ABINGDON, Va. — Trash to treasure takes on a whole new meaning for glass artist Bonnie Scott.
Scott recycles antique Mason jars into one-of-a-kind handmade glass beads to wear in jewelry or to adorn useful utensils.
Driving into town in her Mobile Glass Studio, the Salem, Virginia, artist recently spent a day at Holston Mountain Artisans, demonstrating glassmaking techniques and showcasing her craft, called Joyful Adornments.
Heating the glass is a rather cool process, she said. Scott must break the jars, preheat the pieces in a kiln and then melt them at 3,000 degrees while reshaping the molten glass with hand tools at the torch.
Scott has been a member of the Abingdon artist cooperative since 2018, where she exhibits a large variety of her flamework glass beads. She is a new member of the Southern Highlands Craft Guild in Asheville, North Carolina.
A glassmaker for 15 years, the artist recently became fascinated with the old blue and green jars when one of them broke in her studio, inviting her to play with the colorful glass just for the fun of it.
“Now, I can’t make the jar jewelry fast enough,” she said.
This year, she used the glass jars to develop 6- to 7-inch icicles, which are becoming a favorite among her customers. Currently, the icicles can only be purchased online and at shows. A list of shows in the region can be found on her website at www.joyfuladornments.com under Events.
The artisan believes the antique Mason jars speak to generations of people who value them for their keepsake qualities.
“It’s a sentiment that carries over from generations, but people don’t necessarily use them. I don’t want the jars to end up in the dumpster, either,” she said.
“So, what’s happening is the older generation is letting go of the jars to the younger generation who don’t want them.
“Instead, we are transforming them into heirlooms to pass down.”
Using glass from the Mason jars, Scott makes earrings, zipper pulls, utensils, pendants, necklaces and more.
Her fascination with glass art began while she was living in the Finger Lakes region of New York in the hills surrounding Seneca Lake, where wineries are plentiful. Scott began by making custom jewelry pieces for brides from their recycled event bottles. She also made wine bottle jewelry for the wineries.
In 2004, Scott took private flamework lessons and has continued with instruction from a variety of internationally known teachers who visit The Studio at the Corning Glass Museum in upstate New York, near where she lived until 2017 before moving to Virginia.
“I have fallen in love with the process — creating, selling and teaching the craft,” she said.
“When the finished pieces are worn, they create a human connection to the energy of the jar history and the personal story of the recipient or gift-giver.
“There is no greater reward for my work than personal connection.”
Her work can be seen at Holston Mountain Artisans at 214 Park St. Visit the website at www.holstonmntartisans.org for hours of operation, or call 276-628-7721.
Scott conducts group demonstrations, private lessons, events and parties. For more information, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll-free at 1-800-517-6440.