Local artist visits Atmore Public Library

Published 8:33am Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Artist and designer Kathleen Nowak Tucci is a bit of a local celebrity.

On Tuesday Nov. 12, she was a special speaker at the Atmore Public Library.

Her work has graced the front cover of Vogue Italia. She said she didn’t understand what such a thing meant at first.
“I didn’t know how big this was,” she said.

Tucci moved to Atmore in 2004, just before Hurricane Ivan and has lived here ever since that time.

At that time she was more of an artist and not as connected with fashion. It didn’t take long for her to get into fashion and realize how important Vogue Italia is in the industry.

“It’s the high fashion magazine to be in,” she said.

In fact, because the magazine is widely distributed in Europe but harder to come by here in the United States, it took her a while to get her own copy.

“It was well over a month before I got a real cover,” she said.

The awards and success have continued to pile up since she found herself on the cover of one of the world’s most well-known fashion magazines.

Her work has been featured at the Smithsonian, with the first showing being in 2010.

“The Smithsonian building is one of the most beautiful buildings you’ve ever been in in your life,” Tucci said.

Recently, she won the coveted NICHE award in the highly competitive category of “fashion.” NICHE is a quarterly magazine aimed at fine art galleries and art retailers. The NICHE awards, held in conjunction with the Buyers Market of American Craft, recognize the best in production and limited edition craft works.

Tucci began experimenting with recycled inner tubes from the tires of bikes and motorcycles many years ago and has managed to turn it into fashionable jewelry over the years.

When an audience member asked her how long it takes her to make something, she joked, “Thirty years,” because she has been a practicing artist for thirty years now.

She continues to experiment even now, recently finding use for brake cables and aluminum Nespresso coffee pods into her designs. Of the Nespresso editions, Tucci said it took some time before she got things right.

“I really experimented an entire year and finally got it,” she said.

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