I have lived two distinctly different lives in my short time on this planet. In the first life, BC (or BeforeChair) as I call it, I was blessed with a good family and the good fortune to attend private school and college during which my appetite for dance and sculpture was kindled. A few years after college, I met and married my husband, we bought a house together and had our first son.
While taming the chaos of our new home’s neglected yard, I found my calling in landscape architecture. It was creative, intellectual, and engaged all my senses. With fresh purpose, I embarked on a new adventure when I enrolled in a landscape architecture program. It may have taken me eight years to graduate, but I felt fully alive.
It was just two short years after I began working at my dream job at a landscape design firm when I experienced the first of a series of crises. I call everything after that AC (AfterChair).
I had been suffering for days in September 2004 with
excruciating lower back pain that I thought I had from heavy lifting I had been doing on several landscape job sites. My husband was out of town on business so in the wee hours of the 13th, when one of my legs started giving out and I could no longer void my bladder, I called a neighbor to drive me to the hospital and one of my sisters to watch my sleeping children. It soon became clear that the horrific pain that sent me to the ER was not temporary. I was paralyzed from the waist down.
Four years later, almost on the anniversary of my injury, an unexpected aftershock shook my world even harder: My husband left our marriage. I felt even more broken, inadequate, and alone. I didn’t realize how close I was to falling off the proverbial edge until I completed Precipice (left).
It took more than a decade for me to release the rage and self-pity that my paralysis wreaked like an asteroid strike on my entire life, my new career, my sons, and my marriage.
Over time, with love and support from friends and family, I felt emboldened to be more assertive, persistent, and daring in the opportunities I pursued: I was the first American to trial the Rewalk Exoskeleton, I performed the Argentinian salsa with American Dance Wheels and continue to assist ADW with teaching ballroom dance to high school students with disabilities. I had the privilege of serving on the Inglis (House) Board of Trustees and I continue to lead the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the United Spinal Association since its founding in 2014.
But I experienced my greatest emotional and spiritual recovery when I returned to sculpture for the first time since high school – in my late 40’s. The compliant character of clay reminds me every day that for good or bad, change is inevitable. But, I know now that I can adapt and perpetually reshape my circumstances. That no matter how hard the world pushes against me, there is something in me that is stronger – something better, pushing right back.
My art has evolved to speak my truth and tell my story, and while most titles may hint at my emotional state during my journey, they are meant to be neither literal nor chronological. Aside from the occasional periods of angst (read the inspiration behind Unfurling in the Portfolio section) my forms, particularly the abstracts, are living, breathing expressions of my gratitude for having discovered my best true self in the process.
I believe that making, viewing, and interacting with art in all forms has the power to transform lives. Tell me about your joy and pain, challenges and triumphs.
Let’s work together and let me create a sculpture that brings your story to life.