Toni Menk was born in Guam and moved with her family to Ft. Mitchell, KY when her father retired from the Air Force. She went to high school in Northern KY and received a degree in anthropology from the University of Kentucky. Toni then worked for the phone company for 30 years, moved to Liberty, KY in 1981, and retired in 2003.
It was while attending the International Society of Glass Beadmakers (ISGB) annual gathering with her sister in 2003, that Toni became mesmerized with bead making. She bought a “Starter” kit, took a short lesson on bead making basics, returned home to Kentucky and started making beads. Toni states, “At the time I was an organic farmer selling vegetables and working myself to death. Bead allowed me to express my creative side and beads don’t spoil and they weight less than cantaloupes!” Toni began spending more and more time at the torch and when the weeds took over her garden her life took a radical turn.
Toni has taken classes with such glass bead artists as Bonnie Blincoe of Louisville, and Tom Holland of Arkansas and has attended numerous conferences and workshops. Toni likes to create beads that function – and she makes long beads to form the handle of letter openers and other functional items. Her business name, Cyrilda’s Torch is named after her mother.
Works by Toni Menk can be found at Appalachian Fireside Gallery, Berea, KY; Artique, Lexington, KY; Completely Kentucky, Frankfort, KY; True Blue, Glendale, KY; Sheltowee Art Shop, Somerset, KY; and at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, Berea, KY.