Growing up in Manhattan with my American-born mother and my Venetian father, and speaking both English and Italian, I spent many childhood summers in Venice playing at the beach with friends, visiting museums and churches, and spending time with relatives. I now realize how much those experiences influenced my sense of style and my palette.
I chose to major in art history at Harvard, but thinking I had no artistic talent because I could not draw or paint well, I veered left and enrolled in the New York University School of Law. For the next 20 years, I worked at law firms in New York and Washington, representing museums, private foundations, and other nonprofits. That intensified my natural inclination to structure and organize, a key characteristic of my art.
Eventually, I left the practice of law and spent my time designing multi-strand necklaces, weaving together amber, abalone, freshwater pearls, semiprecious stones and (in a nod to my Venetian heritage) Murano glass beads — unconsciously mirroring the opulent, joyful Venetian style. For ten years, I sold these through boutiques and occasional trunk shows. When large necklaces were no longer in style, and I felt unsatisfied creating simpler ones, I began using segments of necklaces still in inventory to create surrealistic assemblages.
I design those in my studio overlooking our oyster farm on Chincoteague Island, a remote part of Virginia’s Eastern Shore teeming with wildlife and natural beauty. There, I am increasingly aware of human encroachment on natural habitat and the effects of climate change, themes which often find their way into my works.