As a mother/daughter-owned business, we love celebrating the artwork and relationships of fellow mother/daughter pairs, and this month’s featured vendor spotlight goes to mother and daughter artists, Cathy and Hannah Frank!
An artist since childhood
There is a running joke in Cathy’s family that every family member on her mother’s side was either a dentist or a jeweler - Cathy chose both! Growing up in Squirrel Hill, she was a very artistic and creative kid, always finding ingenious ways to solve problems and make things work. She first discovered her love of jewelry-making in a jewelry class at Taylor Allderdice High School, and after realizing that this practice was the one to which she wanted to devote her life, she went on to study metalsmithing and art education at the State University of New York - New Paltz.
After finishing college and moving back to Pittsburgh, Cathy took a job as a cosmetic dental assistant, a role that she came to love over her 8 years there. It, in part, fulfilled her artistic itch, as she got to assist the doctor with choosing colors for fillings and crowns.
Cathy's PENS ornament is available for purchase here.
During this time, she still remained committed to her jewelry-making and teaching practices as well, teaching classes at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and setting up a home office in which she could practice her craft. In 1991, when she became pregnant with her son Jason, Cathy left dentistry and decided to fully pursue art as her profession. She continued working in her home studio, creating some of her early collections, including “Marble and Ice” and “Modern Traditions.” Four years later, while pregnant with Hannah, Cathy was a vendor at 25 different craft shows… it only made sense that the art bug would be passed on to her daughter!
A jeweler is born
Cathy knew that Hannah would be an artist from the time she was a toddler. “Shortly after she could crawl, she put a roll of masking tape on her wrist and admiringly held out her new bracelet for inspection.”
Make someone smile with these very happy earrings, available here.
Hannah recalls that when she was about four years old, Cathy would set up craft projects in her home studio, including a chromatography activity where they used magic markers to color on coffee filters and then sprayed them with water to see how the colors diffused. Starting in elementary school, Cathy started teaching Hannah how to use art materials ranging from a jeweler’s saw to linoleum printmaking equipment. Hannah was learning the basics of jewelry-making at the age when she was learning grammar and times tables, and so the practice became as essential and natural to her as were the fundamentals of language and math. At age 11, Hannah became the youngest person to ever sell their work in the Gallery Shop at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. By high school, jewelry-making was Hannah’s most beloved hobby and, importantly, form of therapy and release. She had the distinct privilege of having her own work desk set up in Cathy’s home studio, which gave them the shared opportunity to create work side-by-side (and sing along to a lot of Ben Folds and the Lovin’ Spoonful!).
Yinz love this ornament as much as we do? Buy it here!
Cathy meets Songbird Artistry
Through the years, Cathy’s work has been featured in numerous craft and fashion magazines. She was awarded the first place prize in Amaco’s 2010 CHA Competition for best butterfly-themed piece. She sells her work at several stores across the country and was the 2016 Palmer Museum of Art Commission Artist in State College, PA. She was introduced to Debbie and Songbird Artistry in 2020, by a mutual friend, and was touched by Debbie’s story, philosophy of giving back, and her stunning work. She immediately knew that her word ornaments, Christmas and Hanukkah jewelry, and Pittsburgh-themed work would be a great fit for the store’s eclectic catalog of vendors.
Beautiful lotus pins available here.
Hannah sells her handmade polymer clay jewelry at a selection of shops as well, with Songbird Artistry being her most recent addition. This past summer, she was a vendor at her largest show to-date, and Cathy (and her husband Steve) got to stop by to visit Hannah at her booth. Cathy and Hannah’s relationship is a special one, and their shared love of art is a big part of that. They are honored to be a part of the Songbird Artistry family and to share their work with all of you!