Art is useful and essential—for keeping us sane, uplifted, open to discovery, focused on the present, and confident to move forward. In troubling times, art prioritizes those things that are in our own hands and, to some extent, under our own direction. Art shows us our best selves. I create one-of-a-kind jewelry and small objects, especially wearable whistles that I think of as amulets, powered by metaphor. I sculpt directly with silver metal clay (pure silver or sterling), building and subtracting, and developing rich textures with special techniques I share with my students.
Donna Penoyer, an award-winning artist known affectionately as “The Whistle Lady,” has been working in precious metal clay (PMC) since 2005. Her whistle amulets and other jewelry pieces have appeared in multiple books, magazines, online sources, and exhibits, and she has taught hundreds of silver clay workshops throughout the U.S., England, and Belgium. Donna is an enthusiastic ambassador for the relatively new medium of metal clay and is proud to have achieved the level of Principal Instructor for the Camp PMC Certification Program. She has also enjoyed being featured several times on “Craftcast with Alison Lee,” creating a number of craft tutorials available through the Craftcast website. Besides her one-of-a-kind jewelry, Donna occasionally makes special pieces for contests and exhibits. Juried exhibitions have included the Pôle Bijou gallery in Baccarat, France; a world-touring show by the International Society of Glass Beadmakers, for which Donna collaborated with glass artist Darlene Durrwachter Rushing to make an astonishing silver-and-glass piece; and a solo show at WAX Jewelry Design Studio in Pittsburgh. Although she developed a spirited, over-the-top, 21-year career as a professional stiltwalker, these days Donna is pretty down-to-earth. She is an upbeat and welcoming teacher who believes there is a gleeful maker in everyone.