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Conversations with Vanessa Leone

Today we’d like to introduce you to Vanessa Leone.

Vanessa, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
My journey as a Mexican Tree of Life artist started from a life-changing event. My brother, Chad Ware, was found in Mexico in 2014. Losing him shattered my world and changed my life forever. He left me the priceless gift of being fearless in all aspects of my life, including sharing my artistic creations, which I had never done before.

My first Mexican Tree of Life was in dedication to him, and I haven’t stopped making them since then. Each Tree of Life forms organically as I’m building them and no two trees are alike. Sometimes I surprise myself by wondering where they all come from. It’s like there is a sea of trees floating around in my mind, all waiting to come out.

For years, I had been collecting vintage Mexican Trees of Life, also known as “Arbols de la Vida.” Once you’ve seen one, you won’t forget it. They are colorful hand-sculpted and hand-painted clay candelabras that are deeply rooted in the Mexican culture. They were originally adorned with religious themes and given to newlyweds as a symbol of fertility. Because of their powerful symbolism of life, growth, and transformation, they also play an important part of Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations by adorning altars to remember passed loved ones.

Even though it’s only been a couple of years, I have been blessed to have met so many amazing people along the way. I’ve been asked to create custom trees of life for memorials, weddings, pets, anniversaries and recently to welcome a new baby into this world. I’m so grateful that through Chad’s tragedy, a beautiful journey was born. Thank you Chad, I love you and miss you every day.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Strangely, this artistic journey has been a fairly smooth road. My biggest issue now is keeping up with the demand, so I’m working on ways to speed up the production process without sacrificing the art itself. I want to always keep each tree of life unique and a one-of-a-kind original.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I’m a Mexican Tree of Life (Arbols de la Vida) artist. What sets me apart is blending my artistic expression with this beautiful folk art tradition from Mexico, bringing a modern style to this handmade tradition.

What matters most to you?
What matters to me most is love because I believe love transcends time and space.


  • Traditional Trees of Life start at $300
  • Custom Memorials start at $350

Contact Info:

Image Credits
© Sablan Ceramics

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