Cheswick resident continues mum’s decorative painting legacy

Stepping into Cheryl Vizzo’s home feels like a museum of treasured memories — from the ornate lamp on her living room side table to the spring-themed knobs on her kitchen cabinets.

Every decorative item in his home was created by his late mother, Marie Fucci Williams, an accomplished porcelain artist and teacher in the Alle-Kiski Valley.

Williams was a porcelain artist for 59 years, taking lessons in Taranto. She was known for making souvenir pieces such as doll shoes and ornaments for the people of the Lower Valley. She painted until her death in 2018, said Vizzo, 67.

“People were still asking about them after he passed, so I wanted to fill a need,” she said.

Despite her mother’s longstanding commitment to her craft, Vizzo never learned the skill until the pandemic hit in March 2020. She decided to pick up where her mother left off to occupy her time during the sudden break in life.

Vizzo has transformed a room in her house into a studio, where she spends her time painting.

She began by practicing painting designs on goose eggs.

“I wanted to carry on my mother’s legacy in the Alle-Kiski Valley,” she said.

In 2021, her vision widened after wanting to know more about pottery. She saw an ad for mussels for sale, so she and her husband, Dom, started going to nearby towns to pick them up.

This catapulted the pair into making clay sculptures, with Dom casting the molds for Cheryl to decorate.

“We spend a lot of time traveling, so it worked out,” Dom Vizzo said.

Cheryl Vizzo showcases her work – which includes vases, tableware, urns, jars and ornaments – on “Visions of Cheryl Vizzoon Facebook. She also runs a Facebook group to connect with other porcelain artists and teachers throughout the Pittsburgh area.

Its eponymous Youtube channel offers insight into what the couple are doing in their home.

Their basement is filled with an inventory of molds, supplies, and machinery for their work. Two kilns are used to fire the clay and porcelain pieces.

“We didn’t know what we were doing, but we wanted to create some pretty stuff to spread out into the world,” said Cheryl Vizzo.

The Vizzos offer some of their creations to interested consumers, but do not view their hobby as a business. They said most customers are charged for postage or what it took to create the part.

Pieces were shipped all over the world, including Sweden and the UK.

At the start of their adventure, the couple produced around half a dozen pieces almost every day. Since then, their work has slowed down as Dom has taken a part-time job and Cheryl wants to focus on local orders.

“We just want to do pretty things for people,” she said.

Tanisha Thomas is editor of Tribune-Review. You can contact Tanisha by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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