In 1958, I was born in San Francisco, California. My great-grandfather migrated to that colorful city from Milan, Italy. I am proud that he was a mason who helped construct the Palace of Fine Arts. At the young age of four, I was uprooted to Corona del Mar, California, where I was raised through my graduation from Corona del Mar High School.
My earliest joy for creating with my hands was at the age of five. I was enrolled in a ceramics workshop taught by Jack Taylor. Our first project was to make tiles for the awning of the art school. With great excitement, I made a lion that stretched across six tiles. After my creation was installed on the outside of the building, I would daily get on my bicycle and ride by my first art display, gazing at it with much pride and a delight for my accomplishment.
My greatest artistic influence occurred during the ages of twelve through fifteen. Even though I am not Catholic, my parents sent me to a convent in Alhambra, California to live out the difficult days of my teenage defiance. There I spent all my free time playing in the ceramic studio that was managed by the very creative Sister Roberta. My first kiln and wheel were acquired at the age of thirteen and so began my lifelong love affair with clay.
I am self-taught with a natural motivation to research, experiment, and invent on my own. I have explored various media including mold making, bronze casting, printmaking, silversmithing, watercolor, acrylics, fiber arts and paper sculpture. I learned many of these skills through workshops and classes at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, California.
My first attempt at a career as an artist began when I was twenty. I made and sold woven scarves, pine needle teacups, ceramics and various other fabric creations at local craft fairs. Then at age twenty-five, I discovered watercolor collage and paper sculpture. I submitted my first attempts to the Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach and continued to exhibit there for 19 years! My biggest commission as a paper sculptor was creating fourteen very large wall pieces for the Metropolitan Theatres in Palm Springs. One of the paper sculptures measured eight feet by twelve feet. When I arrived to install, I unexpectedly had to saw it in half to fit through the door!
In 1990, I began exploring the media of mosaic assemblages using found and my own created objects. This medium best allows me to express my passion for storytelling using color, texture and form. My creations were met with great acclaim; museum and gallery shows across the United States, publications in quality art books and many magazines including Ceramics Monthly, inclusion in wonderful collections like the Getty Foundation and two appearances on the Christopher Lowell Show demonstrating my skill.
I also received numerous commissions. Some were on a very large scale including a twelve foot dome, fireplaces, custom tables for serving tea to four and several outdoor alcoves. Other commissions have been on a smaller personal level; reassembling a beloved earthquake-broken urn into a new sculptural art form, creating treasured vessels with the keepsakes of a passed loved one and making cookie jars that reflected individuals’ unique childhoods. I also custom-made a tiny teapot for the cover of Nailpro Magazine to be held by a lovely manicured hand! Currently, I am working on a mosaic garden pathway commissioned by The Glenwood Library.
There is such joy to be found in creating new life from the broken, lost and discarded. I love knowing that many of the materials I use have their history worn into their surfaces and through them I can tell my own story and also spark a memory for others. In the creative process, I feel it is very important to keep my inner child alive and at play. I raised four children while also continuing my career as an artist and attribute much of my inspiration to their innocent sparkling spirits. To their credit, many of my assemblages contain secret hidden surprises through peepholes, under lids and behind tiny doors.
I have lived in Glenwood, New Mexico for over four wonderful years. My husband, Brian Neidermayer and I have turned a second house on our property into a fulltime studio. He works as a silversmith while I create my assemblages. I feel my recent creations are charged with that great energy I experience from the enjoyment of my new life in the wilderness of New Mexico.