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Known as “The Whistle Lady,” Donna Penoyer is an award-winning jewelry artist and master instructor, working in metal clay since 2005.


Donna was inspired to learn everything about metal clay after seeing photos of Celie Fago’s work in 2002. She ate up jewelry books and magazines but didn’t dare to try metal clay until 2005, when she leapt directly into a certification class. Donna has passed several certifications in the Camp Metal Clay, PMC Connection, and Rio Grande programs and has studied under many amazing jewelry artists in all sorts of exciting media.


Donna believes in the creative power of play, and her whistles are purely for joy and metaphor. Her whistle amulets and other jewelry pieces have appeared in multiple publications, including Robert Dancik’s Amulets and Talismans, Sherri Haab’s The Art of Metal Clay, Hattie Sanderson’s Contemporary Metal Clay Rings, and all five volumes of PMC Guild Annual: Exceptional Work in Precious Metal Clay.


Donna’s whistle ring “Journey Companion” was chosen for a book cover, and a companion piece, “Journey Below,” was awarded Best of Show in an exhibit at Purdue University. Juried exhibitions have included the Pôle Bijou gallery in Baccarat, France; a world-touring, collaborative exhibit via the International Society of Glass Beadmakers; and a solo show at WAX Jewelry Design Studio in Pittsburgh’s chic Shadyside neighborhood.


Donna has been fortunate to have taught at Hadar Jacobson’s studio in Berkeley, CA, Tracey Spurgin’s Craftworx in East Yorkshire, England, Inge Verbruggen’s studio in Belgium, and the very first SINTER conference held by AMCAW in 2022. Other teaching credits include Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Contemporary Craft, Touchstone Center for Crafts, the Bead & Button Show, Metal Clay Mojo, Metal Clay Artists’ Symposium, and of course Camp Metal Clay. Besides teaching in-person workshops, Donna has recorded several online videos on Alison Lee’s CRAFTCAST.  


Besides her career as a stiltwalker, since 2006 Donna’s main love has been teaching metal clay. She believes there is a gleeful maker in everyone, and she strives to create a safe and happy atmosphere for students to try new things. Although any creative journey involves making mistakes, Donna is happy to share her own so that students can avoid her failures! Just doing is winning!

Camp Metal Clay Instructor
Certified to teach:
    Course 101
    Soldering & Fusing Course 103
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Donna Penoyer

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