Born in New York City, Norma grew up in The Bronx in an environment rich with cultural diversity. An adventurous child, she explored the city’s culture and museums and developed a knowledge of symbolism as it is represented in the creative visual world and in poetry. It was in the museums and libraries that she felt most at home. “I learned to paint from my father, to appreciate needlework from my mother and poetry from a neighbor”.

In the summer months her family left the city to escape the heat. It was in the mountains of New York State and at the beaches in Rockaway, New York that she connected with the mysteries and wonders of nature. Here too, she felt at home.

Norma continued her studies at museums, galleries, art schools and colleges earning a BA degree from Empire State College, NYC. She focused her studies in American art. In later years she was invited to participate on the North Carolina State Visiting Artist Program. Residencies in schools, hospitals and rehabilitation centers, allowed her to witness the healing aspects of the creative process. She earned an MA degree in Expressive Arts and Applied Psychology from Vermont College.

“My parents who emigrated from Russia, taught me to respect and appreciate personal freedom of choice and how to live in community”. Her Sandy Mush community, located in the mountains Western North Carolina, gave her the opportunity to learn the symbolic meanings beyond the surface of fiber quilts and to learn about their rich heritage. Here she learned how to tend the land, appreciate its gifts and how to live in harmony with the earth. It is through her creative work, which has been regionally and nationally recognized, that she continues to explore these ideals.