RIDGWAY — Cheryl Oknefski, a native of Ridgway, says she has always been interested in the arts, creating a variety of beautiful things since she was a young child, learning from her grandmother.
Oknefski said she enjoys not only learning new things, but passing on those skills and knowledge to others.
At her shop Peaces of Me Wellness Studio on Main Street in Ridgway, Oknefski displays and sells handmade gemstone jewelry, stained glass, oils, salves, silversmith items, chainsaw carvings, and paintings. Relaxation training and stress relief through yoga, reiki, and reflexology is available as well.
Classes are held to teach metalworking, paper arts, screen printing, stained glass, and salve making, among others.
Oknefski believes in the benefits of yoga from a young age and offers “Mommy and Me Yoga” and beginner “Aerial Kids Yoga” at the studio, as well as yoga at the elementary school. Aerial yoga gives children the feeling of safe, weightless flight, and benefits include increasing body awareness and strengthening muscles, all while having fun.
One art form that Oknefski works on at her home is chainsaw carving, which she learned from her boyfriend beginning in 2010. She prefers creating smaller pieces, and finds that it is a physically-demanding activity, even with a smaller chainsaw. She has been displaying her work at the Chainsaw Rendezvous in Ridgway since 2011, and will be there again this year. She is one of a growing number of female chainsaw carvers in the state.
New at the studio is glass fusion, which Oknefski is able to do with the recent acquisition of a tabletop kiln. It’s roughly based on the idea of Shrinky Dinks, and she did research and watched You Tube videos to learn the technique and was amazed at how much fun she was having in the process.
Also coming soon is the salt vault, which will have coarse salt on the floor and heated salt blocks that help remove toxins from the body. Other benefits of salt therapy include relaxation, improvement of skin conditions and respiratory health. Inhaling medical grade dry salt rich in natural minerals in a controlled environment may yield many health benefits. It will be nice and calming in the salt vault with zero gravity chairs to sit on. That will be next to the sauna and exercise room when it is completed, said Oknefski.
“I have found peace through learning things and teaching people. There’s nothing better than sharing talents and letting people know that they should be happy and full of love. All around my studio, you’ll see ‘Peaces of Me,’ things that gave me peace as I created a variety of pieces that reflect who I am,” concludes Oknefski.