I am a dancer, director, choreographer, set and costume designer, artist and retired high school teacher, originally from the San Francisco, now living in West Roxbury, Massachusetts.
Before retiring from my thirty-year teaching career, I created a program at Brookline High School called the Arts Infusion Lab. This program served three groups of students that were not able to access an arts curriculum due to an alternative daily schedule.
The programs included Community-Based Classroom which served students on the autism spectrum; ACE, a program for students who needed a focused and condensed learning curriculum; and Winthrop House, a program for students with social emotional challenges.
In designing art-focused lessons for the students in these programs I also created the roots of what would become Ariel Designs in my retirement.
I began to crochet while working at Winthrop House where I was the art teacher. I developed many projects allowing for a range of talents and interests. One of my students loved to crochet. It calmed her to come in the mornings and sit crocheting something while others painted, drew, sculpted, or played the guitar. I soon realized that I too wanted to learn how to crochet. This student patiently taught me the basics. I began making Granny Squares which eventually turned into small afghans. Four afghans, many scarves, and lots of tangled yarn later, I started the purses.
My interest in mandalas began while teaching in the ACE program. I brought in a book of You Color mandalas in an attempt to interest the students in something that would be easy and soothing. But they wanted to be challenged more, so I researched and developed a way of making individual mandalas based upon a student’s name or their interests.
I love creating a mandala, in part due to the calming impact it has on me. Many cultures and religions incorporate mandala making in their prayer practices, including Tibetan Buddhism, in the medicine wheels of the Lakota Tribe of North America, the rosette windows in Christian churches, and the Celtic crosses of the ancient Druids.
The process of drawing the original design, creating the mirror image, multiplying the image to create the circular form, and the many hours of coloring and painting is often
influenced by impressions from one or more of these cultures. These impressions parallel my experience in yoga as I practice breath, focus, and patience.
My box-making venture began with an annual fundraising event for the Boston Dance Alliance. As a member the Board of Directors, I was asked to make three boxes for raffle tickets prizes. The first creations were made from old shoe boxes and dance photos in my collection. The following year, I used heavier wooden boxes to support an actual pointe shoe.
During the Christmas holiday the following year, my spouse mentioned that he didn’t own a nice jewelry box. I decided to make him a present using an old gift wine box and my vast collection of National Geographic magazines. (You can find his box displayed on the boxes page of this website.) This series of events became the genesis for my box collection.