Artist Bio

He who works with his hands is a laborer.
He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.
-St. Francis of Assisi

Dara Mina Tesse was born in Princeton, NJ in 1974. She has been creating art for as long as she can recollect. Inspiration for her artwork comes from the beauty of the natural world, particularly the woodlands of her childhood home. She remembers the joy of making mud pies in her backyard near the stream, where she also looked for salamanders under the rocks, and collected wildflowers. Butterflies, birds, fruits, flowers and insects are recurring motifs in her work. 

 After graduating from Wellesley College with a degree in mathematics, Dara moved to NY city, where she earned a Masters Degree in Education. Surrounded by a metropolis of museums, galleries and a vibrant art scene, she took her college painting teacher’s advice to heart: keep looking at art. Simultaneously, she began to focus her energies on creating ceramics at a community studio, where she developed her skills and understanding of the craft, and became a studio assistant. Her ceramics are often figurative or functional with added sculptural elements, and incorporate layers of colored slips and glazes in order to imitate nature’s vivid colors. In addition to ceramics, Dara paints in oils and watercolors, and works in stained glass. 

 Dara has participated in numerous Ceramics workshops at home and abroad, and exhibits her work regularly. Most recently, she was awarded First Place in the 2021 All Botanical Contemporary Art Gallery Online.  

For the last thirteen years, Dara has taught Art and Ceramics at a private, all girls school in NY city, where she feels energized by the creativity and joy of her students. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and kindergarten daughter, who enrich her life with their love and support.