Horror fall off balcony led to woman's true calling
AN ACCIDENT that claimed Katherine McCallum's will to live has ironically motivated her to reclaim her life.
At about 9pm on Saturday June 16, 2012, the personal injuries lawyer was sitting on an old balcony railing when she fell - miraculously landing on her feet.
But it was landing on her feet that shattered her T12 vertebrate, severing her spinal cord.
"After I fell and I had enough time to think 'gee that went well' and then I was paralysed,” Katherine said.
"The things that went through my head when I was on the ground was asking myself how I was going to ever live this life as a paraplegic.”
Paradoxically, her physical limitations inspired Katherine to start her Byron Bay crystal skull carving business - Sweetness Skulls and Light.
The idea to start to go into the niche business came to Katherine while she was recovering from surgery.
"My surgery was dramatic,” she said.
"I was in bed for basically two years recovering and that's when you kind of contemplate your own existence - at least what you want to do. I've always loved crystals so I was drawn towards them. I met Synergy - an ancient crystal skull that was brought to the Byron Bay region by its caretaker... then I had the epiphany.”
Realising it was no longer "her calling”, Katherine decided to not renew her law practising certificate last year.
"I was a lawyer for 12 years specialising in personal injures, so when I broke my back and became paralysed it was uncanny,” she said.
"There's still some merit in the legal system - it just kind of lost me with my own process.”
She said opening the business last July has given her a purpose in life again.
"Crystals make me happy and they make other people happy,” she said.
Drawn to crystal skulls for the symbolic reminder of birth, life, and death, Katherine said skulls are also a reminder for us to celebrate the human experience we each are living.
"I didn't plan this for myself... but it could always be worse, you could be dead,” she said.
Sweetness Skulls and Light is packed with all shapes, colours, types and sizes of crystal skulls, other crystal creations and mixed media art.