As a young adult Kalaya explored the Sonoran Desert in the Southwest. Learning about her American Indian and Thai roots led her to a fascination with myth, talismans and amulets. Being born into a military family led her to live a nomadic life. She attended three different high schools on her way to earning a BS in Microbiology from Northwestern State University in Louisiana. In 1992 New Orleans claimed her as her own. She studied Fine Arts at Delgado Community College under Margo Manning, apprenticed with local artist Becky Burt and attended master workshops in New Orleans and a the Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts in San Francisco.
Kalaya migrates towards making pieces that have an organic feel. Her inspiration comes mostly from nature and sacred symbols. At least once a year the winds of the desert and Mexico call her back home. There you can usually catch up with her in Sand Miguel de Allende eating a tamale.