"You have to strive to do better, have the drive to succeed, and love what you do." - my father.
Britta L. McKee
I was born in Wheat Ridge, CO and moved to Kansas when I was 8 months old. I grew up in a small town; Osage City, KS. Art has always been a huge passion of mine! Starting as a 2nd grader when I won an award from the Osage City Fire department for my drawing on a take of "Stop, Drop, and Roll" theme! Throughout High School art has been my #1 love. I won many categories at our League Art Competitions. When I graduated high school in 2005, I knew I wanted to pursue art!
I started at the University of Kansas in Fall of 2005. Throughout the year I was very involved in the Metals Program; helping with showcases of students work & selling pieces. Senior year at KU I became the first KU Metals student to sell a piece in Eutin, Germany; the sister city of Lawrence, KS. It was an honor to display my work along side my colleagues and be given this amazing opportunity to share overs seas my talents and jewelry with others.
I graduated in May of 2009 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Metalsmithing & Jewelry!
"Tobias Designs" is my business name and was in full swing shortly after college.
Tobias Designs is my maiden named and I wanted to keep it because it is my fathers. My dad always told me "Things will happen eventually, just give it time." He has been very supportive of my work and he gives me great criticism! I look up to him in so many ways. My hard work and dedication, I've learned through him.
In November 2010 I was published in a book called "Anodize!: Brilliant Colors & Bold Designs for Aluminum Jewelry" by Clare Stiles. A ring I created in college was accepted, it can be found on Pg #8!!
I have been involved with the arts for many years in many cities. I attend art shows around our area (Kansas) and in Missouri. My work can be seen in 4 states & 12 shops! My designs come from many different things; recycled material, cause & effect science ideas, natural materials, & some even from my son!
June 2012 I became a Core Artist of NOTO (North Topeka Arts District)! It has been an amazing experience. I have met so many talented artists who I enjoy bouncing ideas with and learning from.
In April 2012 I was asked to join an art show called RAW: Natural Born Artists. This is a show based out of LA. It is an independent arts organization, for artists, by artists! RAW currently operates in nearly 60 cities across the United States, Australia, Canada, and now London!
October 2012 I was a Semi-Finalist for Accessory Designer of the year! I didn't take home the win but I was so happy to have the opportunity to talk with some outstanding artists. It exposed my jewelry and passion to many peers in KC. My jewelry was in a photo shoot by a local KC photographer, hair and make up stylize, and fashion stylist! RAW has really helped Tobias Designs be known!
In 2013 I was a Semi-Finalist for Accessory Designer of the year again! 3 local judges in the KC area vote on the fallowing categories "Creativity, Originality, Professionalism and Presentation, Star Quality/Wow Factor, & Skill/Quality"! Winners were announced November 21st at that evenings showcase. I was very proud and honored to take home the award for RAW: Kansas City Accessory Designer of the Year for 2013! I also took home RAW: Kansas City "Peoples Choice" Award Accessory Designer of the Year for 2013! This has opened many more doors for me. I will be working with one of our judges in 2014 with Allied Magazine in KC & I will be working with a local Boutique for hosting my jewelry!
I was asked in October 2013 to design some pieces using the iconic green copper form the Topeka, KS State Capitals Dome. I’m so happy and honored to be asked to use my work and talent with something dear to many! My items are available only at the Capitol Gift Shop in the Statehouse & Kansas Histoy Museum gift shop. With this project I have received so much media expose through Topeka, my home town newspaper, and The University of Kansas Alumni Magazine. I’m very excited about this wonderful project and I will cherish this forever!
Currently my work is branching out from my love of textures and etching. I was raised in KS and I love its natural surroundings. I've been collaborating with other artists and really digging deep into the natural textures that surround my studio life in the country.
Besides everything that is Tobias Designs, I do work a partial full time job as a Assistive Technology Specialist helping children from birth to age 3 who have a disability. Giving my time to adapt equipment for them to use easier, teaching them how to do sign language by creating visual cards, or even keeping up with the latest technology such as an iPad or Dinovox so they can have a way to communicate; is so rewarding and amazing! I love what I do and I will keep doing it as long as I can.
I am apart of an art group that has one class a week for our survivors of domestic violence. The YWCA Center of Saftey and Empowerment is the host of this wonderful opportunity for these survivors. I'm humble to be able to provide unique art lessons in this group to help them in life.
I also attend at one week long camp in the summer called, Camp M.I.T.I.O.G. This is for kids who have Spina Bifida. They are an amazing group of kids and I love donating my time to help them enjoy one week that is stress free and full of adventures!
I have 2 wonderful kids, 24 chickens, 2 turkeys, 3 dogs, 2 hermit crabs, 1 box turtle.... oh and an outstanding husband who has supporting my love of art and has been there for everything.
That is me, Britta McKee!! I love my crazy, adventures, and unique life! I wouldn't change it for anything!