Sculptor, Kinetic Creator, And Fine Artist Debbie Lee Mostel Shares Her Quirky New “Wonder Sponge” Bringing Delight To Our Chores

Debbie Lee Mostel is a science-based thinker/designer/artist who sees wonder in every drop of water and behind every blade of grass.  Her awards for kinetic designs, art-in-public places commissions, forward-looking  jewelry, sculptures, and paintings all point to her drive for innovation. Her inventive nature and lack of tolerance for wastefulness has culminated in “Debbie’s Wonder Sponge”!  Debbie shows us how to take the drudgery out of cleaning up a mess by adding her unique twist of creativity.  The Rickie Report shares the details and photos here while we marvel at this serious artist’s unending capacity for joy, humor and practicality!






Debbie Lee Mostel’s training with master goldsmith Ellen Broker and master silversmith Hans Christensen of Denmark gave her the base for transforming her creative ideas into solid businesses. Early in Debbie’s career, after a stint at Tiffany’s, she formed her own company. Her work in the wholesale jewelry business brought her acclaim with designs being carried by Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Henri Bendel, and Saks Fifth Avenue. Her jewelry was seen in many Richard Avedon fashion photographs. Debbie has sold her one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry (many made from lamp worked glass she created) at the prestigious juried Annual Palm Beach Fine Craft Show.




Debbie Lee Mostel’s Wonder Sponges!




Debbie tells The Rickie Report, “I’m the type of artist/designer that thrives on exploring new mediums. Like the shark…I have to keep moving. My formal education started with Metal and Glass, decades later I found myself in a fruitful career of painting and sculpture as well.  My sense of curiosity is what I thrive on, exploring new mediums and continually growing as an artist”.










TRR:  Your formal education (BFA California College of the Arts and Pratt Institute in New York) began in metal and glass, under the tutelage of glass visionary Marvin Lipofsky (student of Harvey Littleton) and included workshops with Dale Chihuly. You have a fruitful career that has incorporated painting, sculpture, and kinetics! Most of us know you as a fine artist who has garnered awards and accolades to fill albums.  What brought you to designing a sponge?


So remember that floor mop in the form of slippers? Good concept but ugly and inconvenient. Enter my beautiful sloppy dog named Lucky. He drinks from his bowl, slobbers down his chin, drips all over the house and looks at me, and says “Mom help, I’m a mess. My face is wet, the floor is an embarrassment, what can you do?” After years of exhaustingly wasting paper towels, bending, and wiping,  I thought of that slipper and said to myself “ I can design something better. Something easy to use, cost-effective, and aesthetically appealing”.



Debbie Lee Mostel’s Wonder Sponges!



TRR:  Taking spinning VCR motors, trap doors, wind-up toys, and even a Slinky, you caught the attention of Tom Shadyac, director of many Jim Carey movies with one of your Globe series.  Please take us through your process with these sponges.




After months of trial and error, I came up with Debbie’s Wonder Sponge. Friends and neighbors all wanted one (or two), so I introduced the Sponge at trade shows where I exhibit my Designer Jewelry. When I demonstrated the sponges on a piece of linoleum, they started flying out the door!








TRR: In between exhibits, you worked for Tom Matthews, an event planner in Palm Beach as their Resident Artist creating hanging light sculptures at Mar a Lago and mosaic topiaries for the Surf Club. You’ve created specialty environments for the Flagler Museum, Breakers, Brazilian Court, and Colony Hotel, to name a few. Debbie’s Wonder Sponges ARE clever and pretty.  How have people reacted?





The only complaint I’ve gotten so far is that some people think they are too pretty to get dirty. Nonsense! It’s functional art.  Now customers are buying 6 or 8 at a time to give as gifts.

Debbie’s Wonder Sponge! “You’ll wonder how you lived without it!”

Don’t waste money on paper towels for all those little clean-up needs.

Machine wash and dry. Handpainted with acrylic fabric paint so will NEVER run, fade or crack.

A functional piece of little art that helps you enjoy a happy, healthy home.

Leave it by the sink for a quick cleanup of water spots then spray a little disinfectant on the counter and WOOSH…happy and healthy.

Leave it on the floor, step on it and PUSH!!!!…water spots and spills instantly gone. From water dispenser to sloppy dog!




