and she decided to take a metalsmithing class there. From that point on, she was hooked and began using her new metalworking skills to create jewelry.
When Richard retired in 2000, he wanted to relocate to a more temperate climate than Oklahoma offers. They began to travel around the United States, always with an eye out for that perfect place to make their new home. When they visited the Olympic Peninsula, they knew right away that they wanted to live there. In 2001, they moved to the Port Angeles/Sequim area and Theresa began making her jewelry on a professional level. When Bainbridge Island Museum of Art (BIMA) opened their doors in 2013, Theresa was one of the first artists to sell her jewelry at the museum store. She also sold pieces at other museums and venues around the Kitsap Peninsula.
Theresa’s designs manifest in her imagination, from there she reverse-engineers them into both “serious” and “fun” one-of-a-kind pieces. Having always loved polished rocks, she decided to incorporate them into jewelry, as well as found objects she picks up on her travels, or just in her backyard. Her pieces have included a lava bead found in Reykjavik, embroidery from a shop in Lucerne, a Murano glass bead she picked up in Venice, a piece of bark she found in her backyard, a small toy she found at a shop in the Netherlands – everything and anything can be made into jewelry as long as the size and weight works. For her more serious pieces, she uses sterling silver, 14k gold and semi-precious stones. In addition to her jewelry collections, she creates painted silk textiles.
“Look at everything with an open mind and a creative eye!”
In 2019, Theresa and Richard decided to move to Bainbridge Island to be closer to amenities, and settled in a townhome in Roost, which is located in the Lynwood Center/Pleasant Beach Village neighborhood.
Initially, Theresa had no plans to open an artist studio, she instead planned to use a space in her garage to create her jewelry. However, when she found out a pop-up restaurant was interested in the commercial space below her townhome, she purchased the unit and turned it into her artist studio, as well as an outlet for other artists to showcase and sell their creations.
Theresa is a high-spirited, vibrant woman, and happily shows off her creations everywhere she goes. She frequently receives compliments from strangers, and when someone comments on one of her pieces that she’s wearing, she offers to sell it to them, as she said, “I sell off my neck all the time.” She’s also a bit whimsical and silly, which is not only evidenced by her “fun” jewelry collection, but also by the red powder-coated tricycle that sits just inside the entrance of Theresa’s studio. This was her childhood toy, which she’s put on cinder blocks as a tribute to her Oklahoma upbringing, as she said, “almost everyone in Oklahoma has a vehicle on blocks in their yard.”
Peaceful Spring Designs officially opened in April of 2021, where you can see many of Theresa’s uniquely beautiful one-of-a-kind designs. You will also find pottery and ceramics by Dawn McNamara and colorful masks by Camano Island artist A. Jeff Zigulis.
Theresa is also part of a monthly Art Walk at Roost, which will feature Peaceful Spring Designs, and the studios of Patricia Orellana and Lino Tagliapietra. The Art Walk is this Saturday, July 24th, from 3pm to 6pm. Refreshments will be served.
4566 Flying Goat Avenue NE, Unit C100, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110