There has always been something inside me that drives me to constantly be making things. Growing up, I was always creating something or other. Thank goodness for my mom, who never said “no” to supplying my habits and always inspired my creativity. She was my number one supporter!
Fast forward a few years. I went to Nazareth College in Rochester, NY and earned a BS in Studio Art. I thought I wanted to become a weaver, but it turned out that I also fell in love with clay. As a graduation gift, my parents gave me the experience of a lifetime; they sent me down to the Great Smokey Mountains in Tennessee to take my first class at, what would become one of my favorite places on Earth, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. The class was in ceramics, but what was even cooler to me was it was the first class to fire a thing called an Anagama kiln. Arrowmont had just brought in a Japanese artist to build the kiln and at the time it was one of only three in the country. It is a kiln built into the side of a hill and uses only wood as its fuel. Talk about falling in love with heat and fire! This was my first introduction to the world of workshops and opened my life up to the most incredible learning experiences and friendships that have lasted over 33 years.
My life has always been a series of dichotomies. Not only did I have the drive to create, but I also loved the outdoors, which included canoeing, camping, skiing, etc. As I had my three wonderful children, I also worked what some call a “real” job in a ski shop, putting my artwork on the back burner. After having my youngest son, I decided to get back to my artistic roots and went back to school to earn a second undergraduate and a masters degree in Art Education at the State University College at Buffalo. Most importantly, I went back down to Arrowmont and took my first class in glass. I was hooked! I took my first job teaching art in a public school, but continued to sneak out to as many glass classes and workshops as I could, collecting tools, glass and supplies along the way.
Long story short, life got crazy and my daughter was diagnosed with a very rare form cancer at the age of 16. My entire life was put on hold while I tended to her and saw her through the life-saving process of a bone marrow transplant. I found myself back working at the ski shop and devoted my new life to that, but the glass thing kept creeping in. I snuck back into classes and eventually started assisting various artists with their classes and even taught a few myself.
When my youngest son became interested in blowing glass, I transformed my glass studio to accommodate both glass fusing and glass blowing. With a lot of encouragement from my family and friends, I finally took the leap, quit my full time “real” job at the ski shop after 25+ years, and here I am: a full time glass artist, making and selling art, as well as teaching classes and workshops. My dream come true! I think my mom would be proud, as it was always her dream for me too!