Our Amazing Teachers
Laura Lee Knopf Co-Owner
It started with landscaping rocks... the small pretty ones that are used to fill in around trees. If it was sparkly, I picked it up. If it was dull, I cracked it open to see the colorful inside. That began my addiction to collecting minerals. It wasn't a huge leap to go from admiring them in my display cabinets to wanting to have some of nature's beauty with me, in the form of jewelry.
For around ten years now I've been making and selling jewelry, and quietly teaching friends the basics. Like most artists, my style and preferences are constantly changing. So don't be surprised to see me sitting in on another teacher's class. There is still so much more to learn!
Cathy Voss Co-Owner
I love to make bohemian inspired jewelry to rock your gypsy soul! My pieces tend to be inspired by nature. I love using earthy, organic elements in them. I'm a jewelry artist whose eclectic design techniques range from wire wrapping to micro macrame, chainmaille, leather work and metal smithing. I've been constantly striving to expand my knowledge and techniques for the past 8yrs. I also actively participate in several jewelry artisan societies where I get to share my passions with other like minded individuals. In my freetime I love to read, listening to music and doing nature photography.
When I was a girl of ten, the project of that fateful summer day at camp was an Indian seed bead bracelet. I was unsure of what Indian seed beads even were, but I was curious little girl, so I gave it a try. I was in love with the outcome, but mostly with the feeling of making something from nothing; just an idea, some string, and the colorful components. I teach for selfish reasons; so that I can observe students when that same emotion fills their souls and puts smiles on their faces.
I’ve been teaching for local bead shops for more than a decade. I work with beads for their luscious color and endless diversity. I work with silver and other metals for their earthy beauty. My goal is to coax the artist that dwells in all of us to stretch a little.
Amy has always loved her sparklies! To support her expensive habit, she started making her own jewelry about 7 years ago. Making beautiful wire weaving pieces for the last 4 years, she has started her own business, Maiden and Crone Adornments. She is largely self taught, with help from books, tutorials and videos. She also has a history of teaching wheat weaving and needle crafts that spans over 30 years.
Carolyn Oliver Haushalter
Carolyn has been beadweaving since 2000. More than 10 years ago she learned about kumihimo, and it has become her greatest passion. In addition to teaching regionally, she is the past co-chair of the Pittsburgh bead society, OCBPA, and had a project published in Bead and Button's Kumihimo issue. Find out more at www.topcenter.typepad.com
I fell in love with bead embroidery when I took my first class 15yrs ago with Sherry Serafini. Since then I approach bead embroidery like I approach life- with constant movement, creativity, and no apparent plan! I have been able to take this artform to places I never thought I could. I was a Bead Dreams finalist in 2017 and 2018 for Facet Magazine, and became a member of the Craftman's Guild of Pittsburgh. My greatest honor is being in Sherry's latest book. I love sharing this type of beadwork with new and experienced beaders, in the hopes that they will fall in love too!
Donna Penoyer, an internationally recognized jewelry artist and master instructor, creates one-of-a-kind and limited-edition jewelry via metal clay. Sometimes called the brand name “PMC” (for “Precious Metal Clay”), metal clay is a malleable material made of metal powder and a water-based, non-toxic binder. It’s worked like any other “clay,” dried and refined, and then fired with a kiln or torch to bind the metal particles together. In the end, the binder is gone, and the piece is pure metal. Donna works and teaches mainly in a fine silver version that can be fired in as little as a few minutes, with only a crime brûlée torch!
Donna’s whistle amulets and other jewelry pieces have appeared in multiple publications, including Robert Dancik’s Amulets and Talismans, Sherri Haab’s The Art of Metal Clay, Hattie Sanderson’s Contemporary Metal Clay Rings, and all five volumes of PMC Guild Annual: Exceptional Work in Precious Metal Clay, with her piece “Journey Companion” selected for the 2009 cover. She began working in metal clay in 2005; has been certified by both PMC Connection and Rio Grande; has taught hundreds of beginner-through-master jewelry classes around the U.S., England, and Belgium; and has been featured several times as an instructor on the online series CRAFTCAST with Alison Lee.
In a recent interview, Donna was asked, “Has PMC changed your life?” She replied,
“Most definitely, yes. There is something about working tiny, in clay, making body adornments, that lights me up. I’m grateful to be able to make a living being creative and sharing with others. Art is important for keeping us sane and imaginative and occasionally uplifted, and for showing us our best selves. When I can help other people feel proud, maybe surprised, by what they can achieve, that is a worthwhile life. I feel my own sense of purpose in this world more richly since PMC came into my life.”
Besides being an outgoing and enthusiastic jewelry instructor, Donna has also been a professional stiltwalker since 1998, performing for corporate events and festivals. Donna’s websites can be found at and www.donnastilts.com.
Trish Gallatin is the owner of Shananigens In Leather. She's been making hand tooled leather into functional pieces of art for 12 years and draws her influences from pop culture, fantasy and even architectural elements. Come take a class with her and walk away with a ready to wear piece that you'll cherish for years to come.
Art has always been something I can retreat to. A very meditative and relaxing place where I can reboot spiritually and emotionally.
When I'm in the creative process, whether I'm designing, constructing or instructing, I'm at my personal best. My natural instincts guide me in the direction each piece will take.
My current work in polymer clay reflects this. I manpulate materials to simulate earthy components, surface treatments and symbolism inspired by my Native American Culture. These are all elements I enjoy sharing.
Alisa Pavick Barnhart
I have always been fascinated with beads and took the plunge in 2006. My speciality is seed bead weaving, although I work well in other mediums.
I have been blessed with a wonderful husband, five incredible kids and ten amazingly beautiful grandkids. I love travel, my four dogs and my two cats. Most days I throw myself into beadwork, metalwork , mixed media art, collage, fiber art, knitting, or crocheting. Busy hands, busy life, is what keeps me young and happy.