Our instructors are drawn from a wealth of talented teachers, including nationally known artists from across the country and across the street. They are innovative craftsmen and artists who enjoy trying new techniques and love sharing what they do with their students.
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David Eagan honed his blacksmithing basics while working at the Winona County Historical Museum in Minnesota in the 1970s. Today, he is one of the blacksmithing instructors during festivals at Folklore Village near Dodgeville and has a keen interest in cultivating the metalworking instincts in students of all ages. He has demonstrated and taught beginner-level sessions at Shake Rag Alley since 2009. David also teaches simple rustic wood projects, including tree branch wall hooks, door handles, picture frames and other useful creations using natural shapes and branchings of woody plants.
Kaska Firor is a jewelry artist, author, and an educator. She has been working with wire for the past 20 years and is a recipient of many awards for her intricately woven jewelry.
Kaska’s work has been published in several books and trade magazines such as Art Jewelry, Step-By-Step Wire, Bead Style and SNAG’s Jewelry and Metalsmithing Survey. She is the author of two books. Her first book, Freeform Wire Woven Jewelry, is an overview of many popular wire-weaving techniques and an introduction to the exciting world of artistically crafted wire-woven jewelry. Her second book, Wire & Fire, coauthored with Kat Firor-Colque, explores more advanced wire-weaving skills as well as ways of combining wire weaving with soldering and other metal techniques.
Among others, Kaska is a two-time first-place winner in the wire category in Bead Dreams Competition at the Bead and Button Show.
Kaska believes that teaching is an essential part of the art-making experience. She travels throughout the U.S. leading workshops at national shows, jewelry and bead societies, and jewelry schools.
To see more of Kaska’s work and her workshop schedule, follow the links below:
Dawn Flores is a painter, writer, and performer who teaches art nationally at botanical gardens, schools, museums, and art centers. She is creative director for The Forest Project, a collaborative effort documenting 60 acres of urban forest about to be clear-cut for development. A graduate of the New York Botanical Garden, she is faculty at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and has taught at the Corcoran in Washington, D.C., The Clearing in Door County, and returns each summer to Shake Rag Alley. Her strength as a teacher lies in her ability to understand, articulate, and nurture the creative process. She builds confidence in her students with humorous stories and a positive outlook on life.
Helen Shafer Garcia
Helen Shafer Garcia is a painter, a mixed media, book arts and ceramics artist, and an award-winning illustrator. Helen’s watercolor illustrations have graced the cover of brochures, garden articles, and advertisements of numerous international resorts and magazines for more than 30 years. Awards include four San Diego Press Club First Place Awards of Excellence in Illustration for San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles Magazine. Her works and articles have been published in Southwest Art; Cloth, Paper, Scissors; San Diego Home and Garden Lifestyles, and Studios magazines. Helen holds a BA degree in fine arts with an emphasis in illustration and ceramics. She is a signature member of the San Diego Watercolor Society and teaches watercolor and mixed media workshops internationally and across the U.S.
Aris Georges founded OM Studio Design to further develop the principles of design he learned, practiced, and taught for nearly thirty years at Taliesin, the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture.
Aris Georges started studying architecture with an architect tutor during his teen years in Greece, while attending an American secondary preparatory school. At that time he worked in his tutor’s architectural studio practice while preparing for the university. He began his post-secondary studies at the University of Florence, Italy, Faculty of Architecture, and completed his Bachelor of Architectural Studies and Master of Architecture degrees at Taliesin, where he apprenticed under William Wesley Peters, chief architect of Taliesin Architects, and Wright’s first apprentice. Following graduation, Aris worked intermittently in the architectural office of P. Makridis + Associates in Thessaloniki, Greece, and as intern architect in the office of Taliesin Architects, participating in the design and construction administration of numerous residential, commercial, and institutional architectural projects. Concurrently, he taught design studios at Taliesin as member and chair of the core faculty, and served on design juries at architecture schools in the U.S. and Europe.
Aris works from his studio in Spring Green, collaborating with Lindal Cedar Homes to design custom homes utilizing the Lindal building kit. He enjoys making art (drawing and painting), as well as travel.
Beverly Gordon is an artist and writer committed to helping others access their creativity, inner wisdom, and sense of wonder. A retired professor (Design Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison), author, and experienced workshop facilitator, she expresses her mystical vision in writing, collage, and assemblage sculpture. She has been leading “Writing From the Inside” workshops for six years, and for the last year has been delighted to discover how well these work online on Zoom.
Doris Green has followed her curiosity about topics such as genealogy, education, and the natural environment and written articles for varied publications. This diversity sometimes leads to insights not found in more focused approaches.
