In 1994, Marlene Xenis and her daughter Tania began The Xenis Collection, operating from a small shop located in British Columbia. Marlene designed the original collection and Tania did all of the painting.
Born and raised on the West Coast of British Columbia, Marlene was the inspiration for the creation and development of these wonderful works of art. A student of the Royal Conservatory of Music and a member of the Theatre Guild for many years, the arts have always played an important role in her life.
Born in Maple Ridge, B.C., Tania showed promise as an artist from the age of five. At eight, she received her first art award in a province wide Canadian Forest Products poster contest. Tania eventually studied architectural design at UCFV in British Columbia, graduating in 1992.
As the demand grew for The Xenis Collection and new design themes, Marlene and Tania hired on a team of highly skilled artists to assist them in design and production. Teaming up with Willitts Designs gave them the opportunity to expand their already demanding market.
A dynamic mother and daughter duo, Marlene and Tania Xenis have created beautiful, handcrafted wooden sculptures that put the "D" in Diva.
"There are so many steps involved to create these designs," explains Marlene. "Each Diva goes through concept idea that we sketch out, followed by sculpting, and then a final wood prototype. And like any true Diva, her perfectly carved body goes to the seamstress who will work with many fabrics and colors to custom fit the perfect gown and accessories. Each face is meticulously hand painted. We have even hired on a licensed hairstylist to do their hair. These Divas become very real to us!" Marlene laughs.
Hand carved out of Canadian maple or other selected hard woods, Marlene and Tania have turned their love for the arts into unique, eye-catching sculptures, adding the Diva trademark carved swirl at the bottom of each base. Each solid wood body is hand carved, sanded and varnished-treatment comparable to a fine furniture piece.
With much talent and wit each face is hand painted and airbrushed to fit their personalities. Clothing also is tailored to each of their personas. Fabric is purchased from all over the world to design each gown.
The Divas can strike a pose by adjusting the arms or turning their heads. Each wooden sculpture has a complimentary marbleized base.