Creative Play

Creative Play

One year ago a delightful workshop with the New England Mosaic Society. I am deeply grateful for their support in helping me develop another chapter with the PinchPals movement. Nice to know these folks have my back!

Click here to see art works on Instagam.

If you are reading this you are probably aware that PinchPals come from a deeply personal place for me. I have been creating these little characters for years, and often incorporate them in my art-works and teaching.

When I first began studying studio arts I was immediately drawn to creating with clay. It was then I first started making these little clay characters… forward, sometime around 2004 I began transitioning my career from the television and film business to making my way as a full-time art educator and studio artist. Fortunately for me, I landed in the world of contemporary mosaic art and enthusiasts. In this community, I have found an abundance of kindness.

To you my mosaic art tribe, thank you for your continued support. Those little clay characters are still being created, and their story is one of kindness and connection.

Workshop Process

 The idea to offer a workshop to the NEMS membership was hatched after being a guest lecturer at a NEMS meeting in 2019. NEMS member Emily Bhargava and I corresponded about mosaics and I shared my PinchPals idea with her, she enthusiastically asked “how can we help”? I hatched a plan to lead a complimentary mosaic workshop asking NEMS members to help create a collection of art-works in the spirit of the PinchPals. This was an opportunity for me to tie together my love of teaching, mosaics, and the PinchPals.

Prior to the workshop, everyone received their own PinchPal and a surprise bag of goodies with a variety of mosaic materials including smalti, art glass, millefiori, and a touch of gold. The choice to incorporate PinchPal imagery, or the complementary materials in the finished artwork was optional. Some students requested an additional PinchPal.

The class meetings included lectures about countless aspects of mosaic theory, process and sharing of works in progress. Robust discussion and a supportive environment ensued.


Lee Berman

Lee Berman “I Found Empathy” used the symbol of Empathy as a point of departure, the idea of the PinchPals representing equity and empathy.

Cheryl Cohen’s “Heartfelt Gift” is joyful and tender.

Emily Bhargava’s reflection on her work “Hug” expressed her experience of Covid, “During Covid I’ve felt limited and stretched at the same time…..There are so many days when all I want is a hug.”

And from Corinne McKeown “I would love to see PinchPals become a well-known and popular tesserae selection for members of NEMS and artists everywhere”.

Artists Statements and the Art work

Corinne McKeown

Corinne McKeown “Something Wonderful is Going to Happen”  “If ever there was a time for PinchPals, today is it.  These adorable little creatures are delightful and you can only feel delighted when you see and touch one!  Today more than ever people are needing a lift (whether they know it or not) and a gesture such as incorporating PinchPals in your artwork or giving a PinchPal to someone you appreciate is a great way to spread a little joy in the world and bring focus to positive ideas like compassion and caring and supporting each other.

It was an excellent exercise to consider the positive ideals that PinchPals represent as inspiration for artwork.  I learned so much in this class with Bonnie (what an excellent, knowledgeable, responsive and encouraging teacher) and was thrilled to experiment with new techniques in my mosaic making!  I would love to see PinchPals become a well-known and popular tesserae selection for members of NEMS and artists everywhere.

I’d love to see PinchPals become as popular as ‘an angel in your pocket’ novelty. Today I am going to give a PinchPal to a stranger -and it will bring joy to at least two people.  I think I’ll tell them to pass it on! ”


Cheryl Cohen

Cheryl Cohen “Heartfelt Gift” “During these challenging times, it felt good to have the PinchPals  as a springboard, which represent goodness, caring, sharing and other kind attributes, and  it pushed me to think outside of my typical box.  In addition, Bonnie’s is very generous, sharing her depth of knowledge about mosaics.  I’d highly recommend the class”!



Kim Stewart

“Play” “My project is based on the words connection and playfulness.  The daily routine of walking my dog through the fields of Vermont has been a godsend and this piece reflects the approach of the fall season; perhaps the most beautiful season in Vermont given the changing colors.  Connection with my dog and the opportunity to play with him is a welcome respite from the anxiety surrounding COVID”.


Emily Bhargava

“Hug” “During Covid I’ve felt limited and stretched at the same time.  Limited in my ability to leave the house, to visit friends, to spend time with relatives, and to relax.  And at the same time I’ve felt stretched in so many ways.  Trying to listen to my children while also hearing my colleagues’ comments on zoom, trying to pull enough work hours out of a week that’s already filled to the brim and trying to be present for family and friends without actually being in the same space.  There are so many days when all I want is a hug.  Working with Bonnie and other NEMS members on this Pinch Pals project gave me just what I needed; an adorable and meaningful focus for the work, an engaged group of classmates to learn with and learn from, a time set aside for creativity, a generous and patient teacher, and the luxury of taking a class instead of teaching one.  After playing with the amazing materials that Bonnie sent, I saw how well two of my pinch pals fit together in a hug and I knew that their hug was what I needed. It’s also what my kids need and what so many of us need right now.  I hope that this piece can be like a virtual hug for anyone who needs one”.

Joanne Parah Teiter


“Hand of Hope” I so enjoyed my time working with Bonnie and the PinchPals”.

1 Comment
  • Bonnie
    Posted at 19:58h, 28 September Reply

    An update! Celebrating an anniversary.

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