Debbie Lee Mostel’s Wonder Sponges!



TRR:  Where are you selling them?

DLM:  On my Etsy site – and shipping is free!



More about Debbie Lee Mostel:

 The Norton Museum of Art has featured Debbie in their Art After Dark series. She is a member of National Association go Women Artists (NAWA), Lighthouse ArtCenter, Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, and Artists of Palm Beach County.







For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher   561-537-0291

17019 SW Sapri Way   Port St. Lucie, FL 34986

Karen Kennedy Offers “Kumihimo Leather Braided Bracelet” Class At “Make & Take” On January 8th

Karen Kennedy, local jewelry maker, is offering a NEW CLASS at Clay Glass Metal Stone Gallery for a “Make And Take” event on Monday, January 8th.  Create a leather Kumihimo braided bracelet with a hand made hammered steel clasp (made by Karen). This traditional Japanese technique of braiding strands of fibers (silk, leather, etc.) creates intricately colored cords. The ancient weaving method was utilized by the Samurai to create the laces for their armor and battle gear!  You can incorporate beads into the weave, making the possibilities of designs endless! Reservations are a MUST. Pay in advance and get a discount!  The Rickie Report shares the details and some sneak peeks of Karen’s work.  She will also be selling pieces of her jewelry at the Gallery.



K A R E N      K E N N E D Y

K  U  M  I  H  I  M  O     B  R  A  I  D  E  D     B  R  A  C  E  L  E  T

 “M  A  K  E    &    T  A  K  E”


  7 – 9 PM



15 South J Street    Lake Worth, FL


2 Step On-line Registration:

1.  Go to this link and make payment

2.  Email with name of artist and class you have paid for to:


Close-Up view of leather Kumihimo bracelet and hand made Hammered Steel Clasp by Karen Kennedy



This make ‘n take class will create a black and brown leather Kumihimo braided bracelet with a hammered steel clasp. During class you will learn basic skills of opening and properly closing jump rings, an 8-strand Kumihimo weave, and a demonstration of how to make a hammered steel clasp. Provided in the class fee are the leather, jump rings, and hammered steel clasps of different sizes and shapes (hand made by Karen) – tools will be provided. Feel free to bring your own, if you have them. We will make a weaving wheel from cardboard, or you may purchase a sturdier round Kumihimo weaving wheel for an additional $5.00.



Kumihimo Braided Bracelet with Hand Made Steel Findings by Karen Kennedy




Karen tells The Rickie Report, “I have always been creative and have a wide variety of skills. After I retired, I found myself caring for an elderly relative and unable to leave the house regularly, so I began looking for something that I could do at home and stumbled across the art of weaving chainmail and wire work. My chosen mediums are stainless steel and sterling silver. As much as I love the chainmail, it’s hard on my hands (literally bending steel!) and I began looking for something as beautiful, but softer! That’s when I found Kumihimo. Now I combine bits of wire work and chainmail with Kumihimo to create a unique, one-of-a-kind piece of wearable art”!



Close-Up view of leather strands used for a Kumihimo Weave by Karen Kennedy



” Having to work most of my life, I hold a Master’s Degree in Business. As a Client Manager and an award-winning business improvement specialist for International Business Outsourcing Consultants, I traveled internationally… But art was always my first love; I used different crafts and artistry to express my creativity. I’ve dabbled in drawing and oil painting, calligraphy and lettering, sewing and fabric art, and mosaics. Now, making jewelry, I have found my niche”. 



Close-Up view of silk strands used for a Kumihimo Weave by Karen Kennedy



“I began with wire work and chainmail, taking classes at a local beading store. Once I had the basics, I began self-teaching by using the Internet to find and take classes or follow tutorials. When I decided I needed to learn advanced techniques,  I took jewelry classes at the Boca Raton Museum Art School. I have an Etsy Store and I am an juried artist at the Flamingo Clay Glass Metal Stone Studio. I have taught small groups on basic wire skills and making bracelets, and college-level business classes”, Karen shares”.




