Kathleen grew up in Kailua Kona, Hawaii, which is where she fell in love with the ocean and everything living in it. Hours and days were spent in tidepools, nose to nose with sea cucumbers, brittle stars and urchins. She credits these creatures for propelling her along the path of becoming an artist. She later moved with her family to Virginia and went on to earn a BFA at Virginia Commonwealth University, concentrating in metalsmithing and glass blowing. The tidepool critters never left her. They continually visited her drawings, sculptures and jewelry designs.
When Kathleen was at VCU, she was fortunate to be a part of the Radical Jewelry Makeover (RJM), an ongoing project of the Ethical Metalsmiths. RJM inspired her to start thinking creatively about recycling and repurposing. Through her work in the following years she began attacking the issue of plastic pollution and its effects on our oceans. In 2013 she decided to leave her job as a designer goldsmith in Richmond, Virginia to use her skills and passion full time to raise awareness about ocean plastic pollution. She moved back to Kailua Kona, Hawaii, started Nurdle in the Rough Jewelry and continues to be inspired by her tidepool friends.