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.
Sabrina Fadial was born in Gainesville, FL, and raised in Charlotte, NC. She has lived and worked in both Carolinas. In 2002 she set up her studio in Oakland, CA, moving to VT in 2010. Fadial attended the Pre-College Architecture Program at Carnegie Mellon University, received her BFA in textile design from Rhode Island School of Design, and her MFA in visual art from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She has a graduate certificate in nonprofit management from Marlboro College and has continued her studies at craft schools including Penland, Haystack, and Arrowmont. She is an artist who works in a variety of materials focusing on fiber and metal. Louise Bourgeois, Eva Hesse, and Ruth Asawa have influenced her work. As a sculptor, she strives to document the beauty of what is endangered or commodified. Much of her work is inspired by nature and women. She creates abstract organic forms using both steel and fiber and her process incorporates experimentation and serendipity. For the past thirty years, her work has been shown extensively in galleries across the U.S. and is included in numerous private collections. Like her outdoor sculptures, her architectural iron work reflects the landscape around it. FadialÕs work can be found in public settings such as Sculpturefest in Woodstock, VT, and Brevard Music Center in Brevard, NC. She has teaching, lecturing, and mentoring experience at a variety of arts organizations, has won numerous awards and grants, and holds two U.S patents in textile technology. Fadial currently works out of her Vermont studio and teaches in the School of Architecture and Art at Norwich University. This year she plans to open Stevens Branch Studios, a creative incubation space in Barre, VT.
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.
Kieu Pham Gray
Kieu Pham Gray has been creating jewelry for more than 25 years. She started from the need to “look the part’ while working in retail management for Neiman Marcus. In making jewelry for herself and friends, Kieu’s jewelry line was created. Since then she has sold to over 30 stores in 10 states and participated in numerous juried art shows. Today, Kieu and her husband, Andy, own and operate The Urban Beader, where they work to provide the industry with specialty supplies and tools. Most recently she co-founded EverCrafting.com, a social media site for serial crafters. Through these businesses and teaching around the world, her passion, knowledge, and dedication for the jewelry industry becomes apparent. In an effort to share her passion and knowledge for the jewelry industry, Kieu teaches a wide range of classes throughout the U.S. and authored a how-to book, Hot & Cold Jewelry Connections, in 2014. Detailed instruction and personal attention has been the key to success with her students.
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
Philip Hartigan was born in the UK and now lives in Chicago. As an artist, he has taken part in more than 20 solo and group exhibitions of his work on both sides of the Atlantic. After he started blogging in 2009, he was offered a job as Chicago correspondent for Hyperallergic, the world’s most-visited art blog. He teaches at Columbia College Chicago and Lillstreet Art Center, Chicago.
Writers Drawing for Discovery – Writing Retreat
Baldwin in Paris – Writing Retreat
Jennie Hawkey is a weaver and weaving teacher. She has woven for over 30 years and specializes in accessories that incorporate intricate weaves, natural fibers and vivid colors. From handbags to scarves to reproductions of vintage pincushions, her handwoven creations are both beautiful and practical.
Although weaving has been a long-time interest, teaching is Jennie’s passion. She is an educator and teacher of children and adults and loves to pass on the skills of weaving. She finds weaving to be endlessly fascinating and a wonderful creative outlet.
“I am a recycling artist: I give found objects new life as fun, fantastical, and functional household items such as lamps, clocks, jewelry, and wall hangings. I have a varied art background having worked in professional theater as a hair stylist, wig maker, dresser, and costumer; as a visual merchandiser doing in-store and window displays; and in antique rug and tapestry restoration. I have stuck junk together for most of my life. My husband and I live in Mineral Point where we are in the process of restoring 214 High St. where I operate DeeConstruct, an art and junk emporium.”
I’ve been teaching ceramics at Carroll University since 2000. I’ve been making pottery and clay sculpture for 46 years (I know, I don’t look that old.). I have taught workshops at Penland School of Arts and Crafts in North Carolina and at Appalachian Center for Arts and Crafts and Arrowmont in Tennessee. I can teach hand building and throwing, with pinch pots as my area of first expertise. I have also developed a basic, simple method for teaching glaze formulation, with a special interest in use of wood ash and local clays in glazes.
With a background in art education and long years working in the computer field, Tess Imobersteg likes to combine her interests in art, technology and multi-media and loves to teach. In 2013 she became a Certified Zentangle© Teacher and has worked at incorporating that method into her art and quilts. Tess has taught classes in the U.S. and when she lived in Switzerland in various media, including Spinning and Yarn Design, Photos on Fabric, Art Journaling, Journal Quilting, Watercolor, and Zentangle© and Zentangle© on Fabric. She has taught Zentangle basic and advanced classes in many venues in Wisconsin, including as an instructor in the Wisconsin Quilt Expo, as a featured artist for the Cambridge Wine and Art Night, and at many shops, quilt guilds, and studios in and around Madison. In spring 2018 in Portland, OR, Tess was privileged to be among the instructors at the largest Certified Zentangle Teacher conference in the U.S. With an international bend, she has also taught Zentangle in Switzerland in the local Swiss German dialect. She is inspired by her students insights and their delight in learning something new and encourages everyone to “keep learning and creating.”
