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2012-02-16

Turning tiny tiles into art - Sherry Hearn creates marvelous mosaics

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

Sherry Hearn started earning money with hand-crafts when she was a student at Bandera High School. We won't say how many years ago, but here's a clue- her craft was macramé!

"Joy Vawter [the home ec teacher] taught me how to do it and I was just fascinated. I made all these pot hangers and my dad took them to work with him at the highway department and sold them," she said.

"I thought, wow, I'm having fun and making money, too!"

Hearn has been creating beautiful things ever since in a variety of media. Her forte is mosaics, but she also does stained glass and polymer clay figurines. Her stained glass projects, however, are generally limited to "breaking the glass into pieces and turning them into mosaics."

Hearn says she may have inherited her artistic bent from her father, Clinton Oehler. "He worked for years as a cartoonist for the old San Antonio Light newspaper and then worked for the state for years as a professional photographer for the highway department," she explained.

When you are a self-employed artist, you have to be willing to do a lot of trial and error, said Hearn. "You can go with the trends, but you have to keep re-inventing yourself," she said. "It takes time to figure out your market."

Hearn's motivation lies in her sheer enjoyment of creating beautiful things. She is also motivated by color and texture. "I'm a color junky," she admitted. The response of her customers also encourages her to keep doing better. "I love seeing how happy one of my pieces makes a customer."

She also loves a challenge. Hearn's projects range in size from a few inches to wall sized murals. She created a fun beach scene at the entrance of Avalon Get-Away, a Lakehills event venue owned by James and Nancy MacMillan. "It's got palm trees, a bouy bobbing in the water, it turned out so good," she said. "Nancy had this antique perfume bottle and we put some sand in it, some bits and pieces and a little scroll of paper, the traditional message in a bottle, and inserted that into the mural."

Sometimes a project just comes together and exceeds Hearn's own expectations. "I amaze myself," she said, laughing.

Hearn sells her items in Bandera at 11th Street Mercantile, and in San Antonio at Homestead Crafts on Blanco Road and the Alamo Craft Company in Ingram Park Mall. Occasionally she holds sales shows in her home in Lakehills. Hearn also posts her items on the online crafter's site Etsy, where you can find her by searching for Sherry L Hearn.

Her best sellers are crosses made of a variety of materials, including her trademark mosaic stylings. She also takes custom orders. She has produced welcome signs for local businesses, bird baths and bird houses, fountains and other yard art for special gifts.

"One customer brought me three plates that belonged to her grandmother and I made her three birdhouses covered with the broken pieces for her children," said Hearn.

One of Hearn's most Bandera appropriate works are old guitars covered with mosaic tiles. They no longer make music, but the designs make the heart sing.

Her polymer clay figures also make popular gifts. Each brightly colored piece is unique. "My best seller is the Soldier in Fatigues ornament," said Hearn.

Hearn regularly teaches mosaic and polymer clay classes, both in her home and at Alamo Craft Company.
Hearn works in her home. "As the kids have moved out, my projects expand and move into their room," she admitted. "I've been told it's getting out of hand!"

For more information about Hearn's classes, or to place a custom order, contact her at

sherry.hearn@sbcglobal.net

or call 210-355-6318.



Pictured: Many businesses order custom welcome signs from Sherry Hearn.

Artist Sherry Hearn will cover almost anything that doesn't move with mosaic tiles. This colorful guitar features Americana and Western motifs.