Who We Are
Rebeccah Byer is the Founding Executive Director of The Olio, a Social Enterprise featuring an Apprentice Program and Glassblowing Studio which opened in September 2014 in Winston-Salem, NC. Since 2016 she has served as co-founder of Mary's Mavens, and in 2018 she joined Wake Forest University's Center for Entrepreneurship as a Visiting Professor of Practice. She has a bachelor's degree in crafts with a concentration in glassblowing from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, and has worked in glass, education, and non-profit administration for over 25 years. She has created and worked for several for-profit and non-profit start-ups, and produced Indestructible, an award-winning documentary feature film written and directed by her brother Ben Byer (1970-2008), which documented the last six years of his life with ALS. Rebeccah's vision for The Olio and all projects is one of sustainability, empowerment, and community development. She also currently serves on the PTI Airport Public Art Committee and as faculty advisor for Social Impact 360.
Sarah Band is the Artistic Director at The Olio. Sarah was raised in San Francisco’s Bay Area and now lives in beautiful Seagrove, North Carolina. Sarah comes from a family of physicists and her work is often inspired by science and anatomy. She is the main sculptor at The Olio, and helps create our signature cup line as well as animal sculptures. She attended San Francisco State University and received her Bachelors in Fine Arts in 2011. She has been with The Olio since 2014. In 2017 she was an artist-in-residence at The Works museum in Newark, Ohio, and 2018 her work was shown at PTI Airport. Her work is available in numerous shops and galleries in North Carolina, visit her website for more information: www.sarahaband.com
Mandy and Andre are The Olio's shop cats. They live here at the shop and are our best greeters. Andre's foot is fine! She lost it when she was just a kitten before she was found on a farm. She still gets around great! They both wander around West End Millworks and love people! And yes... they do occasionally break stuff.
Sarah Banner (lovingly nicknamed S2) is our paperweight master! Sarah has been at our shop pushing three years now and has learned so much! She is a key glassblower in our production line, she adds most of the colors you see in our cups! Always happy and full of energy you'll usually catch Sarah dancing and singing show tunes during any breaks in our busy day. Sarah also works at Publix in Winston Salem, in case you ever want to say hi!
Lucy McGinnis is definitely the most tech savvy out of all of us. She has redone our database from scratch and is the reason you can now book lessons online! She is currently attending Wake Forest University and has been at The Olio over three years! Lucy came with some previous glass blowing experience, even an uncle who is a glass blower! She is another key piece to our production team.
Catherine Amico has so many hidden talents! Catherine is one of our most artistic apprentices and has such a strong work ethic! She is known for her beautiful embroidery and stained glass work, often designed beforehand on a computer. She has three chickens named Ruby, Angie, and Hotdog. She has some beautiful work for sale at our shop!
Zoë Friedel came to The Olio as a gifted artist. She has always been drawing and does quite a bit of tie-dye in her free time. Being one of our youngest apprentices hasn't stopped Zoe from jumping in and building her skills as a glass blower. You'll most likely see Zoe on Saturdays in the shop helping customers and talking about glass!
Dilan Mendez is our newest apprentice! He is currently a senior and will be going to college in the fall. Originally wanted to find an internship with a realtor Dilan was captivated by the business side of The Olio. We now have him blowing glass! Dilan is a great example of how well rounded glass blowing is as a skill, you don't have to be an artist to get something out of it!
Nick Bragg is a North Carolina native and a graduate of Wake Forest University. Later, he became the first Executive Director of Reynolda House Museum of American Art and remained there for 29 years before retiring in 1999. In addition to his work as an artist, he has been a guest teacher at Salem College, Winston-Salem State University and the North Carolina School of the Arts. He now continues his lifetime passion of painting, leading travel groups to explore the arts, and museum consulting.