For more information:




For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher   561-537-0291

17019 SW Sapri Way   Port St. Lucie, FL 34986


“One Woman” Features Glass Artist Irene Jalowayski At Artisans On The Ave Gallery

“One Woman” Exhibition features glass artist, Irene Jalowayski at Artisans On The Ave Gallery.  Artisans shows over 40 local artists who work in a variety of mediums. Irene is one of this gallery’s multi-talented artists who creates decorative and functional art with fused glass.  Her silver jewelry and Judaic items are distinctive, as are her newest creations in cast glass.  Irene’s work has been accepted into prestigious juried shows in Florida and you can find her most recent works at this Exhibition.  The Rickie Report has had a number of inquiries from readers and art patrons, asking for more details about this art medium.  Our interview with Irene gives you that information and some sneak peeks of her attractive creations!









Art Exhibit


Irene Jalowayski

Opening Reception:

Saturday, October 24, 2015

6:00 – 9:00 PM

This is a free event

Gallery Hours:

Open 7 days a week
Monday – Saturday 11 am – 9 pm
Sunday 11 am – 6 pm

Artisans On The Ave Gallery

630 Lake Avenue     Lake Worth, FL 33460

561-762-8162     561-582-3300




“What Were You Thinking?” by Irene Jalowayski




Toni Willey wrote, “At the Artisans On The Ave Gallery you will find :
Beautiful, original one of a kind pieces of art created by local Palm Beach County Artists with some of the most unique and eclectic imaginations that have ever come together under one roof. AWESOME!”

Irene  Jalowayski’s expertise is taking glass and visualizing a finished piece and then making each of her pieces by hand for the completed work of art. Her lovely silver and glass jewelry is considered by many as wearable art. Each creation is unique and one of a kind. A Florida native, Irene was raised in Miami, Florida but spent much of her adult life in California. She now lives in West Palm Beach and has her studio there.  All of her pieces can be washed with a gentle soap in water. The silver needs some silver polish and then a wash in warm water to clean it.





IreneJamber moon 300

IreneJblue round wave 300

“Amber Moon Necklace”                               “Blue Round Necklace”




Irene tells The Rickie Report, “As much as glass has become a major part of my life I did spend my adult career in a completely unrelated field. I am a licensed speech pathologist and have worked for over 30 years in private practice and hospitals.”




IreneJMon wine 300

Fused Glass and Wood Wine Holder

by Irene Jalowayski


The selection of home décor pieces including fused glass candlesticks, dishes, vases, Judaica menorahs and unique cast glass sculpture will enhance your home or business. Irene is an experienced artist with a true sense of style and vision. The variety of different shades and colors of glass she selects complements each one of a kind art designs. Her energy, passion, and dedication to her art gives Irene the title of “ONE WOMAN ARTIST” that she is so deserving of in her field among local glass and silver jewelry artists.





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“Green Wave Bracelet” by Irene Jalowayski








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“Blue Stem Bowl” by Irene Jalowayski



TRR: How did you begin creating with glass as your medium?




I chose to work with glass because I have always loved to look at it and to feel it. Long before I began to work with glass I was collecting it. My personal glass collection includes pieces by American, Italian and Swedish glass artists. Creating my own glass pieces has not stopped me from purchasing a beautiful piece of glass if I fall in love with it!




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“Star Crossed Lovers” by Irene Jalowayski


About 10 years ago, an artist friend of mine asked me if I would be interested in taking a glass fusing class in her community. Of course I said,” yes” and took to it like a duck takes to water!  I went faithfully for over five years to that weekly class.  I learned my basic skills and also found that I have an eye for color and design. Finally, after all that time I decided to purchase my own kiln and began to spread my wings taking classes at other venues.  I’ve been working with glass for almost eleven years and it has given me new life.




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“Jerusalem Seder Plate” by Irene Jalowayski




Creating glass jewelry allows me to bring something new and exciting into existence that is “wearable art”, utilizing the smaller pieces of glass from my studio. The colors of the glass radiate from necklaces, earrings and bracelets. My experience with fused glass and cast glass is now being translated into new styles of jewelry. Dichroic glass, filled with bits of sparkle, shadings and metallics is a very popular medium.





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Blue and Purple Dichroic Glass Candlesticks 

by Irene Jalowayski


TRR:  Describe the process of creating a piece of your glass work.




