The education that Raya received during her formative years in Ann Arbor, Michigan, was exceptional, especially in the field of art. Her inspiration and desire for a life of creative expression were seeded during this time. The creativity and encouragement of Raya's parents also contributed to her development in the arts.
During her mid-teens, Raya studied privately with Jack Cartlidge, a renowned sculptor and professor of art at New College in Sarasota, Florida. During her apprenticeship under him, she created life-sized human sculptures made with cement. Because of his belief in her artistic abilities, Mr. Cartlidge encouraged Raya to find her own style and technique through any avenue available to her. When she was 18 years old and living on her own in San Francisco, she began designing and producing jewelry to support herself. This continued to be a medium that she enjoyed and found recognition in for many years.
While living in Mendocino, California, Raya discovered her talent and interest in print making. Her love of this medium lead her to 3 years of study under the direction of Robert Rhodes, an instructor at the College of the Redwoods. This education laid a solid technical foundation for the work she later produced.
After moving from California, Raya worked for Accent Graphics, a division of Phoenix Art Press designing art as well as managing their etching department. During this time, more than 60 of her print designs were published in limited editions of 200 each and were distributed nationally.
Raya's ongoing involvement in jewelry lead her to Circle Fine Art Corp. (CFA), Scottsdale, Arizona in 1987 where she designed jewelry for various artists, notably "Erte". During her two years with CFA, 50 of the 70 designs were drawn by Raya for "Erte Art To Wear, The Complete Jewelry" published by Dutton Studio Books in 1991. Many of these designs were fabricated in limited editions and sold.
After leaving CFA, Raya continued jewelry designing and model making on a freelance basis for various jewelry manufacturing companies in the U.S. In 1992 she met Richard. This partnership lead to the first significant recognition of Raya's art in the international market. Raya believes that her recent works reflect greater personal vision and philosophy that continues to evolve through her work. This is confirmed by the favorable reception her work now is receiving.