Diane Zammito & Sandy Leal
I was always very artistic as a child. As I got older, I took up sewing with a great passion. I made everything from clothing to shams. Over the years I tried a variety of crafts, cross stitch, knitting, Victorian ribbon work, silk ribbon embroidery to name a few. Teddy bears was my first foray into figurative art.. Made a bunch of bears; my favorite type was real fur bears. In between my artistic explorations I got my undergraduate degree in Anthropology and then returned to school and got my MBA. To pay for my expensive, extensive hobbies, I worked full time as an analyst for the City of Las Vegas.
Then I found the doll club and met Sandy. I determined that we were going to be friends. Sandy is reserved and somewhat taciturn. I, on the other hand, am emotional and volatile. They do say opposites attract . . . once they get over the shock.
It took a while for her to get used to me, but as we went through that process we both realized that those profound differences in us brought out the best in our artwork! I love tiny miniatures; Sandy loves big and bold. I have to have a plan; Sandy is a ‘go for it’ from the gut artist. I name everything and it has to have a story, Sandy’s deadpan reply is: “Why?” Our partnership has been FANTASTIC! I learn from Sandy every day. She is my friend, my inspiration, my muse and sometimes a prickle. Her gifts are myriad, and I feel so fortunate to be in a partnership with her.
I have been doing mixed media my entire life. I just wasn’t incorporating all of the mixed media techniques and elements I was learning into one piece. Each skill I learned was used independently.
I have been married for 30 plus years and have a blended family consisting of 3 children, 4 grandchildren and a couple of animals we have come by via the grandkids. In 1979 my husband “saved” me from the Midwest, as he likes to relate it, and we moved to Santa Rosa, California. Over the next 20 years, we moved many times throughout Northern California. In 2000, we retired to Las Vegas. I have always thought of myself as a small town girl but I love this big city.
Thrift stores fascinate me and I am totally addicted. I love to find that unique item, of no value to anyone but me, and make it the focal point of my current project. If not the focus, it may serve as my inspiration, a setting, or, just the solution to an engineering problem I'm having. My partner is a great one for coming up with an idea and then handing it off to me to figure out the mechanics.
My art is always changing. My completed projects are disposed of quickly so that they cannot influence my current work. My mantra is never to be boring.
Since the start of our business, three years ago, my partner, Diane, has taught me the value of using only the finest materials in our projects and that "bigger" is not always better. She is a master of fine, detailed work and has taught me everything I know about Victorian ribbon work. We are as different as two people can be except in the essentials. We both have very high ethics and once we commit, it gets done. Our partnership requires the same work as a marriage and mutual respect is of the utmost importance. Di doesn’t put much stock in astrological signs, but I think that my Libra and her Scorpio are a great combination of traits that make our partnership work.
Diane Zammito & Sandy Leal Mixed Media