For many years Helayne Cohen has been working with ceramics, creating attractive and functional dishes, vases, and more under the brand Birdsong Ceramics. A few years back, she started an offshoot business designing colorful beaded barrettes. Now Cohen has combined both talents with a new line of hand-sculpted keepsake bowls and wishing stones.
Cohen works for designer Stefanie Wolf, making jewelry and managing quality control of the imported beads that Wolf uses in her designs. Rather than discard the imperfect beads that are not up to Wolf’s standards, Cohen and Wolf collaborated on a project, in which the ceramicist melts beads onto pottery pieces to add a splash of color to tiny Treasure Bowls and oyster-shaped “sensory objects”.
The bowls, sculpted in either a round or a heart shape, are imprinted with the outline of the Vineyard. The melted Czech glass beads add an eye-popping touch of blue or green to the design. They can be used to stash jewelry, wrapped candies, beach pebbles, bits of sea glass, or other tiny treasures. The ceramic wishing stones, crafted from a mold made from an actual oyster shell, feature a splash of color from the melted beads. And they make perfect stress relievers.
“In my role managing quality control, I find the beads that can’t be used in the jewelry for one reason or another,” says Cohen. “I collect them and repurpose them. I love beading and this combines my love for beads and clay and also allows me to reuse something that would otherwise get overlooked.”
Helayne Cohen’s Treasure Bowls and Wishing Stones can be found exclusively at the Stefanie Wolf Design Store, 37 Circuit Ave, Oak Bluffs. Cohen sells her beaded barrettes and other ceramic items at the Vineyard Artisans Festivals.