I collect coins, type, compasses, maps, rocks, fossils, old beads, words and random knowledge. I am drawn to surfaces altered by time. Rusted metal, geological formations, treasures left behind by changing tides, and old structures, demand my attention. I am a graphic designer and an avid photographer, but started out in computer science and was at times editor of my schools’ newspapers. I could easily have chosen to be an archaeologist, a stone mason, a journalist, a cartographer, a geologist, a sailor, an astronaut, a historian, or a preservationist. These things inform my work.
My reading habits are eclectic, and I travel as much as I can for the joy of experiencing something uniquely its own. Language and etymology enthrall me. Great letterforms make me happy; bad ones distract me. I study lines and follow paths. I love the jolt of finding beauty in unexpected places. I aim to put some of that element of surprise into my work. I gravitate towards using concrete, raw stones, rusted metal, and old materials that have been discarded and beat up around the edges, and combine them with precious metals and perfect lines. I design jewelry for the challenge of putting a sense of wonder into a small object; one that will be used, handled, and loved; one that though mostly new, feels like it’s been around for a long while. It has been said that my mosaics sometimes resemble large-scale jewelry, and there are often mosaic elements in my jewelry work. The lines between them are blurry and defined mostly by scale and wearability.
I prefer old tools that bear the marks not only of their makers, but of
those who used them before me; I love the sense of continuity they hold. When I
put hand to metal or stone, I aim to bring the viewer or wearer into a
narrative, to provide questions to consider. I am intrigued by frozen moments in
time; I like to imagine what came before and what follows. Being the first to
see the inside of a stone is thrilling. There are almost always details in my
work no one will ever see or notice, but I know they are there. Sometimes in
plain view, but most often hidden in the work, are coordinates — to mark a
place, to honor a moment in time, to acknowledge where the raw materials came
from. I like to think they ground the work; give it a sense of place. Place and
time, their changing and their passing, and trying to capture their impermanence
is my main artistic directive.
A graphic designer by profession, and a native of Caracas, Venezuela, Anabella is a nationally exhibited mosaic artist and passionate metalsmith. She is co-founder, and has been Creative Director of Black Box, a studio specializing in Web-based applications for Fortune 500 companies, since 1994. After discovering mosaics as fine art during a trip to the Vatican in 2004, she started taking mosaic classes in the United States, but quickly made the decision to train in Italy where the tradition of mosaics is centuries old and pursued as a career path and profession. Wanting to make a mosaic that incorporated a Venetian mask, and not finding an appropriately sized one, she found herself exploring the then young world of Precious Metal Clay to make it herself. That mosaic paved the path to a discovery of metals and jewelry making that has taken her to workshops across the country, studying under some of the most respected names in the industry. Armed with those skills and utilizing her training as a graphic designer, Anabella has developed into a metals and mosaic artist producing pieces that often merge the two mediums. In love with unusual materials and processes, her work is rooted in a sense of place and time, with a distinctive graphic feel that often incorporates type and her love of maps and fossils. She is now turning her business experience, and the marketing knowledge of her 30-year career as a graphic designer combined with her love for metals and small pieces into the building blocks of a second career as a facilitator of learning experiences. Through this new venture, Anabella is leveraging the relationships forged in her path as a fine artist to bring world-class instructors to teach in a setting conducive to the exploration of materials and techniques and creating a nurturing environment in which artists can create.
Anabella has studied Ravenna mosaic technique with Luciana Notturni, in Ravenna, Italy; stone micro-mosaic and opus vermiculatum with Arianna Gallo and Luca Barberini in Ravenna; filati micro-mosaics with Maestro Carlo Meloni (Rome), at Orsoni Smalti Veneziani, Venice; abstract and modern mosaics with Verdiano Marzi (Corsica/France), Dugald MacInnes (Scotland), Matteo Randi (Ravenna) and Dino Maccini (Piacenza); Valeria Manzo, Dagmar Friedrich and Laura Carraro at the Scuola Mosaicisti dei Friuli, Spillimbergo; and honed her skills using native materials with Rachel Sager; color in mosaics with Carol Shelkin, and got her beginnings under the guidance of Gina Hubler in Pennsylvania. She has studied metals with Celie Fago, Richard Salley, Robert Dancik, Tim McCreight, Tom McCarthy, Jessica Jordan, and Matthieu Cheminee, among others. Her native languages are Spanish and Portuguese, and she also speaks English and Italian. She lives in Macungie, Pennsylvania.