Levine was born in Alberta, Canada in 1935. Her interest in materials stems from her early studies in chemistry at the University of Alberta, where she earned a B.S. and M.S. in the late 1950s. Levine studied ceramics at the University of Regina before attending graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley in 1969. While Levine was denied the first time she applied to UC Berkeley, she was eventually accepted on the recommendation of Jim Melchert. After graduating with an M.F.A. in sculpture in 1971, Levine taught art at the University of Regina in Saskatchewan, the University of Utah, in Salt Lake City, and UC Berkeley. For most of her career, however, Levine primarily worked as a full-time artist based in Oakland, California.