Growing up in Eastern Europe under communism, Anna Skibska lacked some of the material goods that children in Western countries have.
"As a child, I didn’t have any toys," says the Polish-born artist. "I played with my mother’s jewelry." But when illness struck Skibska’s father, her mother sold the jewelry to pay for medical care. So Skibska made her own toys.
"I started with shoe boxes," she says. "I created landscapes. I dried out leaves, flowers and butterflies." Skibska glued the natural objects into the boxes and painted them, adding blue skies and starry scenes to the box lids.
She invented "Anna’s Theater," creating stories about the boxes and their contents, then performing shows with them for her friends and adult visitors to the Skibska home.
Skibska’s ingenuity became the basis for an art career that has spanned several countries and major cities across the U.S. A glass artist, Skibska pioneered a sculpting technique known as "flameworking" or "lampworking," which she used in making her untitled exhibit of 10 intricate glass cocoons hanging in the lobby at Mesa Contemporary Arts, the museum portion of the new Mesa Arts Center.
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