This year, HCCC is proud to present Arts & Education, a silent auction of jewelry, sculpture and objects inspired by HANDS-ON HOUSTON (HOH), a free craft-making event open to families and visitors of all ages on the first Saturday of every month.  Over the past decade, more than 10,000 people have enjoyed learning an artistic process and creating their own objects to take home.

Wondering how professional artists would interpret kid-friendly projects (ranging from faux-enamel pendants to ceramic bowls), HCCC invited 10 artists to reference a past HOH activity for inspiration and do what they do best—create!

Preview the surprisingly clever and beautiful results of their works here, and, if you wish to place a bid or purchase a piece at the Buy It Now price, contact Suzanne Sippel at or 713-529-4848 x 202.  All proceeds benefit educational programming at HCCC.

See the items in person at the Crafting a Legacy Spring Luncheon, on May 16th

Corey Ackelmire, Bluebonnet Pendant
Silver, enamel on copper; 18 inches
Inspired by: Silk Painting
Value: $600
Opening Bid: $240
Buy It Now: $800


Metalsmith Corey Ackelmire’s work deals with the manipulation of familiar objects, either to communicate a narrative, or to make a comment on how these objects function both practically and symbolically in our culture.  Corey explains, “The objects that surround us function as a language that informs our lived experiences, ideals and fantasies.  We impart meaning to the objects in our lives through use, memory and fascination.”

Corey referenced Silk Painting, an activity in which participants created beautiful greeting cards by painting on silk, using the resist technique. Corey decided to “paint” her artwork by creating a lovely enameled pendant inspired by the bluebonnets of Texas.

Virginia Bally, The Visitor
Stoneware; 11 x 1 ¾ inches
Inspired by: Ceramic Bowls
Value: $200
Opening Bid: $80
Buy It Now: $250


Influenced by diverse cultural heritages, ceramist Virginia Bally works primarily in a style of modern majolica, low-fired stoneware. Virginia is inspired by the beauty and diversity of the oceans, the American Southwest, Asia (particularly Japan), botanicals, and even her own backyard.

Virginia referenced Ceramic Bowls, an activity inspired by the annual Empty Bowls event at HCCC.  Participants created bowls from clay slabs and plaster moulds and embellished them with stamps, clay sprigs, and colored slips.

Christina Carfora, Fly, Swim, Waddle
Terracotta, wood; 11 ½ x 9 x 4 inches
Inspired by: Handmade Wooden Toys


Using ceramics and mixed media, Christina Carfora creates narrative sculptures that explore the mind and human relationships. She begins each piece by deciding on the title. Then, she creates sketches to decide which visuals communicate the narrative. Christina pays particular attention to subtle nuances in the face or posture of the piece and communicates her story through these details.

Christina referenced Handmade Wooden Toys, an activity in which participants attached wheels to wooden cars and decorated them using race-car decals and colored sharpies. Christina created her own pull toy from clay and wood—using her iconic Dodo bird as the subject.

Jeff Forster, Bedazzled Gourds Abstract
Stoneware, acrylic gemstones, thread, embroidery hoop; 29 x 15 x 9 ½ inches
Inspired by: Gourd Brooches
Value: $1,500
Opening Bid: $600
Buy It Now: $1,700


Besides the reference to geologic time, the ceramic object brings with it a connection to human time. Serving as documents of early peoples, these objects mark definite periods of time and specific cultures, making evident the extinction of entire civilizations.  All of these concepts compose ceramic sculptor Jeff Forster’s working ideology. Exploiting the living qualities of natural materials, Jeff enjoys watching and documenting the passage of time.

Jeff referenced Gourd Brooches, an activity in which participants created a unique brooch by wrapping a gourd star with embroidery floss and embellishing it with acrylic gemstones.  Jeff chose to do a fun and quite literal interpretation of the project.

Jan Harrell, Eyeshadow Container & Make-Up Brush – The Muse Series
Enamel on copper with “Chore Boy” woven-copper inlay; 8 x 5 inches
Inspired by: Finger-Knitting Fun!
Value: $1,900
Opening Bid: $760
Buy It Now: $2,100


The Muse Series of enameled sculpture by Jan Harrell contains objects for the environment of a larger-than-life persona—a muse. This bawdy and joyful goddess embraces life to its fullest and grabs a bit more when she gets the chance. Jan’s amalgamation of found objects and fabrications produces an unconventional yet decidedly feminine design and palate. Her use of expanded scale and rusted patinas contrasts nicely with the delicacy and lushness of her enamel surfaces.

