Most Westchester schools have fully embraced recycling with students, faculty, and staff determined to “go green.” The Ursuline School is no exception. But for Art teacher, Ms. Patricia DiIorio recycling and upcycling take on beautiful and perhaps unconventional new meanings.
The proud recipient of four art awards for sculpture in the past few months, DiIorio sees beauty everywhere and isn’t shy about using found and recycled items to create unique pieces of art. She took first and third place in the sculpture category at the New Rochelle Art Association’s 107th Open Juried Show. Her sculpture, Elements, made of welded hammered steel, earned top honors. Another piece, aptly titled Found and constructed with hammered steel and Tennessee River found steel, placed third.
|Elements, steel relief||Found, steel relief|
Adding to her list of accolades, DiIorio took second and third place in the 2022 Adolph Grant Show, sponsored by the New Rochelle Art Association. Beware, a unique sculpture of found and cut steel and collated nails earned second-place honors in the Sculpture category. Her elegant sculpture, Lithe Woman, constructed with Hudson River driftwood and river rock, took third place in the Sculpture category.
DiIorio is awash with enthusiasm as she explains her compulsion to create art with items from her surroundings. “Ideas come from everywhere,” she explains. “I love to repurpose found or ordinary items and then have them come to life in another form.”
A keen eye for art and beauty runs in the family. DiIorio’s father worked as a welder and blacksmith, and her mother was a seamstress, a bookkeeper and an assistant hand-knit designer. As a child, she drew inspiration from her hard-working parents and learned a lot about creativity in the process. “I absorbed a lot by watching my parents and today I continue to learn so much while working with my students,” she adds.
DiIorio truly is a lifelong learner who continues to hone the art of design thinking, a skill that she has emphasized to students during her 17 years as an art teacher at The Ursuline School. “Art is about thinking, making choices, constructing and deconstructing,” she explains. "It combines effort and talent. Students need to continually challenge themselves to work outside of their comfort zone and keep at it. Create, recreate and then refine to make it better. Talent will only take you so far. Work ethic is key.”
So what’s her advice for her student artists? Her eyes light up as she offers, “Turn your passion into your profession. Everyone is creative and anything can be beautiful.”