Estelle Vernon

Located in Alexandria, Virginia, Estelle has been handcrafting jewelry for over 25 years.

Her jewelry designs are influenced by both the visual and the tactile.

Whether it’s the leaves on trees, the roughness of tree bark, or the intricacies of Japanese textile design, she distills these images into her jewelry with an elegant simplicity.

Estelle’s work is textural being pleasing to the eye and the hand at the same time, and currently involves several surface techniques. The gold painted work involves melting 14k wire onto the surface of the sterling silver in a painterly fashion and then using an iridescent patina. In another technique, she creates unique textures utilizing original photographs she has taken in our National Parks. She etches the design into a texture plate and then roller prints or embosses the design onto the metal. Each piece of jewelry in the Yellowstone and Bryce series is embellished with 24k gold keum boo accents and then oxidized to fully develop the contrasts between the blackened metal and the gold.

Estelle has exhibited her work nationally and internationally, most notably at a show in Seoul, South Korea in 2005. She has been a member of the Washington Guild of Goldsmiths since 1988 where she was president from 2000 through 2003. She is currently a member of the Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG) and is a resident artist at The Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria, Virginia where her work can be seen in Studio 201, Metallum.

Estelle received her jewelry education at Montgomery College, Maryland Institute College of Art, and Touchstone Center for Crafts. She is continuing to perfect her craft through workshops given by the Washington Guild of Goldsmiths and studying under acclaimed instructors John Cogswell and Mary Ellen Trozzo.

Emily Squires Levine

As the middle of three daughters growing up in New England, I inherited the right brain skills of my mother and grandmother.  While my sisters were playing outside, I was knotting macrame and making yarn dolls.  As I pursued an MBA and a 30-year career in finance, sewing with colorful fabrics or testing a new chocolate cake recipe provided a welcomed diversion.

Although I played with polymer clay with my young children, it was not until 1994, after participating in a workshop at a local arts center, that I discovered my niche.  What started as an avocation became my occupation over time.  I am fortunate to be able to pursue my art full-time in Philadelphia.

Why vessels?  I have always been drawn to small containers, particularly those with colorful, intricate designs:  a ceramic bowl from Turkey, a box made from mother-or-pearl.  Often they would hold a few perfect shells, a pair of earrings or those tiny gold toned safetly pins.  Always, the container intrigued me more than its contents.

Exploiting the properties of polymer clay, I translate my love of color and pattern into vessels of many sizes and shapes.  Using the Italian millefiori technique, I layer hand blended colors of polymer clay to create designs which run through the entire length of the “cane”.  Canes can be combined endlessly, then stretched without disturbing the integrity of the interior design.  I build the vessel on a form, juxtaposing slices of canes of contrasting colors, shapes, patterns and complexity;  often I incorporate open space between the slices as part of the design.  After curing in a convection oven, I sand the outside of the vessel and release it from its mold.  Each piece is one-of-a-kind.  The result excites me, and I am gratified to share it with others.

Thomas Hoadley

My current ceramic work reflects an investigation into several areas of interest and an attempt to unify solutions to various visual problems. One interest is in the vessel as an abstract sculptural form and its many associations, both literal and metaphoric. Another is pattern and color and how a collection of abstract elements can create various feelings or impressions. A third is an interest in the investigation of surface pattern and three dimensional form. The technique that I use, which results in a penetration of the pattern through the thickness of the wall so as to be visible on both the outside and the inside, is a partial solution to the problem; but from a strictly two dimensional standpoint I am also concerned with how the pattern relates to the form as seen in the profile.
A certain degree of illusionism of depth is created by some color/pattern combinations and I enjoy the play of this implied visual depth vs. the “flat” modulating surface of the pot vs. the real depth that is present in the interior space. My aim is not, however, to create strong illusions nor representational or abstracted pictures on the pots.
My initial attraction to the nerikomi technique came from its organic union of pattern and structure. Rather than the former being applied to the latter, as in most decorative pottery traditions, the two are one and the same. The natural world abounds with this sort of union and as a result, offers endless inspiration for pattern making. The other aspect that was particularly attractive to me was the translation of the physical properties of clay into a visual format. By this I mean that the very plasticity of the clay is made visible in the way that an imposed pattern is altered. Straight parallel lines are created by stacking up slices of various colored clays but in the manipulation of the resulting soft block of clay, the lines become undulating or are perhaps made to taper down to hair’s breadth. Porcelain, of course, shows off this quality to its greatest extent but the principle is the same with any clay. I think of my patterns as being a collaboration between my imposed structure and the clay’s wise alteration of that structure.
In addition to the natural sources, I have found inspiration for patterns in a number of other areas. Fabric design has recently been of great interest to me as well as a variety of non-ceramic craft traditions. Graphic Design of all sorts serves as visual stimulation and color ideas can come as easily from a magazine ad as from a rock, shell, or flower.