Jan referenced Finger-Knitting Fun!, an activity that allowed visitors to make a winter wooly scarf using only their fingers. A metalsmith by trade, Jan made the activity her own by incorporating knitted copper wire into her enamel work for texture.

Paris F. Jomadiao, Vertebrae
Paper, metal wire; 30 x 4 x 2 inches
Inspired by: Bookbinding


Paris Jomadiao uses the process of cut paper as a means of creating illustrations.  She combines this technique, along with a variety of other processes and media, to create mixed-media collage and installations. A background in digital media allows Paris to further utilize her artworks in creating stop-motion animations and short experimental films.

Paris referenced Bookbinding, an activity in which visitors learned how to create their own accordion-style notebook or mini-sketchbook using traditional methods. While she explored the possibilities of these methods, Paris incorporated humor into her project, as she built her “spine” mobile.

Robert Thomas Mullen, Untitled
Walnut, enamel paint, found branch, brass, jade, mammoth tusk; 9 feet
Inspired by: Hand-Enameled Pendants & Ornaments
Value: $800
Opening Bid: $320
Buy It Now: $1000


Metalsmith Robert Thomas Mullen’s work is highly influenced by his current local environment and culture, as well as places he visited on family trips from his childhood. “My jewelry is a way for me to materialize the world I have experienced. I can take my environment and hold it in my hand, allowing me to better understand my surroundings.”

Robert referenced Hand-Enameled Pendants & Ornaments. In this activity, participants chose their own pendant shape and sifted enamel onto the metal in a color of their choice. Robert treated the wood with the same care as an enamellist, creating a gorgeous modern, yet classic, necklace.

Mary Rogers, Vortex Series #7
22K gold, recycled and hand-drawn silver wire,
construction debris, lead type, CZ; 18 inches
Inspired by: Found-Object Pendants
Value: $800
Opening Bid: $320
Buy It Now: $1,000


Metalsmith Mary Rogers focuses on creating contemporary, yet classic, jewelry that is personal within a wearable format. The challenge of creating unexpected but distinctive work led her to develop a palette of unusual metal choices, allowing her to explore pattern, color and form.

Mary referenced Found-Object Pendants, an activity inspired by contemporary jewelry in the 2007 exhibition, Women’s Tales: Four Leading Israeli Jewelers. The project was outside of her usual aesthetic, but she enjoyed the challenge, saying, “We all have to stretch sometimes.”

Olga Starostina, Untitled
Leather, recycled aluminum, thread; 7 x 4 x ½ inches
Inspired by: Faux-Enamel Pendants
Value: $550
Opening Bid: $220
Buy It Now: $600


Jewelry artist Olga Starostina often combines aluminum with other cast-off materials that are “seeking a second chance.”  She acquires leather items, such as handbags, coats and boots, from local thrift stores.  When she marries leather with aluminum, the two materials are transformed and, together, assume a different role and identity.

Olga referenced Faux-Enamel Pendants, an activity in which participants used a simulated enamel technique on metal foil to create colorful pendants to wear as a brooch or badge. Olga’s brooch, with its bright spots of red and orange, is a striking piece for any season.

Miguel Unson, Evidence of Habitation
Glass frit, metal stand; 18 x 18 inches
Inspired by: Textured Clay Tiles
Value: $2,000
Opening Bid: $800
Buy It Now: $2,200


Houston artist Miguel Unson describes his glass as, “a silent exchange between traditions that may never have collided, reflecting a distant past that may never have occurred, uncovering relics that may never have existed.” Exploring classical traditions by blurring the space between them, his goal is to delight the eye and baffle future archaeologists. “I’m making artifacts for the future.”

Miguel referenced Textured Clay Tiles, an activity in which visitors created a one-of-a-kind trivet, tray or charm from a tile of clay. Through a process of firing, turning and re-firing, Miguel brought his unique style to the project by creating a large glass tile with intriguing visual textures and depth of color.

All photos by HCCC.