71-year-old Bonnie Ziskin’s colorful, whimsical glass art brings joy.

Photos courtesy Bonnie Ziskin

Viewers of Bonnie Ziskin’s sculptural artwork can sense she’s happy.

Her projects — whimsical glass faces, mixed media abstractions and glass tableware — express a bright mood through both color and design.

Ziskin, 71, first expressed her artistic instincts last year, after home projects expanded into art fair displays juried into some 10 events, all with the travel help of her husband, Alan, a retired clothing manufacturer.

Ziskin makes her debut trip to Michigan, appearing July 27-28 at the Orchard Lake Fine Art Show in West Bloomfield.

While her two children were young, she worked as an accounting assistant. At 57, when her husband became a golf enthusiastic, she went back to school in preparation for surgical nursing.

“We spend part of the year in Minneapolis and part of the year in Naples, Fla.,” Ziskin says. “Our Florida home was decorated with white walls and white leather furniture, and I decided we needed some color but didn’t want to pay a lot. I was confident I could do some colorful artwork myself, and now I can’t stop.”

Ziskin learned glass techniques at a workshop, bought supplies and mapped out her ideas in two studios, one in each of the cities where she lives. While her overall themes are whimsical, she often has a small Jewish star or chai included.

Bonnie Ziskin art

These began after the Pittsburgh synagogue shootings as she wanted to assert her religious devotion. “The star and the chai are there because that’s who I am,” she says.
Ziskin began showing her work four months after beginning projects, mostly to family but also at a country club, where there was an art display. The experience provided her first inkling that others liked what she was doing.

That success led to applications for juried shows. Patty Narozny, who produces and directs many art fairs beyond events in Naples and West Bloomfield, became Ziskin’s mentor and explained how to set up a booth. In West Bloomfield, she will be among some 130 diverse artists joined by food vendors and live musicians.

“I have small plates that sell at low prices for people who want to buy something but can’t afford the larger works,” says Ziskin, who also makes glass bowls as functional dining table centerpieces.


Ziskin, a member of the Women’s Cultural Alliance of the Jewish Federation of Greater Naples, says part of her courage to enter the art world came after two successful battles against lung cancer.

“I could try art because I no longer have a fear of failure,” she says. “People walk into my booth, leave with a smile and leave me with a smile. That means my mission is accomplished.”

The Orchard Lake Fine Art Show, Saturday-Sunday, July 27-28, at Powers and Daly roads along Orchard Lake Road, just south of Maple in West Bloomfield. $5 for those 14 and older to support the nonprofit Institute for the Arts & Education. (248) 684-2613. hotworks.org.



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