Instructor Biographies

William Holland School of Lapidary Arts


Gail Ferguson


Gail is a pioneering artist, working in both stonecutting and silver mountings. Trained in all levels of silversmithing, she has taken classes from Mack Thornton and Ralph Giehls, both of whom have extensive history in designing and producing Southwestern style jewelry. In addition, she has attended several silversmithing classes at William Holland in silver fabrication, stonecutting and casting. Her work has been exhibited at galleries, festivals and museums around Indiana, Arizona and North Carolina. The Fayetteville Art Council, Gallery 13 in Fayetteville, William Holland and the Prescott, AZ Veteran’s Affairs hospital have also exhibited her work. Her awards include a first place in the Indiana State Fair Professional Division (2004), a second place at the Indiana State Fair (2005) and a second place with the Disabled Veterans Display in Prescott (2007). She also won first place in Metalsmithing/Metalworking and Jewelry at the North Carolina State Fair in 2011 and 2012 and took first place in the Moore County Fair, Cumberland County Fair and Hokle County Fair in 2010, 2011, and 2012. She has taught cabochons, channel inlay, silversmithing and simple intarsia for her local gem and mineral clubs. Gail is currently a member of the SFMS and provides several volunteer hours teaching and promoting lapidary and jewelry making every year. It is a pleasure to watch students grow in their skills and advance in the lapidary arts.

[Back to Top]


Marji Ferrell

Stained Glass

Marji began artistic life as an art major in college, but decided that being a “starving artist” was not such a good idea, so she returned to college and became a nurse. She never gave up her love of art, however, and began taking stained glass lessons in the 1970s. Shortly after, she started taking jewelry lessons and was hooked. After moving to Florida, Marji opened a stained glass studio in Sarasota and in her spare time continued taking jewelry classes. In 2003, Marji and her husband relocated to Murphy, NC — just then miles from William Holland. Now retired, Marji is able to devote herself to the design and fabrication of custom jewelry and passing along her knowledge to others.

[Back to Top]


Betty Jane Fetvedt

Lampwork Beads

Betty’s fascination with glass brought her to a beginning lampwork class at William Holland in 2003. It was the first of many workshops and classes with a diverse array of talented artists. Betty’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in Convergence II, Surface, Indelible and Three x Two. Betty is a member of the ISGB. She teaches both for William Holland and for the Crafts Center at North Carolina State University. Contact Betty at:

[Back to Top]


John Fetvedt

Cold Connections

John, who retired from IBM in 2005, was introduced to chain making in 2003 at William Holland, and has since done extensive research on weave patterns. Several of his projects were published in the Lark book, Chain Mail Jewelry: Contemporary Designs from Classic Techniques, by Terry Taylor and Dylon Whyte (ISBN 1-57990-723-7). Art Jewelry and Wirework magazines have published many of his other projects. John began working with electroetching in 2010, with the goal of eliminating the caustic mordents normally used for etching metals and simplifying the electroetching process to make it safer for the home studio. Electroetching is much better for both the health and safety of the artist, and on the environment, than chemical etching. John also teaches chain making and electroetching at the Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee, WI and the Crafts Center at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. John’s mentors have included Mary Ann Scherr, Blaine Lewis, Charles Lewton-Brain, Thomas Mann and Betty Helen Longhi. He can be contacted at:

[Back to Top]


Barbara Fields


Barbara began her adventure in silversmithing in 2005, in Nashville, TN thanks to the Middle Tennessee Gem and Mineralogical Society. They offer classes in stone cutting, cabochons and silversmithing. She started with a lapidary class and quickly moved into a silver jewelry class. Will “Smitty” Smith was her instructor, and has been her mentor ever since. After she advanced in skill, and the demand had increased, she was asked to be an instructor. Barbara has taken Silver classes with several instructors at William Holland through the years, and has dabbled in many other aspects in jewelry and other artistic pursuits. Her classes are structured for the beginning student, building their skills to pursue their endeavors after the class has ended. She prefers keeping everyone on the same projects, so that everyone can learn from each other’s experience, until they are confident enough to work independently on their own projects.

[Back to Top]


Kaska Firor


Kaska is an award winning jewelry artist who has been designing and crafting wire jewelry since 2001. Originally a traditional wire wrapping artist, in recent years she has shifted her focus to more innovative wire techniques including those borrowed from basket weaving and textile arts. The intricate and visually complex patterns of the weaves were what originally attracted Kaska to wire weaving and her fascination with the art continues as she discovers more complex and challenging ways of combining and modifying techniques and more inventive ways of incorporating stones, beads and other elements into her woven designs. She displays and sells her jewelry at art shows in the Midwest where she has won numerous awards. Her work has been published in several trade magazines such as Art Jewelry magazine, Step-By-Step Wire and Bead Style. Her first book, Freeform Wire Woven Jewelry, was released in November 2013. Kaska enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience with others. She teaches jewelry classes throughout the US at private studios, bead shops and jewelry schools, as well as at national shows such as Bead and Button and BeadFest. She believes that strong foundations are the key to successful design. In her classes, she emphasizes proper technique and attention to detail, challenging her students with projects designed to increase their skill level. For additional information, visit Kaska’s website: or

[Back to Top]


Scott Forward PG

Gem Identification
Junior Rockhounds
Mineral Identification

Scott graduated with an MS from the University of Georgia, and has had a lifelong interest in geology. His love of geology, plus many years of owning his own environmental geology consulting business, evidences his expertise in mineralogy. He is a registered geologist and an Internationally Certified Professional in Erosion and Sedimentation Control. These experiences, coupled with his remarkable management skills and years of service in the Air Force and Navy, make him just the kind of instructor to teach the ins and outs of gem and mineral identification.

[Back to Top]