I am a 54-year-old mother of two lovely adult daughters. I’ve worked as a clinical psychologist for 30 years, much of it spent providing psychotherapy to residents of long-term care facilities. I was a single mother, and all three of us have had serious, chronic health issues that provided me with some extremely challenging circumstances. Despite this, I maintained a sense of wonder at beauty, art, and nature, along with the ability to play creatively. I don’t know how I would have survived without this.
I’ve always loved creating, whether it be music, theater, dance, or making things. I’ve attended the Southern California Renaissance Faire since I was 16. It was and remains the high point of my year. Approximately 10 years ago, I was also introduced to the Labyrinth Masquerade Ball and then the Edwardian Ball. These provided inspiration for more detailed, elaborate creative work. No matter how dark life became, I could at least temporarily brighten things up by dressing up in elaborate costumes at events where I met the most wonderful, loving, talented friends! My daughters added to the happiness by joining in whenever they could. My costume dreams usually outstripped my budget, so I taught myself how to make things for myself, my daughters, and friends; how to embellish existing pieces; selling pieces here and there. My love for fantasy and especially pirate costumes eventually led me to my best friend, love of my life, playmate and husband. We were married this year at a masquerade ball in the presence of our children and friends as Louis XIV styled Captain Hook and Tinkerbell (a most unlikely couple). This is where my story truly begins.
BelleMort (pretty death) is the name under which I work as an artist. Much of my “real” work as a psychologist involves confronting abandonment, death, and dying. Without intending it, this became the inspiration for much of my art. My materials are ethically sourced small animal skulls and feathers, embroidered lace, Swarovski crystals, Czech glass beads, metal findings, glitter, and vintage bits and pieces. They are meant to be accents or finishing touches for masquerade costumes, cosplay, vintage or gothic attire. Other items are fantasy or faery inspired. Most of my work is dark but beautiful, twisty, and macabre. Each is one-of-a-kind. All come from my dreams and are made by my hands.