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Carla Moseley

A vivid, vibrant soul left this world on January 12. There was only one person like Carla Moseley, and that was herself. She was unique. She leaves a void where her flame once lit up a world of possibilities -- for beauty, for harmony, for magic, for mystery, for fairies and sweet solid buildings architecturally-undreamed-of by regular folk.

She was born Carla Cecille Tutschulte in 1933, and spent her childhood among the orange groves of Whittier and the coves of Laguna Beach, where her love of the natural world was born and nourished. She came to Santa Barbara as a very young mother of two with her husband Harold Moseley. “He took me up Sheffield Drive,” she said, “and it was just like Fairyland. That was it; we had to live here.” She was a talented and self-taught architect. She designed her first house in Montecito while expecting her third daughter, and the family moved into it unfinished, while Harold, with her help, built it around us on weekends and into the evenings. While finishing the house and creating its amazing gardens, she started a ballet school in the in-house studio, instructing countless students through the years in the Cecchetti Method. She choreographed, designed, and developed numerous productions, for which she also designed the costumes and personally painted the enormous, stunning stage backdrops.

Two sons followed three daughters. She gave her children a magical childhood, was a loving, inspirational and exacting mother who taught by example. Her love and care for her grandchildren was joyous, ever-flowing. Her love of pure food led her to adopt an organic vegetarian way of life when it was still largely unheard-of, and to research health devotedly, eventually leading her to take up goat husbandry.

After her family was grown, she designed and, with talent and perfect woodwork contributed by her sons Jon and David, built two more houses, each different and stunning in its own way. A skilled and talented mason, Carla hand-built gorgeous, perfect stone walls and fireplaces of unparalleled artistry. Truly, they were a joy just to look at. Happiest when covered in rock dust or sawdust, garbed in knee pads, puffy pants, safety glasses and dust-mask, she would emerge from a cloud of glinting dust to greet a visitor with her wide and charming smile. Creativity swirled around her and she was never still. She and her daughter Delila founded the Montecito School of Ballet, which expanded and continued the tradition of Cecchetti instruction, exams, and performances for many years up to the present.

The goats flourished too, in their beautiful barns and corrals built from round poles, open to the air, under sycamore and oak trees. Carla milked many goats every day for decades, and also made cheese and yogurt, providing a source of pure food for numberless grateful people.

There was tragedy in Carla’s life, most devastatingly brought by the Tea Fire, but she forged on, her indomitable spirit urging her forward in creative endeavors. She knew fear, but was perhaps the bravest person we’ve known, because despite her fear, she never, ever gave up. She was a fighter, she was a creator, a visionary, and a beauty. She leaves us bereft but so grateful for all the gifts that flowed from her to so many.

Carla is survived by her former husband Harold, her sister Tamara Andrews and brother Theodore Tutschulte, five children Delila (Steve), Laura (Tom), Teresa, David (Gisèle), and Jon (Barbara); and her six grandchildren Kumar (Crystal), Usha (Orion), Aliana, Willow, Jasmine and Marissa, and two great-grandchildren Arjuna and Indra Bear, and many nieces and nephews.

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