Emilie Benes Brzezinski was born in Switzerland and emigrated to the United States. She studied at Wellesley College, earning a degree in fine arts. She pursued art seriously later in life after raising her family, was in her 40s when she eventually developed her own recognizable style in wood. She has explored working with resin and has also made works with fibers and in bronze, but wood has remained her primary medium. She uses chainsaws, chisels and axes to hew and carve monumental trunks into towering sculptures. The process and the evidence of these tool marks upon the material are an important part of her work. She currently resides outside the Washington, D.C. region where she lived with her husband, the late famed political advisor Zbigniew Brzezkinski.