In 1977 I graduated with an Honor’s Arts degree in Philosophy from Queens University in Canada. I then formed a decorating company by hiring 6 union painters for four large apartment buildings. Over the course of 3 years I ‘learnt the trade’. In 1983 I ran my business on a part-time basis while completing in three years, a 4 year Honor’s Science in Forest Management from University of Toronto. In 1986 I started exploring the decorative arts through classical training with three master craftsmen from England, Ritins Studio in Canada and two studios in the U.S.
I began securing significant commissions, and in 1990 was selected by the largest coatings manufacturer in Europe, Akzo Nobel, to be trained in Italy to introduce their Venetian plasters to the Canadian market. I attended the International Academy of Design in Toronto for one year to learn the basics of design. I also obtained certification in color design and color psychology at the Eiseman Institute. In this same period I completed a two year diploma in Psychology on a part-time basis over a 3 year period.
In 1994 I established The Kingsmill Guild of Artisans by pooling my experience and education with other artisans (glass, iron, murals etc.) to create meaningful environments for my clients. At this time I began specializing in decorative plaster finishes . In 1998 I received the largest commission of my life – a massive $400,000 decorative plaster project in Boston. At the same time, my interior finishes projects were featured on Canadian national television.
In 1998 I moved to Southern California and discovered the exquisite estate homes of Rancho Santa Fe and La Jolla. I saw their “interior architecture as art” and that the A&D industry did not have a practical solution beyond paint, for finishing extensive walls and ceilings of these luxury homes. I wanted to honor and enhance the interior architecture of entire homes with refined beauty and solid-built strength.
I saw colored decorative plaster veneers as the perfect solution to achieve the sophisticated character I was after. In 2001 I developed my first fully functional whole-house plaster and completed two large scale projects – a 13,000 ft2 and 26,000 ft2 interior. Since then, over 70 whole-house commissions have been completed alongside many other projects.
Parallel to developing Walls of Uncommon Beauty, I ventured into the complementary worlds of music, poetry and performance. There is unquestionably a poetry and music to the decorative arts. I have been acknowledged as a gifted poet, and respected as a musician with a CD album and multiple performances including opening the Annual International Mankind Project, keynote performance for Annual Conference on Youth Violence, and a performance troupe called Stand-Up Tragedy. I developed a non-profit organization called Talking Flutes to address human trauma across 9 different populations, from dying children at the San Diego Children’s Hospital to the Los Angeles Department Of Mental Health, and from grade one classes to corporate executive weekend retreats.