Read on to learn how the song “Cathy’s Clown” was instrumental in starting a jewelry business.
WHO is Kathleen Traylor
I am the artist and designer of Song Sense Jewelry. This little bio gives you some information about me. I’d like to believe that when you purchase handmade products, you get not only the jewelry but a bit of the artist as well.
If you ask me what my crowning achievements in life have been, I’d include the birth of my son, of course, working a full-time job for 27 years, snow skiing, roller skating, mountain repelling, designing and creating jewelry, even co-founding a theater group and portraying some covetous roles on stages of the prestigious Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Nothing too amazing in those acts. Except I grew up in a time when I was told I couldn’t do them.
I always wanted to be an actress. Even as a small child I would choreograph my own pieces, wearing long nightgowns trailing behind me to disguise the leg I was missing. My favorite song to dance to was “Cathy’s Clown” by The Everly Brothers. I’d start in my little green rocking chair and rock to the beat. Then glide to the floor with a couple of spins for a splendid finish!
My first leg was amputated when I was 9 months old as a result of a condition called Amniotic Band Syndrome. I would have my remaining leg amputated at 16 years old when numerous surgeries could not make it viable. The condition also affected my spine, hips and pelvis, hand, heart and other internal organs. By the time I was 17, I’d had 26 surgeries. But I still wanted to do those dances! So in 1989, four friends and I would go on to form a theatre group for performers with disabilities called PHAMALY. I soared on that stage, discovering things about myself I never knew! I played everything from a conjoined twin to a teapot.
Then in 2007, I began having intolerable pain. I couldn’t sit without it hurting. And since I was in a wheelchair full-time, this limited my activities. I could endure it for 20 minutes, sometimes up to an hour, before the pain would demand I lay down. Suddenly my time was not my own. It was a difficult life change to adapt to, given that I was used to being active. And, I was an actress! What was I going to do with all this creative energy?
Eventually, I had to take an early disability retirement from my job of 20 years at the University of Colorado Medical School. And I had to give up my stage work. I was devastated. I attempted two shows after my retirement. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST in 2010, where I played Mrs. Potts, and FIDDLER ON THE ROOF in 2013, where I was Golde. It was difficult and I was so preoccupied with pain, half the time I couldn’t remember my lines. The cast and crew were so understanding and accommodating. But I couldn’t continue to do theatre that way. My performances were negatively affected. This was not the actress I wanted to be remembered as!
But I found something to do with that creative energy! The process of jewelry-making actually allows me to meditate, affirming myself pain-free. And it works! I call it Song Sense Jewelry!