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THE PAVILIONS PHUKET BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET Kata Rocks
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Layered fusion of hope

Talented BISP artist, teacher helps local community with creativity


By Dalia Hilmi

Tuesday 2 December 2014, 09:00AM


Californian Phuket based artist, Kathy Manthei Coulson. Photo: Thatchapol Piluk, BISP

Californian Phuket based artist, Kathy Manthei Coulson. Photo: Thatchapol Piluk, BISP

California artist Kathy Manthei Coulson is currently a teacher of Art as well as the CAS (Creative, Action and Service) and Community and Services Coordinator at Phuket’s British International School.

A graduate of the University of California at Davis, Kathy left California in 1996 and headed to South Korea to teach English. After travelling through Asia for a year, she headed to Thailand in 1999 where she made the kingdom her creative space, ultimately drawn to Phuket because of the available art and teaching opportunities.

Kathy says, “The lack of art programmes available to me while I was in high school, is what inspired me to hold my own workshops, teach others and be creative. The Art Department at the British International School, is very well equipped and an inspiring creative space for the students.”
Kathy’s path as an artist has led her to become involved in various creative projects within her local community, helping others to also explore their creative side.

She taught art to homeless and low income women at the Wisdom Project in the United States. Through a grant from the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission in 1995, she organised a series of self-portrait mask-making workshops for children.

Kathy has also worked with the Life Home Project Foundation, a non-profit organisation set up in 2002 registered under Thai Law. The goals of the organisation are to prevent the spread of HIV, help those infected and provide shelter to HIV affected women and children. The organisation orginally provided HIV infected women with opportunities to attend various Handicraft and Skills Training Workshops, where Kathy says, “We helped the women produce holiday and Christmas cards, bags and shirts. We wanted to try and improve and promote their quality of life.”

A new series of holiday cards are currently being made by CAS students of the British International School, with all proceeds going to the Life Home Project Foundation.

Thai Residential

In 2005, together with the women of the Life Home Project Foundation, she set up Project Neptune, an expressive arts therapy programme for survivors of the 2004 South Asian Tsunami, from throughout Thailand’s affected provinces.

Kathy spends a lot of her own time painting and preparing for exhibitions. She exhibits her work internationally, attracting private and corporate collectors throughout Asia Pacific, Europe and the United States. She is a “Mixed Media” artist and enjoys experimenting with different materials.
She says she enjoys, “Getting lost in melding and layering acrylic paint, iridescent mediums, oxidising solutions, Chinese ink, metals, wood, paper, copper and gold leaf which is pure magic. I recently began working with encaustic – or hot wax – and now incorporate these luminous pieces into my mixed media compositions.”

Kathy’s dedication to art can be seen through her constant efforts in promoting her exhibitions and art work, through social media and her website.

Her upcoming exhibition “Fusions” on December 10 at the VR Gallery is sure to be a popular event.

She will showcase her latest pieces that can be described as, “Layered, stitched, woven, fastened. A fusion of earth, ocean and sky emerges. Ever changing luminescent light is reflected from a multitude of vantage points on each layered mixed media piece. Acrylic layered with sail cloth, metal, reactive paints, rust activator and oxidising solutions on paper with accents of encaustic and luminous dichroic glass”.

The “Fusions” exhibition will be held at VR Gallery at Villa Royale in Kata Noi, on December 10 from 6:00 – 8:00pm. For more information or to make a reservation, please email info@villaroyalephuket.com

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