Raised in Atlanta in a large Greek family, I was immersed as a child in art made by masters from every discipline. I spent endless hours wading through streams to collect glittering rocks. While a student at Emory University two creative mentors in the performing arts, Kelly and Leslie Morris, honed my visual perception. From them I learned cadence, proportion and visual intent on the stage of movement and dance. Creating fluid lines with colored gems and precious metals in jewelry flowed easily from that foundation. Trained as a choreographer and a dancer, I learned to use the human body as the vehicle for my art.
In 1980 after five years forging jewelry in SE Alaska, Blanche Reeves of the Signature Shop asked me to become her first Artist in Residence in Atlanta. I was given the opportunity to work with the most exacting clients fulfilling commissions. The bonus was that I became a member of a Salon where master craftsmen shared their work and philosophy. That experience further developed my eye for proportion and beauty in utilitarian objects made by hand. I began to strive for the highest standards of craftsmanship and design in every piece.
In 1995 Illumina was voted “Best of Atlanta” by Atlanta Magazine as the best place to buy jewelry. In 1997 the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) selected a piece of my jewelry for a prestigious Spectrum Award.
Art patron Dorothy McClatchey commissioned a brooch for the Fernbank Natural History Museum which was featured on the cover of Lapidary Journal. In 1998, I was chosen by AGTA to judge the “Cutting Edge” Competition where the highest skilled artisans present their most valuable and unique hand-cut gems and minerals.
In 2000 after 13 successful years, I closed Illumina’s doors. Now I divide my year between my private jewelry studios in Ithaca, New York and Atlanta, GA and continue to work with the finest diamonds and colored stones that the earth reveals.
My son, Orion Hanson, and daughters, Alexandra and Zoe Van Nostrand now live independently, and I recently married David Hudson of Atlanta. With these endings and beginnings, artistic and personal freedoms unknown for 33 years are beginning to unfold. Endless possibilities, both artistically and personally await.