Stevens began designing handbags in 1983 "as a process of survival and experimentation" with her art. She had just moved to New York, leaving behind the West Coast and a career in bilingual elementary school education. Surrounded by friends making art in all realms, she began exploring her own artistic potential, which she found in the very substance of the city. For some people a subway car is nothing more than a fast way to get from downtown to uptown. For Stevens, it was a source of fascinating sheet metal, as were the telephone booths, elevators, and construction sites she saw everywhere.
What marks her designs, above and beyond durability, is the assortment of sizes, shapes and metals. Maintaining her integrity as a designer, she continues to make each piece by hand, with the help of a small staff. And just when you thought she had exhausted all materials, she comes up with new ones and new combinations. In fact, she now designs her own sheet metals.
She continues to produce some of the signature pieces -- like the Drop Bag and the Shoulder Bag -- though she may change details in hardware and leather. Out of the scraps generated by the handbags, she began producing belts, picture frames, lamps, and office pieces.
The originality of her designs has garnered attention in top fashion and design magazines around the world. And if the fire did set her back, her flourishing business is a clear indication of what it means to rise from the ashes.