I am happiest when I am creating. Each step in the process from conceptualization and planning, through creating a finished piece gives me joy. As an artist, I have enjoyed watercolor and oil painting, stone sculpture, drawing, printmaking, Pysanky egg dying, photography, videography, jewelry making, glass fusing and lampwork bead-making, painting ceramics, basket weaving, quilting and a variety of other textile arts.
I live with my husband, two sons, daughter-in-law and little dog Dano near Princeton, NJ.
I have been making jewelry for nearly two decades and recently began working with precious metal clay (PMC). Working in PMC, I love to make little wearable pieces of sculpture. Many of my pieces are organic in feel, inspired by nature and plant materials such as acorns, pine cones and bamboo. PMC is the perfect medium for my artistic expression.
Precious metal clay (PMC) is an excellent medium for creating beads, bangles, claps and pendents. PMC is pure silver particles in an organic binder and water, which you work with just like clay. When the piece is dry, it is fired in a kiln at 1650 degrees. During the firing, the binder burns off and the silver particles fuse together, leaving a pure silver piece, also known as .999 fine silver.
Each piece is individually crafted (not casted) with some individual beads or pendents taking days to create and requiring two firings in the kiln. No two are exactly alike. The final weight of each piece varies depending on the amount of PMC used. The beads and pendents I make look lovely on a simple sterling silver chain, but it is so much fun for me to create necklaces using gemstone and pearl beads as well. Choosing and assembling components for each necklace is part of the artistic process.
Creating with silver is like making tiny sculptures for adornment.
Pysanky Ostrich Egg Dying
I have been dying eggs since I was a young girl, experimenting along with my sister Joy in preparation for Easter. I create colorful, highly decorated ostrich and goose eggs with the Ukrainian-style wax-resist method, also known as Pysanky. My designs are inspired by cultures from around the world as well as various periods, such as Art Deco. I often mix elements of several cultures and time periods on one egg, creating a peaceful coexistence, like the world I envision.
The designs on all of my eggs are drawn completely free-hand using hot bee's wax. Every color you see on each egg has been dipped into dye or the dye has been dabbed on. I begin with a clean, blown-out egg, and simply begin drawing with wax, using no preparatory drawings.
I discovered my passion for sculpture when I began studying with Pietro Smith in 2001. I was drawn to the three-dimensionality of the medium and the feel of the material from rough, unfinished rock to polished stone.
My sculptures are created using pneumatic hammers and chisels, a power circular saw and various power grinders and hand tools to cut away the unwanted parts of the stones. The rough stones used for the sculptures come from throughout the US and the world, and each stone has its own shape, personality and characteristic which dictate to me what to carve. No drawings or preliminary clay sculptures are made; all work is done directly on the stone. Many of my pieces are representative or symbolic of the human form, including torsos of men and women. I also experiment with abstract forms, but each has an organic, almost life-like feel.
My first stone sculpture show was Pics and Stones with photographer Jeff Goodwyn, held in September and October of 2007 at 63 Palmer Square West in Princeton, NJ. In September and October of 2010, I participated in a show of stone sculpture and fine art Pysanky eggs on Palmer Square in Princeton. This show was with my father, watercolorist John Sacalis, member of the National Watercolor Society, my sister acrylic painter Joy Sacalis, and my son photographer Ben Turndorf. Both shows were to benefit HomeFront, an organization to help the homeless.