I am a 65-year-old retired accountant and a 65-year-old artist. I live in the beautiful boonies of north-central Wisconsin. Our hobby farm is situated on a small lake and I have my horses, cats, dogs, and chickens – oh, and my husband, to keep me company! As an artist, I worked with clay for 30+ years taking many college ceramic classes. I’ve also been a photographer and many other ‘dabblings.’ Until I discovered the alcohol inks eight years ago, I had never painted before but always loved the look of watercolors. I am totally immersed in this stunning medium and I typically paint every day. In 2018, I had 24 art and craft shows. My husband handcrafts Corian cutting boards that we sell at craft shows. I also sell my paintings at these shows. I paint directly on Corian, so we make a great team! It’s really amazing to see how this medium speaks to everyone: young, old, men and women. My art sells very well at both art and craft shows proving its wide appeal.”
Writer and teacher Gary Jones was raised on a small dairy farm in Willow Township, Richland County. He attended the one-room Pleasant Ridge Grade School and Ithaca High School, and graduated with a BS from UW-Platteville, an MA from UW-Madison, and a PhD from UW-Milwaukee. He taught both high school and college English classes from 1966 through 2014. For many years he was also a freelance journalist, in addition to publishing poetry and fiction and writing plays, one of which was written and produced under a Wisconsin Arts Board grant. He has won numerous awards for his writing. The Wisconsin Historical Society Press published his boyhood memoir Ridge Stories in the fall of 2019.
Jones and his wife summer in their home outside of Sister Bay, and winter in their historic home in Platteville.
A nationally recognized designer, instructor, and author from Cincinnati, Ohio, Mary considers herself a wearable artist rather than a jewelry designer, specializing in lampwork, beadwork, and metalwork. She seldom makes the same thing twice, although she will get hooked on something she can’t quit until the itch is totally scratched: masks/faces, dragged dots, windows, color pencil on metal, bead embroidery, and the current obsession, colored pencil on copper layered jewelry. Her book, Layered Colored Pencil Jewelry, was published in May 2017. Using colored pencil on metal allows me to push the boundaries of wearable art that produces results unlike any other method. Surprisingly both durable and lightweight, the layers of color and metal combine to form unique pieces of texture, depth, and beauty. I love the reaction when people connect with my pieces Ð personal adornment is often an outward expression of intimate emotions and personality. Teaching experience includes the Bead & Button Show, the Bay Area Bead Extravaganza, Miami University’s CraftSummer, Spruill Arts Center, Great Lakes Beadworkers Guild Bead Daze, Wisconsin Loose Bead Society, and many bead shops and private studios.
Mike started his career in blacksmithing seven or eight years ago in his backyard with one hammer and one simple forge. He tried following blacksmithing videos on YouTube, then turned to members of the Upper Midwest Blacksmithing Association where he learned skills from guys who’d been forging “as long as I’ve been alive.” In a short time he was helping to teach a class at Centaur and joined UMBA. A little later he was elected to the board, took on more Centaur classes, and then found himself a full-time job as a blacksmith fabricator. “I’m still continuing to learn and hope to continue to grow. And I enjoy sharing my knowledge with others.”
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.
Helen Klebesadel is best known for richly detailed watercolors on paper and canvas that address nature, woman-centered and environmental themes. Her watercolors push the traditional boundaries of the medium in scale, content, and technique. She has exhibited her art nationally and internationally for three decades. Her paintings are in many private and public collections. Helen regularly offers workshops on art and creativity from Alaska to Texas, and, of course, in Wisconsin. Raised in rural Spring Green, WI, Helen went on to an academic career teaching and administering in the visual arts and Women’s and Gender Studies at Lawrence University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Helen maintains her art studio in Madison, Wisconsin.
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.
Laura Lein-Svencner grew up 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, and paper making, her love of paper keeps pulling her back to collage work. She is a signature member of National Collage Society and co-founder of the Midwest Collage Society, which exhibits throughout the Midwest Region. Her collages are represented at Cappaert Contemporary Gallery, Egg Harbor, WI. Laura teaches her collage techniques locally at Mayslake Peabody Estate in Oak Brook, IL and online. Her work is published in North Light books Incite I, II, III, and AcrylicWorks II, The Art of Expressive Collage by Crystal Neubauer, The Artist Magazine, The Professional Artist Magazine, Cloth Paper Scissor Magazine, The Watercolor Magazine and Collage in All Dimensions by Gretchen Bierbaum. When not teaching classes or workshops Laura enjoys her family, her own yard and walks in the woods that replenish her creative spirit.
Leighanna Light is a passionate art instructor, thingmaker, bookmaker, and figurative assemblage artist. Her background is in fine arts and photography, and she has been teaching art workshops for the past 18 years. Leighanna is represented by galleries and museums across the country and her work has been published in numerous books and magazines. “I love to create, to hunt for things to create with and to share my creativity with others. It’s what I live for, it’s my oxygen.” Leighanna grew up in a small town in upstate New York and has spent most of the past 20 years in New Mexico. She currently resides in Taos, NM, with her best friends Thomas, Ruby, and Lily.