PALC — The ‘P’ stands for ‘people’

September 8, 2023

Juanita Pierman

PALC — The ‘P’ stands for ‘people’

By Ron Beeber, Contributing Writer

PENTWATER — As the Pentwater Artisan Learning Center’s (PALC) fundraising effort nears the $100,000 mark toward the $250,000 needed to properly equip it for the next 20 years, several members recently shared what they enjoy most out of coming to the center.  

Fused Glass Pendant by Pierman.

“It’s the people,” said Juanita Pierman, former Pentwater village president. “It’s not only where you can carry out your hobbies in a well-equipped space, but you can do it while interacting with others. It’s a social center. I remember a past member who became confined to a wheelchair as he got older. He’d come here and help where he could, but it was really the social center of his life. Pierman explained that before the artisan center was built, she learned to make beaded jewelry at the home of Sue Hopp. Then, the original artisan

Elaine Oomen

center opened 20 years ago, with about half the floorspace available today. “We started making jewelry in the center’s upstairs loft that overlooked the woodworking area,” said Pierman. After the center was enlarged, jewelry making was relocated to the new addition, in a much more comfortable work area. The artisans now fashion jewelry pieces out of wire and fused glass, besides beads.     

Whitney Atchetee, a summertime resident from Louisiana, joined last year. “I’ve met so many nice people there. They have a wealth of knowledge. One person specializes in wood, another in welding, metal work, using a lathe. It’s just incredible. During his working years, Atchetee could come to Pentwater for only very short visits, but after retiring, he could finally spend more time here. “One day my wife and I were walking into the Antler Bar for dinner, and I saw pieces of purple-painted wood on the sidewalk. I asked about it inside. They said it was a broken bench, and they needed to find someone to repair it. I said I’d do it. So I brought the wood pieces home, but it couldn’t be repaired. But had some wood in my shed, and so I headed to the artisan center where Gene Davidson showed me around — just a wonderful place! So I joined, and built the Antler a new bench.”

Elaine Oomen of Pentwater reminisced while working on a piece she calls a gazing ball. “It’s a bowling ball! I cut stained glass into small pieces, and then glue them on the outer surface. Next, I’ll apply grout and a sealer.  When asked what got her started at the artisan center, she said it all began when her husband was at home with a sore back one winter. “I was retired and going crazy with nothing to do. So one day I walked into the artisan center, and Jennifer Lydey asked,

Whitney Atchetee

‘Do you want to work in glass?’ I then phoned my husband and told him ‘I think I’m gonna be late.’ I was a hairdresser, and so I really missed the social aspect of my work. I sure found it here.”   

The artisan center was established in 2004 next to Pentwater Public School. It’s an 11,000-square-foot, safe, well-equipped workspace that attracts year-round and seasonal residents from the surrounding area. The artisans primarily work in wood, metal, paint, stained glass, weaving and jewelry. They socialize, share their knowledge with others, and learn new skills. Annual membership is $150. More information is found

Whitney Atchetee

at, or by calling 231.869.5323.

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Almost to $100K