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Meet Bonnie and Joe Masslofsky of “Flaherty House Specialities” – February Artists of the Month
Flaherty House began as a bed and breakfast owned and operated by Bonnie and Joe Masslofsky. She had been in the graphics and publishing world and Joe was a computer engineer before anyone had heard of a PC when they decided to leave the corporate world and become innkeepers. As B&B owners they restored a grand Victorian gem while providing modern amenities and gourmet breakfasts. After 10 years of ownership they sold the property but decided to remain in the innkeeping profession, this time as managers of other inns.
That brought them to the Eastern Shore of Maryland and St. Michaels. Because the final inn that they managed had very small manager’s quarters, Joe had to give up his hobby of wood working and sold his power tools. However, he still needed a hobby outside of innkeeping, so Bonnie signed him up for a class making jewelry from precious metal clay.
Thus began an adventure into the world of jewelry making. At first he made pieces from precious metal clay which had to be fired in a kiln. He then discovered a love of pearls and found a jeweler to mentor him in making jewelry from semi-precious gem stones.
During this time on the Shore they had been picking up pieces of Sea Glass wherever they walked the beach. This led to a friendship with a new mentor who encouraged him to begin wire wrapping the glass as pendants for necklaces. It took several years to develop his own style of wrapping.
Throughout this evolution Joe would ask Bonnie her opinion of pieces that he would create. As with many spouses the suggestions came freely, so Joe told her she better start designing necklaces and bracelets herself.
The adventure continued with a trip to an emerald mine in North Carolina in the spring of 2013. They came home having mined raw stones (emeralds, garnets, amethyst, sodalite, obsidian, quartz, saphires and rubies). After teaching himself to cut, tumble and shape the new stones they now create a new line of gemstone jewelry. They have learned that the beauty of some stones lies in the intensity of their opaque coloration.
The adventure continues in their home studio in Easton with Joe cutting, shaping and polishing stones while Bonnie uses her own designs to wire wrap each unique piece.