After a career in the aerospace industry, a degree in radiopharmacy, work in radiopharmaceutical research, and cofounding The Learning Key, Inc., Jack remodeled homes he purchased to rent – winning the award for historic preservation of a single-family home in Trenton, NJ. He began working with stained glass and then with wood and glass in the 1980’s when he lived in Los Alamos, NM. In 1997, he began to incorporate agate into the products he made for his own homes and the rental properties he refurbished. When friends began requesting pieces designed for their homes, he gave up building acquisition and restoration to devote more time to his artwork. Jack vacationed at a family summer home near Ely for two decades before moving to Cotton, Minnesota 20 years ago with his wife Elizabeth and their cats.
Jack has created many custom features in the home remodeling projects he’s tackled and the additions he’s built over the years. Recently, he has been able to spend more time drawing and woodburning, in addition to building his glass, agate, and wood doors, windows, and room dividers. He has returned to making mirrors and lamps. His designs are colorful and unique and are especially beautiful as the sun shines through.
Karen’s wood-burning avocation has stuck with her for thirty-some years. She’s been lucky enough to have the Minnesota woods at her back door all her life. Interludes of hunting, trapping, and otherwise being woods-bound have provided the inspiration for her scenes of wildlife.
Basswood from northern Minnesota is her choice of wood to burn on. Other species, such as cedar and popple, occasionally come her way as an individual piece to be wood-burned. Some beaver-chewed, stripped-of-bark-pieces (species not always identifiable!) have proved to be burnable. These pieces she will bleach and re-dry before wood-burning.
Karen uses a 120-watt woodburner and only one handpiece. The handpiece has a 45-degree angle-blade tip. She still has a couple of the old 21-watt woodburning pens, with the cork grip, which she (rarely) uses for a finer shading effect.
To learn more about Karen and her work, read our article in Hometown Focus.US July 15, 2016 page 31.
Liz has been designing since she was a child. Beginning with sewing in elementary school and with her grandmother, she started designing and making doll clothes and soon was creating clothing for herself, her mother, and relatives. She spent her summers at the family cabin her grandfather built 90 years ago at the edge of the Boundary Waters on the S. Kawishiwi River near Ely, MN.
Liz has been designing since she was a child. Beginning with sewing in elementary school and with her grandmother, she started designing and making doll clothes and soon was creating clothing for herself, her mother, and relatives. She spent her summers at the family cabin her grandfather built 90 years ago at the edge of the Boundary Waters on the S. Kawishiwi River near Ely, MN. Crocheting, knitting, and designing needlepoint and embroidery were hobbies for some years. The gift of a beading loom led to a few items, before she put seed beads away for decades. She then made other types of necklaces in her spare time, as she studied nuclear chemistry to get her PhD. While she worked as a research chemist, she designed the remodels of the buildings her husband restored. She left R&D to set up a corporate college for 22,000 global employees before leaving to co-found and run The Learning Key, Inc. www.thelearningkey.com, a training design and consulting firm. After she created the Wi$eMoney board game, she started Destina, Inc, www.destinagames.com. Landscaping design and gardening consumed much of her free time, until she caught the seed-bead “bug.” When she isn't designing new products for The Learning Key or working on one of her website, you will find her beading or gardening with the assistance of her active but aging cats. In her extra time, she helps her husband, Jack, craft his wood, art glass, and agate mirrors, doors, and other products.
Diane began beading in the early 90's as a hobby. That hobby expanded and she began selling her wares as a way to continue her exploration of beads as an art form. Soon she was asked to teach beading and discovered many like-minded souls in Northern Minnesota and Northern Wisconsin. She continues to teach and shows her work at many crafts fairs. Diane lives in rural northern Minnesota.