Sheri McDonald had created art for anglers before. This year, her art officially became an honor when the Destin Fishing Rodeo purchased her glasswork to award tosome of the winners.
McDonald, who grew up spending her summers in Destin, made glasswork pieces for a friend who won the shark division at the rodeo in 2003 through 2005. However, this was the first year the Rodeo bought her work to use as the official award for the division.
As the wife of a charter boat captain, she has been making glasswork for a few years now. She said the surprise is one of her favorite parts of creating her work.
"I love opening the kiln. You're never quite sure what you're going to get, until you open the lid," McDonald told The Log.
In 2006, an unfortunate turn of events took McDonald out of the full-time workforce. She was rear-ended by a drunk driver, and developed fibromyalgia ó a sometimes-debilitating syndrome that causes body-wide pain in the joints, muscles and tendons. After that, she began to focus on her art, which includes glasswork, paintings and jewelry.
But another pair of unavoidable disasters soon put a hold on that aspect of her life as well.
"I built a kiosk behind Fisherman's Wharf. I was open 10 days and the oil spill hit. So I lost my business there," McDonald said.
To cover the expenses of health insurance, McDonald began selling Mary K cosmetics. Then, in the summer of 2012, a family tragedy struck, leaving McDonald to take in four of her granddaughters in September 2012. That gave her a total of five grandchildren in her full-time care.
"They were with me up until school started (this year). During that whole time, I didn't do anything but take care of kids, and sell Mary K," McDonald said. "It took me up until now to really get back into the art shows and production."
Now, she works at A1 Charters, her husband's business, helping with the business and book-keeping during the busy months on the harbor. She also sells her artwork from A1 Charters small building on the harbor, behind the former Electric Cowboy building, and takes part in all the local art festivals.
With this year's busy tourism and fishing season past, McDonald is now offering private glasswork and jewelry-making lessons at her home studio. The work is difficult and expensive, so those who are not passionate about glasswork are quickly weeded out, McDonald said.
"You will cut yourself. A lot of people do not like that," McDonald said.
To contact McDonald about signing up for art lessons, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 240-1758.