Judy DeSimone was born in Havertown, Pennsylvania a suburb of Philadelphia. As a child, Judy was fascinated by her father’s carpentry tools, sawing, hammering, filing and sanding scrap wood. Weekend trips to the local hardware store were such enjoyment, as she dug through the bins of nails and screws. Her mother was a sharp dresser, accessorizing outfits with necklaces, bracelets, broaches, and pins. To dig through her jewelry boxes was great amusement. However, like most children of her generation the outdoors was where kids spent their time, roaming. These categories helped lay the foundation for the hardware, baubles and textures which would later be used in her ceramics.

Judy’s Catholic school educational curriculum lacked the subject of art, leaving her to her own devices to experiment with crayons, watercolors and clay, she would scrape from the banks of the local creek. Other artistic mediums were unknown. At 16, she enrolled in her first art class on Saturday mornings at Moore College of Art and Design’s Young Peoples Workshop. Moore would be her college of choice, where she studied art education. The college’s art history and English classes expanded her knowledge and imagination to inspire and ponder well beyond her previous dreams. In her junior year of college, a detour to a southern California art college introduced her to the world of craft as fine art. This artistic genre was quietly emerging on the East Coast during her college years.

With a bachelor of science in art education, Judy pursued a career and vocation as a middle school art educator at the public schools in Coatesville, Pennsylvania. As a young adult, this career path relocated her to West Chester, Pennsylvania. It was in this middle school classroom where she taught herself various ceramic hand building techniques, leading to a love of the medium. This enthusiasm was shared yearly with her middle school students.  For thirty years, Judy’s ceramic work comprised of tedious personal diary scenes, animals, flowers and leaves done in bas relief. The expression of realistic achievement was the predominant goal. 

With public school retirement came a shedding of the old and a blossoming of the new to the quick, spontaneous, “why not art” that she has pursued for several years. The “why not” view is reinforced in her retirement job, teaching art to first through eighth graders at her local Catholic school. The inhibitions of the younger students’ ideas and techniques reinforces Judy’s personal philosophy of, why not, which she applies to her ceramics. What luck to have three-hundred-part time muses at one’s disposal.

Judy’s artistic goal is to strive for a quirkiness in shape, texture and color that will bend to her whims of the present moment.


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West Chester, Pennsylvania

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