Wearing one of her hats, Sherry Lane is a teacher; that is how many people at the JCC of Central New Jersey got to know her. In another incarnation, she is a jeweler. In her bedroom-turned-studio in her home in Scotch Plains, Lane twists and shapes silver and sets gleaming stones and glistening vintage beads to create supremely feminine earrings, rings, and necklaces.
In that identity she is taking her place among the artisans displaying their works at the Sugarloaf Crafts Festival in Somerset, Oct. 26-28. In addition to jewelers, the show, now in its 38th year, showcases the work of nearly 250 sculptors, potters, glass blowers, photographers, clothing creators, furniture makers, and fine artists. Some of them continue their creating right there at the festival, demonstrating the processes they employ.
Lane began making jewelry for herself while she was teaching art at the JCC. Her fellow teachers, friends, and family members began asking her to make jewelry for them as well. In early 1999, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and while undergoing treatment she started taking her hobby more seriously. “I became aware of how important it was to spend one’s time doing what you love,” she said. “I enjoyed designing and producing my pieces so much that I decided to pursue it as a full time career.”
Since then, she has taken part in juried arts and crafts shows in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania, and some of her pieces are featured in NY and NJ boutiques. She said she particularly enjoys designing custom pieces for buyers, for special occasions like weddings or other memorable events. “I’ve done pretty well through this bad financial time,” she said. “My pieces don’t cost all that much and they’re not trendy, so people feel they can treat themselves to something special that will last.”