Donna Perry


This month is all about accessories, and I’ve chosen four artists to show their work.   

Donna Perry and her art dolls have been featured in an earlier post. When I saw the extraordinary jewelry she has been making I asked her to be my guest artist again. 


I am a mixed media artist living in the San Francisco Bay Area.  After retiring from desktop publishing and database management I returned to my art and started making cloth sculptured dolls, but my background includes fine art (especially oil and watercolor painting) ceramics, jewelry design and lost wax casting, fiber arts, fabric surface design, and collage.  In the 1980s I co-owned two tailoring, alteration and dressmaking shops.  I also made one-of-a-kind designs and wearable art.  I love it all!










I met B. Lynn Woolman when we were both showing our crafts in a show last fall.  I loved her contemporary designs and even thought of piercing my ears just to wear some of her fabulous pieces.  I’m delighted that she agreed to share them on my blog.


I was raised in the East Bay by two talented and creative parents who always supported my interest in the arts.  As a child I took carpentry and watercolor classes at the Albany Public Library, and spent many hours at the New Pieces fabric store in Berkeley.  I have early memories of exploring massive quilt shows with my mother, a quilt artist, and of learning about perspective and scale while sitting at a drafting table with my father, an architect.  Their creative stylings are definitely an influence on my work today, from pattern mixing, meandering lines, and organic shapes, to unexpected color combinations and pops of high contrast that I see in my pieces.

Although I’ve been making jewelry for years, it’s only in the last several months that I’ve started making my own beads.  This latest creative venture started in the fall of 2018 when I took a class in polymer clay (Sculpy) at a local co-working space for creative women and non-binary people. I was hooked.  I love that this medium allows me to work from instinct and improvisation, mixing colors on the fly and building combinations that feel right in the moment.  It’s satisfying to be able to assemble an earring, look at it and think…….hmmmm….it needs something else….and within minutes, have a brand new bead fresh out of the oven to balance the whole thing.  The goal right now is to create pieces that feel full of celebration and possibility.  My favorite part of putting my work out in the world is hearing customer’s stories – the pair they intend to wear on vacation with their sister, or to a graduation party, or on a rare date night after having their first child.  It’s such a privilege to get a tiny window into the joys and celebrations of strangers.




You can see more of B. Lynn’s jewelry on Etsy:


Claudia knew of me from our volunteering days at the Oakland Museum White Elephant Sale.  When she had a craft that she felt would fit in my blog she sent me pictures.  I thought her ideas were delightful. This is what happens when creative people sort and price donated neckties all day. I filed her information with plans to include it in the appropriate post and this is it.


I was born and raised in northern Maine and graduated from the University of Maine with a BS in Child Development.  After that I set out to see the world doing various types of work, mainly administrative in a wide variety of industries such as adventure travel, the airline industry, securities, and utilities, to name a few.  I lived in Boston and Miami and landed in California in the early eighties.

I retired in 2017 from more than forty years of working in the corporate world, and started looking for a creative outlet.  I had been volunteering at the White Elephant Sale for three years and had access to silk neckties. I had always enjoyed working on costumes and my husband was instrumental in getting me to make Victorian Collars.  The collars were a hit, which encouraged me to see what other accessories I could make with these beautiful neckties. 








One day I entered Bay Quilts fabric store in  Richmond, California  and the cutest display of little figure pins nearly jumped off the counter into my arms.  I had to know more about the creatures and contacted Deb Shattil.  I asked if she would like to be on my blog and she agreed.  My original plan was to feature Deb’s work, as I understand she makes many more items, but she said she plans to have her own blog one day and would only send me pictures of these few.  If you are in the area of Bay Quilts you might pop in and take a look, or wait for her blog to see more of her work.


Almost 20 years ago I found fabric with images of seashells .  The playful shapes were intriguing, so I stitched around them and assembled oddly-shaped little figures.  Using other fabrics, about 100 figures later, my “Extrovert” pins were born.  They are embellished with seed beads and fitted with a good quality nickel silver pin back.  They morph from figures to insects to fish to cats.  Each one is unique and I make them myself to ensure their integrity.  A well-meaning friend suggested that I could earn more by hiring third-world craftsmen to help assemble them.  But these pieces are more than income for me.  Aside from quality controls issues the process of making them is very instructive, with one idea leading to another.  I would be robbing myself of that opportunity.

Several years ago when I was at a store in Berkeley that sold Extroverts, a woman came in and zeroed in on them.  When I told her that they were mine, she said that they inspired a project she teaches to seniors in assisted living facilities.  Her flyer has a photograph of an Asian woman with the doll that she made in that playful style.  What a lovely tribute.






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