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Meet Kathy Wagner

Kathy Wagner creates colorful, whimsical, and unique earrings under her company name, Backcountry Sunrise. She started the company during a time when she decided to take a period of new beginnings in her life to utilize her background in art and pursue a dream. She had a vision of turning her illustrations into wearable art, inspired by her love of nature and gardening. She also really wanted to create something that could serve a greater purpose and would allow her to be able to give back in some way.

Kathy uses her original illustrations to create unique pieces of wearable art. She creates the drawings and manipulates them on a computer, then cuts each little piece out of acrylic and assembles the sections. Her goal is to create bold, bright, fun, and lightweight jewelry.

Why did you choose to partner with Yellow Door to sell your artwork?

It’s an amazing place for local artists to get their work seen and available to a wider audience. I love the variety of goods available in the store and the quality of the work.

How long have you been creating your artwork?

Since 2021

What inspired you to start creating your artwork and how did you turn it into a business?

I needed a creative outlet. I love bold earrings and fun jewelry, but could never quite find just

what I was looking for or what I had in mind. I spent some time brainstorming and trying to think

about what was I good at, and what did I actually enjoy. After much consideration, research on

materials and technology, and notebooks of ideas, Backcountry Sunrise was born.

What do you love most about the creative process?

The actual process of making something, and seeing what started as just an idea or vision materialize into a physical item. That’s really gratifying for me.

What do you remember wanting to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be an artist or a vet.

What is your favorite piece of work that you have created and why?

My monarch butterfly wing earrings and monarch chrysalis earrings. I hope these can

help bring awareness to the monarch butterfly crisis.

What jobs have you done other than being an artist?

I worked in the legal field for 16 years, which I did not enjoy.

I now work full-time on the product development team for a company that does

professional development - I love my job and am very thankful!

Where do you gather most of your inspiration for your artwork?

Nature/the outdoors/my garden

Do you have any other interesting hobbies, or maybe a fun story about

an experience involving your artwork?

I love gardening and have worked to create a butterfly habitat in my

yard. I am learning more about native plant gardening and providing a habitat for pollinators. I

enjoy beadwork as well - making jewelry using seed beads, needle, and thread. I love sewing

beaded beads - the most complicated beaded bead I ever made took me over 4 hours to sew!

What do you like to listen to?

Michael Jackson, The Moody Blues, Pink Floyd, Electronic/Dance,

80s and 90s throwback, any nature-related podcast.

Memorable places you’ve traveled to? Why do you love the area?

I love the Upper Peninsula, especially the Keweenaw Peninsula - it really makes me feel like I’m “getting away." The air smells different up there, and I love the peacefulness.

Quotes you love or live by?

“This above all: to thine own self be true.” - Shakespeare

“It’s never too late - never too late to start over, never too late to be happy.” - Jane Fonda

Do you have any tips or inspiring words for others?

Be authentic, be persistent, be patient, be kind.

What is your favorite...?

Pet and/or animal:

My dog, Sammy - He’s a 12 year old American Eskimo and is so sweet, and so soft.


Fall (hoodie weather)


Pride & Prejudice


Hot pink

Ice Cream:

Moose Tracks

What superpower would you have and why?

The power to heal. I don’t like seeing people suffering from illness/injury.

In addition to her space at Yellow Door, you can also find Kathy HERE on the Backcountry Sunrise website, and on Facebook and Instagram!

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