CREATE, new fine art and craft gallery, opens in Chestertown, MD.

Five nationally known artists bring their work together in unique collaboration

Chestertown, MD, May 13, 2016 – Located at 113 South Cross Street in historic Chestertown, Maryland, the new Create gallery ( is a collaboration of nationally known fine art and craft artists.  The gallery brings together five Chestertown-based yet recognized artists to create a fresh, new way to experience art, fine craft and design.  Guests who visit can get to know the artists and understand the creative process.  It will be the home for a variety of existing work while presenting the opportunity to work directly with the artists to create personal or commercial custom pieces.

The goal of the new gallery is to promote a deeper understanding of the creative process while demonstrating the potential for contemporary fine craft to enrich both living and work spaces.  In addition to work of the founding artists, Create will feature the work of guest artists across the fine craft spectrum including metal, glass, ceramics, wood, jewelry, fiber and mixed media.  The gallery is being curated by Carla Massoni, owner of MassoniArt, considered by many to be one of the finest gallerists in the mid-Atlantic region.


The five artists include:

Trained as a tool maker, Rob Glebe ( chose metal as his art form when he began creating his work 11 years ago.  Starting with flat sheets of steel, he transforms the metal into colorful openwork vessels and unique wall art. Rob began his career trying to replicate the vessel forms from pottery, wood and baskets in metal. Today, Rob has taken his passion for design and now creates custom art work to fit a specific space, in addition to the unique colorful vessels and wall art.

Dave and Patti Hegland ( are a husband and wife team known for their innovative kiln art glass. Earlier careers in engineering and finance ingrained in them an acute attention to detail which they apply to all phases of their craft from the complexity of their designs to the precision applied to the finishing processes used to polish and shape each piece.  Winners of numerous fine craft awards, the Heglands are particularly proud to have been selected as the 2013 winner of the prestigious Niche award for kiln & cast glass, recognizing creativity and technical excellence among American professional fine craft artists

Bob Ortiz ( has been making furniture for more than 30 years. Ortiz’s designs incorporate influences from the Arts & Crafts movement, Japanese and Asian Cultures, Shaker craftsmen and a lifetime of playing music. In his studio, Bob offers unique ‘vacation workshops’, where participants can work under Bob’s tutelage for a week of furniture making, creating their own crafted wood piece to take home.

Marilee Schumann ( has been passionately making and teaching pottery for 35 years. With a diverse background in art, and an Masters of Fine Arts in sculpture, her work includes the humble uses of pottery, food preparation and serving,  as well as more abstract symbolic uses like flower arranging, vessels, sacrifice, ritual, and contemplation.

Faith Wilson ( has been making textile art for more than 30 years.  Starting at as a weaver, she first showed at the American Craft Council Baltimore show in 1985.  Transitioning into painting and mixed media work, she started her lauded floorcloth series in 2001.  Her work has also been shown at the Smithsonian Craft Show, the Philadelphia Museum Craft Show, the Washington Craft Show, and Craft Boston, among many others.

The origin of Create dates back to 2013 when Curator Carla Massoni, recognizing the strength of these individual artists, brought this group of artists together to help establish Chestertown as an arts’ lover destination while encouraging more tourism in the area. The artists first exhibited together at the 2015 American Craft Council show in Baltimore, MD.  Shortly after, they came together in a month-long ‘pop-up’ gallery in Chestertown which was a terrific success.

“Rather than competing, the partners’ style and approach complement one another, elevating the art to another level, said Massoni.  As a result, a more formal partnership was forged and the group began to seek a permanent space in downtown Chestertown, which has become Create.  Visit the gallery Wednesday through Monday at 113 South Cross Street.


For more information:

Carla Massoni