Recent books include Elsie’s Story: Chasing a Family Mystery (Henschel Haus, 2018), which traced its origin to a childhood trip to Wisconsin’s Cave of the Mounds and investigated the mysterious death of her aunt, who died above a northern Wisconsin tavern when Doris was 12. Second editions of two guidebooks — Wisconsin Underground: A Guide to Caves, Mines, and Tunnels In and Around the Badger State and Minnesota Underground: Caves & Karst, Mines & Tunnels – -were published by Henschel Haus in 2019.
Doris launched and for 16 years co-published Wisconsin Community Banker magazine for the former Community Bankers of Wisconsin while serving as a communications specialist with the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She previously served as a publisher at Magna Publications, which then produced books, as well as newsletters for college and university audiences.
She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education and a master’s degree from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She lives with her husband, Michael H. Knight, and three distracting cats in a log home above the Wisconsin River.
Sheree L. Greer
A Milwaukee, Wisconsin, native, Sheree L. Greer is a text-based artist and educator living in Tampa, Florida. In 2014, she founded The Kitchen Table Literary Arts Center to showcase and support the work of Black women and women of color writers and is the author of two novels, Let the Lover Be and A Return to Arms. Her work has been published in First Bloom Anthology, LezTalk Anthology, VerySmartBrothas, Autostraddle, The Windy City Times, Bleed Literary Journal, and the Windy City Queer Anthology: Dispatches from the Third Coast. Sheree has received a Union League of Chicago Civic Arts Foundation award, earned her MFA at Columbia College Chicago, and is a VONA/VOICES alum, Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice grantee, Yaddo fellow, and Ragdale Artist House Rubin Fellow. Her essay, “Bars” published in Fourth Genre Magazine, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and notably named in Best American Essays 2019, and her latest essay, “None of This Is Bullshit” was published at The Rumpus and featured in “Memoir Mondays.”
Manuscript Consultation – Writing Retreat
Panel Discussion & Craft Talk – Writing Retreat
Sarah Hammond is an international author for young people and has published for both teens and younger readers. For almost a decade she worked as a lawyer in London. Her first teen book, The Night Sky in My Head was published by OUP and was shortlisted for the Calderdale Children’s Book of the Year Award, the Leeds Book Award (14-16 category), the James Reckitt Hull Children’s Book Award and the Angus Book Award. Her first picture book, Mine!, was published by Paragon. Sarah runs workshops and competitions, mentors students, and presents at conferences and universities.
Your Inner Child: an Exercise in Narrative Distance – Writing Retreat
Karen Ann Hoffman
Raised by her first teachers — parents Robert and Betty Ann Messner — as a citizen of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, Karen Ann Hoffman grew up in Oshkosh, south of the Oneida reservation. As an adult, she settled in Stevens Point, marrying Michael Hoffman (Menominee/Ottawa) with whom she built a Native tradition-centered life. In the 1990s, she learned Haudenosaunee Raised Beadwork from Samuel Thomas and Lorna Hill, Cayuga artists who traveled to Wisconsin from Ontario to teach.
Hoffman is a respected national leader in this art, known for reimagining existing forms to expand their significance for today and the future. Hoffman’s beading combines these two ways of beading to create a third: objects that arise from traditional forms and are infused with Haudenosaunee understandings but that otherwise are new.
Retired from a sales career, Hoffman pursues her twin goals of strengthening Haudenosaunee Raised Beadwork within the Haudenosaunee community and gaining recognition for it more widely. She produces two to three large pieces each year, with some in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, the Field Museum, the Iroquois Indian Museum, and the Oneida Nation Museum. She teaches and hosts a beading circle at her home. She is a co-organizer of the annual International Iroquois Beadwork Conference and has curated multiple exhibits of work by Native artists.
I am the Youth Program director for Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts. I appreciate the families that fit in art classes or purchase art kits for their children. When I was young, the school I went to did not have art classes. I was enthralled by watching Jon Gnagy on television and enjoyed getting one of his ÒLearn to DrawÓ kits from my mom. Since then I have explored many art materials, but the current material I work with is handmade paper. I got into making paper first as a sculptural medium because the clay pieces I was making became too big to fit into a large kiln. After making large paper structures, I then discovered how much I enjoy making imagery with colored paper pulp.
Youth Program Workshops
I was one of six raised on a farm in southwestern Minnesota where we were fortunate to have parents who did not discriminate between boys and girls when it came to work and learning mechanical skills. After an elementary education in the local country school and a small town high school diploma, I earned a BS in Botany and an MS in genetics and plant pathology in the University of Minnesota system. In my twenties I married, lived in Europe and South America, taught school and got tired of being poor.
