West Chester, PA 19380
Judy DeSimone was born in a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and currently resides in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Her Catholic school educational curriculum lacked the subject of art, leaving her to her own artistic devices to experiment with crayons, watercolors and clay, she would scrape from the banks of the local creek. At 16, Judy enrolled in her first art class on Saturday mornings at Moore College of Art and Design’s, Young Peoples Workshop, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Moore would be her college of choice, where she studied art education. In her junior year of college, a detour to California State University at Fullerton 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 from Moore College of Art and Design, Judy pursued a career and vocation as an art educator beginning at the public schools in Coatesville, Pennsylvania. During her teaching career, educationally, Judy completed thirty-six graduate credits in fine art classes at West Chester University, West Chester, Pennsylvania and graduate education classes at locally affiliated universities. In her teaching district this was categorized as a masters equivalency. Judy then acquired thirty-three more fine art and education graduate credits at University of the Arts Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and locally affiliated universities.
In Judy’s Coatesville middle school classroom, she introduced and executed projects to the students opening with an introduction to the art history of the period, subject or biography of an artist. Judy used many different media with the children for their two dimensional and three-dimensional projects. Multi-media projects were always a hit. During these years she taught herself various ceramic hand building techniques, leading to a personal love of the medium. For thirty-one years this enthusiasm was shared yearly with her middle school students. Her school children used these hand building techniques to create low fire ceramic masks, robots, cartoon figures, boots, shoes, animals, food, baseball caps and other imaginative ideas. The personal quest to articulate and demonstrate to a child how to successfully build any project, such as the latest in vogue cartoon character in clay, was part of the challenge and fun. Seeing a character successfully emerge from a glaze firing was the cherry on top. It is most rewarding to learn that her past students’ ceramic projects still sit proudly in their parents’ home. After public school teaching, she obtained a retirement job teaching art to kindergarten through eighth grade in the Catholic schools. It was unique to make art with the younger grades after working solely with middle school students. Juggling eight different age levels, with eight different projects, with eight different supply lists and eight different types of clean-up proved to be a feat of showmanship at times. One of her Catholic school responsibilities was painting scenery for the annual 8th grade musical. It included a 32’L x 8’H themed background, two scene changes and major props. The painting was executed on Saturday mornings with a small group of 8th graders. From January till April her artistic focus was executing and completing the scenery of that year's Disney Junior musical. This duty was a rewarding learning experience. The scenery painting and building reinforced the importance of tackling a true challenge. With trial and error, grit, imagination and inexpensive resources Judy feels she could successfully work part-time at a local theater company. After thirty-nine years of creating projects, teaching each step, hanging children’s artwork, planning field trips, painting scenery, and coordinating school wide art shows, Ms. DeSimone finally hung up her classroom apron.
For three decades, Judy’s personal ceramic work consisted of flora and fauna and personal diary scenes, done in bas relief, painted in underglazes, gloss glaze and fired to cone 06. The illustration of realism was the predominant goal. With public school retirement came a shedding of her old personal bas relief ceramics and a blossoming of the new to her quick, spontaneous, “why not” ceramic art. Her “why not” art consists of vessels and wall pieces painted with underglaze, gloss glaze, oxide, with occasional non-ceramic attachments. These ceramics are constructed in mid-fire stoneware fired to cone 5. Judy’s artistic goal is to strive for a quirkiness in shape, texture and color that will record her whims of the present moment. Full retirement has allowed Ms. DeSimone to focus on exhibiting her work to a more diverse audience.