Theresa, a native New Yorker, born in Manhattan and raised in Bayside, Queens, joined Artists of Picacho Hills in September 2019. Her father was a New York Police Detective, and her mother a nurse. She was the oldest in a family of six children and attended St. Kevin’s Elementary School and Bishop Reilly High School in Flushing, NY. Theresa earned a BS in Recreation and Leisure Education from Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, CT, where she also met her husband, Jack. She went on to enjoy a 30-year career as a Therapeutic Recreation Specialist and Activity Director working in Nursing and Rehabilitation Facilities. She and Jack have a son, Jordan.
As a child, Theresa's family spent summers in West Suffield, CT, where she was first introduced to painting by the next-door neighbor, Mrs. O’Malley, a painter and instructor of traditional tole painting. Theresa and her siblings would peek through the windows of Mrs. O'Malley's porch and watch her turn anything from tuna and tomato paste cans, bowls and trays, and furniture into works of art. Inspired by her summer neighbor Theresa attended a tole and decorative painting class with a friend in 1990. She was hooked and has been painting ever since.
Retiring to Mesilla, NM from Littleton, MA, in 2007, Theresa expanded her hobby into a small business. Old slate roof shingles, tin, and wood are her surfaces of choice, and she has completed decorative painting in local homes, and she added gourd work to her skill set. Theresa is currently a vendor at the Las Cruces Farmers and Crafters Market, a member of the Yucca Pod Painters, and participates in several local craft shows through the year.
"Though I am learning more all the time about techniques to decorate larger gourds, I work primarily creating ornaments using our New Mexico buffalo gourds," said Theresa. "My ornaments feature a number of southwest designs adapted from Native American pottery and also my own designs using symbols I associate with NM or have been done for special orders. I like to tell people my ornaments are the result of a northeast tole painter meeting a southwest surface."