The next chapter took me into Agribusiness in Wisconsin. I did well, traveled the country coast to coast and was finally transferred to corporate headquarters in Minneapolis, MN. That is where the MS began. I worked for another sixteen years before retiring on disability in 1999.
In the early 90’s I began in earnest to develop my creative abilities. I built an enclosed garden, completed an unfinished house, took a Community College course in drawing and started to paint with watercolor. In 2000 we moved to Mineral Point, a lively artist’s colony in southwest Wisconsin where I am now trading gallery sitting for display space and producing a growing line of prints and cards mostly botanical and mostly watercolor.
This chapter of my life is the most rewarding yet. I have more things I want to do than I will live long enough to accomplish. My range of media is growing, my circle of patrons is growing and I am getting commissions more frequently.
Life is good.
I’m Lynn Kaufman, and I am obsessed about food! Being a retired culinary instructor plus dietitian, I have plenty of adventures with cooking to share. Sharing my time between small town USA and Chicago, I’ve been working for years on making cooking fun and easy to learn. Follow my recipes for easy, step-by-step instructions!
For over 20 years, Ali Kauss has been creating pieces of jewelry with precious metals, like sterling silver and gold, that speak to the essence of an individual’s journey. Finding the metalsmithing studio on campus all those years ago felt like coming home because it was a way for Ali to connect with and communicate about her true soul’s purpose, which is to support others on their spiritual path.
Ali’s transformational adornments begin with Ali listening to her client’s intention, whether that client is going through a challenging time and needs a token of her inner strength, celebrating a life event and wants to create a modern heirloom, or simply looking for a one-of-a-kind statement of who she truly is. Each piece of jewelry is handcrafted using Ali’s unique creative process, one that involves traditional tools and techniques and her intuition. The result is a beautiful, customized, and powerful symbol of empowerment and encouragement to express individuality and claim self worth.
Cathy Kitto is a retired educator with 40 years of experience in six states and England as a teacher and school principal. Since retiring she has been able to pursue her interest and develop her skills in fabric art, specifically painting on silk and nature printing on shirts and other fabrics. When not enjoying her new-found hobby, you can find her in her garden playing with her flowers.
Mary Kopecky: I became hooked on willow after taking a garden tower workshop through Willow Glen Nursery in Decorah, Iowa many years ago. Over the years, I expanded to basketry and then to furniture. I continue to learn and to gain skills from fabulous teachers at Sievers Fiber Arts School in Washington Island, Wisconsin, the Amana Colonies in Amana Iowa, and at the Willow Gathering Workshop in Decorah, Iowa. My teachers have included Jo Campbell Amsler, Lee and Lindsay Lee, Katherine Lewis, Johanna Shantz, Allison Fitzgerald, Eva Seidenfaden, Ane Lynsgaard and Joe Hogan. I have taught at the Indian Creek Nature Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center in Toddville, Woodlanders in Mineral Point, Wisconsin and at Loon Lake Lodge, Grand Marais, Minnesota.
Jim Kostohrys from rural Mineral Point is an artist of the age-old art of drawing on animal bones. This art form predates Neolithic times.The bones are found and carefully cleaned prior to applying pen.
Megan Kulick’s artistic credentials revolve around years spent on staff at Shake Rag Alley. She is a stay-at-home mom who loves coming back to teach soaps and scrubs as well as other fun and fanciful Shake Rag Alley Youth Program classes!
Laura Lein-Svencner grew up in Downers Grove close to her grandfather’s farm, which was the last operating farm in Downers Grove, and now resides in Darien, Illinois. She’s married with four grown children and a home full of loving creatures. Although she has studied drawing, printmaking, sculpture, book arts and the art of hand papermaking, it is the love of paper and design that call her attention. She comes from many generations of “creative makers” working with their hands.
She is a signature member of the National Collage Society and co-founder of the Midwest Collage Society, which exhibits throughout the Chicagoland area. She has won many awards for her work, which are represented at Woodwalk Gallery in Egg Harbor, WI. Her works have been published in Incite 1, 2, 3 and 4 of North Light Publishing, Somerset Studio Magazine, Cloth Paper Scissor Magazine, The Professional Artist Magazine, The Artists Magazine and The Watercolor Artist Magazine through the years. Laura has self-published a Collage Sketchbook-Instructional Design Book, and she continues her second love of teaching the fine art of collage in classroom settings, workshops and online for the past 26 years. Her work has found its way into many homes through the United States and Internationally.
From 2015 to present, Laura’s work was selected to be printed on material by clothing design company Dolcezza-Simply Art from Canada (dolcezza.ca).