Creating a piece always begins with the search for an idea and then deciding, based on that, whether my creation would be best at a sculpture…a bowl… or what? If it is going to be a fused glass piece I usually draw the design on paper first.  Then I make some decisions about glass color and how I might cut the glass to make my design. Often I will cut my drawing up and use the pieces to trace my design onto the actual glass that I am going to use. Most of my pieces utilize a lot of small pieces of glass cut and put together, making my original design.




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“Mosaic Bowl” by Irene Jalowayski



Once all the glass is cut, it is glued onto a base and fired in the kiln for the first time. My first fuses are usually at 1380 degrees which gives the piece some texture. When the piece comes out of the kiln, I look at the piece to see if I am satisfied with it and see where I want to add dimension and color. Generally I add glass and fire my pieces at least two or three times.  The firing process takes  10-12  hours for larger pieces, especially when draping the glass, as in the vase below.  Jewelry pieces can only be fired once and take over 4 hours in the kiln itself.




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“Tall Red Vase” by Irene Jalowayski



Each piece needs a different firing  schedule. If the piece is to be slumped into a bowl or a platter or other shape it is only done after the above process is complete.  This vase (above) needed another firing for 14 hours, for example. 




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“Confetti Glass Vase” by Irene Jalowayski



Slumping is the process of taking a flat piece and melting it just enough so that is falls into a mold to create the shape that is desired. If my flat piece that I completed above is to be slumped, I choose the mold I am going to use. The mold must be coated with kiln wash and dried. Then the glass is place on top of it and is put into the kiln. In slumping the glass it is not melted but only softened enough that is falls into or around the mold. To do that the kiln is heated to around 1200 degrees. The kiln temperature is brought up slowly. Once the slumping has taken place the kiln temperature comes down slowly to anneal the glass. That will keep it from breaking after it comes out of the kiln. Between creating, firing, and slumping a fused glass piece can take up to a week to complete.




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Menorah by Irene Jalowayski


This year I started doing glass casting. That is a very different procedure than the ones I just mentioned. Once I have decided what I am going to make I create the piece in clay. The clay sculpture is then cast in plaster. During the two weeks it takes for the plaster mold to dry, I work on it to smooth the rough edges and make sure there are no cracks. After the mold dries, I fill it with the glass I have chosen and fire it in the kiln. The pieces I have been making are up to 15 inches tall and take 38 hours to fire in the kiln. The larger the piece, the longer the firing. Each cast piece takes two to three weeks from design to completion. Then the mold is broken away from the glass sculpture so it can never be used again.  The resulting piece of solid glass is just beautiful and substantial and always one-of-kind.





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“Angel Fish” Cast Glass by Irene Jalowayski





TRR: How do you recharge your creativity?



That is a hard question because it is never just one thing. In order to create something new and unique, I need to be relaxed and not terribly stressed. A walk on the beach by the water or at one of the preserves or a trip to an art show or a museum can help a lot.  I love to browse through art magazines to spark an idea. Sometimes it comes from something totally unexpected. I can be looking at some beautiful glass and then just think of an idea. For example,  I was at McMow Art Glass one day buying some supplies. Phil had a piece of Saturday glass in the window that looked just like the Caribbean Sea to me. I purchased it and made two pieces from it. Both were underwater scenes with fish, shells etc. That was what I thought of when I first saw the glass in the window. I still have one of the pieces at Artisans on the Ave. The other was recently sold.



IreneJblue cameo 300

“Blue Cameo”




                                         “Blue and Silver Bib” with Earrings

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“Black and Red Moon”


TRR: Where can art lovers find your work?


On October 24 I will be having a one woman show at Artisans on the Ave in Lake Worth. It will be from 6 to 9 pm. There will be wine and snacks. I will be there to meet and greet everyone so I hope lots of people can attend.


My work can be found at Artisans on the Ave at 630 Lake Ave, Lake Worth, McMow Art Glass on Dixie Highway and 7th St. in Lake Worth, and at Florida Craft Art on Central Ave. in downtown St. Petersburg. On the weekend of November 14 and 15, I’ll be participating in Artnado.  Check out my Etsy shop. Go to and then to PalmBeachArtGlass. I also have a web page:  or call 561 792 8788 or by email at
I take special orders. These may take a few weeks to create.






For more information about this Exhibit or other artists and Events at Artisans On The Ave, please contact:

Betty Wilson
Linda Manganaro





For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher

The Rickie Report

P.O.Box 33423

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420