About Ornaments

When my daughters were young the weeks before Christmas were magical. We visited a chosen store, sometimes local, sometimes in our travels, carefully looking at displays to make our most important decisions…the purchase of our annual ornaments, one for each of us that would be filled with our stories as we decorated the trees to come.

The most beautiful ornaments were made by Silvestri and as fate would have it, I showed my portfolio to the woman responsible for them, Linda Simpson… we immediately knew we would work together. As a licensed artist for Silvestri I designed complete collections, working with many kinds of materials and surfaces alongside the visionary Linda and production and sourcing genius, Maureen Monahan (love you ladies XXX). Our never ending product development meetings in that Boston office left us delirious with Linda’s wondrous discoveries from her trips to overseas markets. Cartons of those treasures were shipped to my studio, textiles, beads, feathers, trim, metals, objects all found their way into the collections I designed.  I loved making prototypes even knowing that their nuances could never ever be mass produced but still, the painter demanded the colors, textures, finishes and authenticity of the designs.

These are the images that moved my spirit and imagination once upon a time in my art history classes, the Rinascita, Italian Renaissance, a rebirth of minds, arts and culture emerged from the silent piety of the dark ages, wealthy patrons of the Italian city-states sponsored artists and the philosophy of Humanism, religious subject matter persisted but now with a breath of life, 15th century paintings captured the realism of beauty, form and gesture, a flush to the cheeks, a gaze, a tilt to the head, cherubim and watchful angels hovered above, surrounding innocence with ethereal beauty.

Yes, I am the painter. And here are the prototypes, our ornaments are little works of art that can not be reproduced, the images, reclaimed wood, textures, colors, finishes, collected and created embellishments, all are one of kind, and with one purpose… to bring joy to the eye and spirit of their beholder, you


Chasing Serenity


It’s hard to turn off the chaos that’s all around us and necessary if we want to be creative. Rituals help me to transition from my getting it all done mode to the opposite that is concerned with only the singular, the one task, the full focus, creating. Incense is burned in one of Alex’s clay works, honey scented beeswax votives from a Greek monastery light my collection of antique hanging church kandili, lit in the day for scent and in the night as companions. The day’s intrusions are a fire works display, look here look there, one burst fades and then the next and the next. The idea of serenity is a chase, where are you? The single flame is a meditation, a slow walk, an exhale, the path to calmness, high creativity and serenity, the place where art lives.

So how do you find your serenity, how do you turn off the chaos, where is that little crack where you can slip in and just have a moment?


Riding the Circle

The rituals in the preparation for show day, something beyond practice and refinement. Cleaning the tack, the scent of polished leather, the buffing cloths with blackened waxy tufts, the gleaming hardware released from a cloak of dust, the rhythm of waxing and buffing, the giving and taking, the yin and yang. My clothing and gear signal my transitional state of mind, an out of body experience, there is no longer the self and the horse, we are a singular unit, I find his breathing rhythm and it becomes my own. The world blurs to faded background colors, my sharpened focus is my horse’s head and the markers that are my cues. I know where the judge sits, I know that I am judged but it matters less when I am in the ring and begin to ride the circle. My ancestors believed in circular time, the repetitions of seasons and tides, suns and moons, births and deaths. There is comfort and familiarity in the circle, it begins and ends, you can not be lost because you will be found, by yourself, by your spirit, by rebirth. I ride the circle of my life, I ride the circle upon my horse.