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‘Crafting for a Cure’ Benefits Ovarian Cancer Research

Taking control through their craft.

All are touched by cancer, some more than others. Five Potomac women who met every week in a crafting group were devastated when one of their members was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. As an antidote to worrying and losing sleep while their friend was fighting the disease, they mobilized — and "Crafting for a Cure" was born. They started selling belt buckles, necklaces, earrings, and brooches — and donating all their profits for ovarian and gynecological cancer research.

They began crafting when their children left for college. Long-time friends, Danielle Slotkin and Carole Schulman took a class in pottery at Glen Echo and then formed a crafting group with mutual friends who liked art and crafts. Every Wednesday, Slotkin and Schulman met with Emilie Watzman, Terri Sorota and Melanie Bodie to learn a new craft, but more importantly, to talk, share happiness and sorrows, and support one another in every way.

"We never really meant to go into business," said Schulman. "It just happened. We were merrily learning how to make silk prints, jewelry, pottery, and infused glass — and then Emilie was diagnosed. She met Ruth Meltzer, who also had ovarian cancer and brought her into the group."

"We felt so helpless," said Slotkin. "We thought about what we could do to help our friends. We came up with the idea of "Crafting for a Cure" to provide more funding for research. We had been making all these wonderful crafts, and didn’t exactly know what to do with all of them. When we decided to sell them for the cause, our crafting became therapeutic. It was really about the process, not the product, although now we had a purpose."

Bodie commented that the group makes something out of nothing.

"It’s also about recycling," said Sorota. "We use buttons, old costume jewelry, beads and paper to decorate our items. They become one-of-a-kind wearable works of art. Everyone has her own style and medium, so each buckle, pin, bracelet or necklace is completely different."

Watzman is now a survivor, but Meltzer died this past year. The group has many memories of her, and often they include "Ruthie" stories in their conversations. She left them beads and other pieces to weave into their designs. Each piece is a tribute to her memory and her spirit.

"Crafting for a Cure" has been selling their wares at craft shows, home parties and through word-of-mouth. They would like to form a 501-C 3 non-profit, but no one wants to deal with the paperwork and applications. Shulman said, "None of us really want a business. We just like the joy of creating beautiful art and crafts. And now we are able to give back — and hopefully make a difference in finding a cure for ovarian cancer."

Everything is reasonably priced to sell. Belts are $45-$55, earrings are $15 - $20, pins are $35 and up, necklaces and bracelets start at $60, depending on the stones in the item. The group donates their entire profits after expenses for materials. Last year they donated over $2,000.

"We sold our buckles and jewelry at the WHC Sisterhood Boutique at the Bindeman Center last December," said Slotkin. "That was our most successful show, and we are hoping to participate in more boutiques and craft fairs this year. We would also like to start selling through home shopping parties."

To host a party, order jewelry or belt buckles, or to invite "Crafting for a Cure" to a craft show, contact Danielle Slotkin at 301-996-4516 or e-mail C20854@aol.com.