Hand-crafted glass jewelry by Kate McCallum
Karen at Home
Karen McCallum (Kate) got into hand-crafted beaded jewelry the long way 'round. She grew up in an Air Force family and acquired an urge to travel that she translated into a 40-year career as an international bridge player and five-time world champion.

Kate and her husband Alex have been happily married for 31 years and have a large extended family which includes four children, six grandchildren and various "adoptees" from around the world. Sunday dinners at 61 Main St. are usually an international affair, with visitors from varied and diverse backgrounds vying for a voice in their always busy household.

In her spare time, Kate is a gourmet cook and a voracious reader, usually consuming three or four books at the same time.

While exhibiting artistic talent from an early age (needlework, playing the piano and drawing passable portraits), Kate applied her talents and imagination mostly to the world of professional bridge until recently. She was busy making contracts, not jewelry. Twice, Kate played on a world champion U.S. Women's Team, and twice was victorious in the Women's World Pairs Championship.

Little did she realize at the time that her card-playing excursions to exotic places like Baden Baden, Beijing, Geneva, Hong Kong, Istanbul, London, Montreal, Paris, Monte Carlo, New Orleans, Santiago, Perth, Sydney and many more colorful destinations, would give her the inspiration for Eclectica and her distinctive jewelry designs.

But that's exactly what happened! Today, instead of packing her bags for the next bridge tournament, Kate stays put at home in Exeter, N.H., turning out a magical array of necklaces, and other jewelry items. Mystery lovers as well as bridge-playing Brits, Aussies, Yanks, Turks, Icelanders, etc. still call by on their travels - but so now do a wonderful assortment of jewelry aficionados.

While the bridge trophies are packed away in cabinet displays for posterity, the jewelry spills out across the house, and especially into Kate's workshop alongside the kitchen. Most days you'll find her there, usually listening to a book-on-tape, while busily crafting her wares and assigning them to special categories that hint of her past global travels, as, for example: The Allure of Australia, Mystical India, Romantic Romania and Ancient Istanbul.

Changing from bridge-playing champion to jewelry designer is not a career switch that many people can consider, and Kate McCallum might even be unique in this regard. To her, though, the connection is as clear as daylight: Playing bridge introduced her to a multitude of wonderful cultures. So making jewelry gives her the ability to express how really beautiful the world can be.

  Karen Thomas McCallum
61 Main St., Exeter, NH 03833

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