Tag Archives: New Jersey

Nancy DuBois: studio artist

Nancy DuBois: Studio Artist 


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Nancy DuBois shows the studio button she made for the NJSBS Diamond Anniversary. To her right is the quilt square, The Salem Oak, that she made for the NJSBS Silver Anniversary Quilt.

anniversary button“I like the challenge of doing something odd or different or pretty or unusual– it’s the joy of actually making things,” says Nancy DuBois. Though she rarely makes multiples, she accepted the commission to design and craft 30 NJSBS Diamond Anniversary buttons to be delivered on May 7. The base is a size medium Pinna Nobilis shell with an inserted metal shank. The main design of a goldfinch sitting on a red oak branch with leaves and acorns has been scrimshawed in 24-carat metallic gold. (Scrimshaw is the age-old art of scratching or carving line designs into the surface of natural materials, then rubbing pigment into the indentations.) The tiny violet was flameworked, done by melting colored glass in a hot flame produced by a torch and shaped it to the desired configuration. The goldfinch, branch, leaves and acorns was surface tinted with a yellow, brown and green paint and then sealed. A Swarovski Crystal  recognizes the anniversary. Each button back includes an engraved design number, log number, date, signature with Nancy’s seal design, and the words “New Jersey State Button Society 75 years 1941-2016.” Another Swarovski Crystal finishes the button.

When given some buttons by Massachusetts collector Eva Evans, Nancy started a charm string that now has nearly 700 interesting specimens; her favorites are diminutives. She began making studio buttons in the late 1980s, when Eva — knowing that Nancy did leather sculpting — asked if she could sculpt a tiny log cabin button. Nancy’s first encounter with the NJ button club was in Flemington. “I was so happy to find out that our state had a club,”  she remembers, “but I was nervous because I was showing up with a bunch of sculpted leather buttons to sell. I was so-o-o scared but when I got there, Gloria Chazin grabbed hold of me and introduced me to everyone and showed them my buttons! It was a great day! The next meeting, though, I paid for a table like I should.”

At present glass is Nancy’s main focus. She and her husband, Skip (also a noted paperweight artist), raise cattle and Muscovy ducks on their Salem County farm. When the Salem Community College Glass Education Center was built two miles away, Nancy joined her third child and youngest daughter, Emily, in the glass art program and earned dual degrees in glass and industrial design. Since Nancy now works at the Center, she can use the techniques of glass blowing, kiln casting, fusing, slumping, cold working, flameworking, and “pate de verre.” She also has her own flame working studio that she humorously named “Coop de Verre” because it looks like a chicken coop 

Nancy rarely has time to attend meetings, leaving it to Annie Frazier to sell her buttons.  Currently she is making glass-covered dresses for the Glass Art Society convention in Corning, New York, June 9-11.  Her work is in Antique and Collectible Buttons Vol II, by Debra J. Wisniewski, the late Jane S. Leslie’s reference book on studio button makers, and the second edition of the Big Book of Buttons. 

It’s been a busy spring, what with 14 mother cows calving and several hundred Muscovy ducks producing ducklings for the Asian restaurant market. “We let the hens sit all around the farm,” says Nancy. “Then we have to catch the baby ducks to put them under heat lamps to grow into adult ducks. Then they go to pens, where they have plenty of room, fresh water, and nonstop feed.”

Not surprisingly, birds are among her favorite subjects, along with fables (the more unusual, the better) and Kate Greenaway designs. The most unusual of her “one only” designs was a carved bungee jumper that could spring up and down.  Always on the go — that’s Nancy Dubois.2016 spring dubois buttons

NJ makes “worst 10” list

According to this survey by 24/7 Wall St. New Jersey ranks 43 out of 50 on the bad list. What does this mean for Governor Christie’s presidential ambitions?

And I quote:

43. New Jersey
> Debt per capita: $7,287 (5th highest)
> Credit Rating (S&P/Moody’s): A+/A1
> 2013 unemployment rate: 8.2% (10th highest)
> Median household income: $70,165 (3rd highest)
> Poverty rate: 11.4% (8th lowest)

New Jersey is one of only a handful of states where debt exceeded the state’s fiscal 2012 revenues. The state reported $7,287 in debt per capita in fiscal 2012, among the highest figures nationwide. Due to its difficulties in maintaining a balanced state budget, Moody’s awarded New Jersey among the lowest ratings of any state, as well as a negative outlook. On the other hand, New Jersey residents are among the nation’s wealthiest. A typical household earned more than $70,000 in 2013, higher than the median household income in all but two other states. A typical New Jersey home was also worth well over $300,000 in 2013, versus the national median home value of $173,900. However, residents may not be as well off as they seem as the cost of living in New Jersey was 14% higher than the rest of the country in 2012, the third highest cost of living nationwide.

The reporters were   on 24/7 Wall St. 

Only Georgia,  Arizona, Kentucky, Rhode Island, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Illinois ranked lower than NJ, and  Pennsylvania was  #36.


Support ‘Ban the Box’ on June 13

ban box color

If a man serves time in prison, will he ever have the opportunity to compete for a job? Not likely, unless proposed legislation passes the State Senate. The  NJ Opportunity to Compete Act (S2586), otherwise known as Ban the Box, will be discussed Thursday, June 13.  It would let someone with a prior criminal record — who posed no threat to society — to apply for employment without having to disclose the record on the very first application. Time enough to reveal that in the interview. For more on how to support this legislation, click here.