The Fire of Creation
Jun 04, 2014 03:01PM
Don’t go to Joyful Adornments Glass Studio just to see the beautiful pieces turned out by owner Bonnie Scott. Don’t go just to watch Scott at work, or just to try your own hand at creating something from almost nothing. Don’t go just for a chance to help the artist create a one- of-a-kind item to your specifications. And definitely don’t go just to browse, or even to shop.
Go for all of that, and more.
“I like for people to think of this as not only a shopping destination but as a destination to experience something,” says owner and artist Bonnie Scott.
At her shop in the Schuyler County village of Odessa, she says, visitors are “going to experience what glass is about. They can put their hands on it, or they can talk to me and have me design something for them, something personal. So it’s a learning experience. It’s much more fun than just shopping.”
Or as her brochure states, Joyful Adornments is “a Destination Experience of Magical Proportions!”
Located five blocks south of Odessa’s Main Street, Joyful Adornments occupies a building that previously housed the Vedder and Scott Funeral Home. Three years ago, when her husband, Fred, retired and closed the funeral home, Bonnie Scott moved in. (There’s still a Vedder and Scott Funeral Home in Montour Falls, but the Scotts sold that business years ago.)
Scott has brought new life to the place with brightly colored beads, buttons, and jewelry of various kinds that she fashions from long, slender rods of brightly colored glass imported from Italy and Germany.
This isn’t blown glass, it’s flamework glass, also called lampwork or torchwork. Pieces are created by heating the rods and shaping them over a torch whose flame burns at 3,000 degrees.
Scott works at a table in her shop just off the showroom. She is happy to take visitors there and demonstrate the creative process, or even make a piece while people watch. You pick the color, shape, and size, for example, and she’ll build a bead for you. If you’re fourteen or older, she’ll let you make your own creation while she watches. Scott even gives flamework bead lessons.
The tour and demonstration are free, but there’s a charge for lessons and to make or design a bead. Check Scott’s Web site (www.JoyfulAdornments.com) for more information—including hours, which vary—or call ahead (607-594- 3016 or toll free 800-517-6440) to let her know you’re coming.
Scott has been working with glass for about ten years. A creative person all her life—she’s a trained classical singer and also does quilting and painting—she first got into glass art as a hobby. She took lessons from a glass artist in Corning and began creating necklaces and other pieces that she would wear.
“My friends started buying things off my neck,” she said.
An Elmira native and graduate of Southside High School, the former Bonnie Kast moved to Odessa after she and Fred Scott married. They have one daughter, Keri, who also lives in Odessa.
Before she turned her glass art into a business, Scott taught at Elmira College, was the coordinator of the Ithaca College School of Music library, and was a Longaberger Basket consultant.
“I like variety,” she explains simply.
She is perhaps best known for her glass spool jewelry. Drawing from her love of quilting, she has designed glass pieces that look like they’re made of small spools of colorful thread. She doesn’t know of anyone else who does that.
One of her most exciting projects has been the development of items using recycled glass, especially wine bottles. That all started innocently enough four years ago when Scott discovered that an old water bottle of her late mother’s—actually a green prune juice bottle that her mother had used for water—had broken when the water inside it froze. Not wanting to throw the glass away, she salvaged the pieces and turned them into jewelry for her sister, a cousin, and herself.
Now she regularly produces pieces of jewelry and ornaments from bottles brought to her by friends and other customers. Scott calls them Wear-A-Memory recycled wine bottle jewelry. One such piece on display in her shop is an elaborate clear glass necklace.
A member of the Handwork Cooperative Artisan Gallery in Ithaca, Scott displays and sells her work there and at three consignment stores in Watkins Glen—O’Susannah’s Quilts & Gifts, Fiber Arts in the Glen, and the Franklin Street Gallery. She also displays items at the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce. But she does more business outside the local region, selling to customers in several other states, Canada, and as far away as Australia.
“As most artists know, you do more away from home than close to home,” she said. She’s working hard to reverse that, or at least to balance the scale. But for now, she said, “The five-mile rule is in effect.”