Who knew when she was born here in Delaware County that she was destined to travel to far away India and back again to find her inner voice both in life and in her art. In addition to her other degrees, Nancy holds a PhD with Distinction from the University of Pennsylvania. For 13 years, she taught Indian Classical Music at Penn, writing about and translating 18th Century Hindi poetry.
Here is how it all came about, in her own words.
“My interest in India and her music began when I was a 16 year old AFS high school exchange student to India. What an eye-opening experience that was! My studies at the University of Penn followed in the interdisciplinary department of South Asian Studies, through the School of Arts and Sciences, with concentrations in music and in Hindi, Sanskrit and other languages and literatures. The Bachelor of Music from when I studied at the Banaras Hindu University in the holy pilgrimage city of Banaras India, was in Indian music performance and theory. I had gone to India for my junior and senior years abroad and was able to do 2 undergrad degrees concurrently. I lived in India for 4-5 years total, with further graduate studies there, and finally as a research scholar on a grant for my Ph.D. The best parts of being there were the lifelong relationships formed, and incredible experiences of beauty and nature. The worst parts were repeated bouts of malaria, and living through riots – you could hear gunshots not too far away, but “we were ok” since we couldn’t hear glass shattering. It took going and living on the far side of the earth to realize I could find the same deeper meanings at home, and in my own backyard, if only I looked and listened. I taught Indian music theory and performance at Penn for 13 years. My Ph.D. dissertation evolved into a theory of the balance of aesthetics in literature and performance, and won me the award of Distinction for Ideas.”
For Nancy, ”the internal delving experience is practically the same whether in the discipline of music, theoretical/abstract thinking, art, or craft. ”
Nancy started beading in college. She found a renewed love of creative work in contrast to administrative/teaching, more than 10 years ago, and found a suitable outlet in making jewelry.
Nancy loves working with semi-precious stones, freshwater pearls, and polymer clay. She describes her bead work as colorful and playful.
Nancy has been a member of the HGC since 2012 and is a PA Guild of Craftsmen Master Artisan.
Her work has twice been accepted into the prestigious “Art of the State” exhibit.
First, in 2018 Nancy’s “Love-in-a-Mist” necklace was part of the distinctive exhibit which takes place in the State Museum in Harrisburg. The necklace was inspired by seed pods that HGC’s Sue Stefanski had graciously gifted her.
She is part of the current “Art of the State” exhibit, which is all virtual because of the pandemic.
Nancy’s piece, entitled “We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams…” is in area 6 of the virtual gallery. It features a mabe pearl gifted to her by HGC friend Suzanne Stone.
In addition, Nancy is getting through this pandemic by brushing up on her sewing skills, and making masks for her Etsy shop. https://www.etsy.com/shop/facemasksbynancy
Nancy summarizes her philosophy this way: “When one of my pieces “sings” to me in synesthesia, I’ve found what I wanted to achieve. These past few years I was honored to jury PA Guild shows and also Master Artisans with Paula Lewis’s team at the PA Guild of Craftsmen. No matter the mediums, I could clearly feel when an artists’ work “sang.” You know when craft is extraordinary, and comes from deep within the heart. You just have to be quiet and listen – and it will resonate.”