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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Keith Lo Bue
Keith Lo Bue is a jeweler, sculptor, teacher, and self-described “stuffsmith” who has work in many major collections, including the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., and the Museum of Arts & Design in New York. For a quarter-century his work has been exhibited all around the U.S. and in Germany, Australia, New Zealand, France, Ireland, and England. Dozens of books feature Lo Bue’s work, including One of a Kind: American Art Jewelry Today, 1000 Rings, On Body and Soul: Contemporary Armor to Amulets, and The Compendium Finale of Contemporary Jewellery Makers (Germany) as well as Metalsmith, American Craft, Ornament and Belle Armoire Jewelry magazines (U.S.). His workshops have been presented to enthusiastic reviews at Haystack, Penland, and scores of other art and craft institutions across the United States, Canada, France, and Australia. Lo Bue lives and works in Sydney, Australia.
Julie Lukosaitis has been making glass beads for many years, and has been a glass flameworking instructor for almost 20 years. She is the owner of Beadazzled By Julz, and travels with her glass art studio around Wisconsin. She has many years of experience working in public education and teaching to different learning intelligences. She believes the best reward for a teacher is seeing the joy her students feel with their own creativity and building on their skills. When that happens, she can see their confidence grow and it shows in their work.
Maya Madden is a jeweler and enamellist with over 25 year of experience. She has taught workshops in cloisonné and other techniques of enameling as well as being self-supporting as an artist working with her husband Wayne Farra in the business of No Rules Jewelry. Maya learned her art by taking various classes and workshops and by always pushing the boundaries to achieve her vision. She enjoys teaching all skill levels. She is a member of the International Enameling Society. Her work is sold at galleries and juried art fairs.
Jennifer Mally currently serves as the director of the Adamah Clay Studios of Bethel Horizons as well as the executive director of Potters for Peace, a nonprofit organization providing ceramic water filter production education for communities without clean, potable water. Jennifer has a mechanical engineering degree from UW-Madison and an art and design teaching license from Edgewood College. In 2003-09, Jennifer owned the Blackberry Glass studio and designed art-glass installations for architects and interior designers. Jennifer’s life-long love of art is expressed through printmaking, painting, and figurative sculpture work in clay.
Sarah Mann is a professional jeweler of over 20 years. She studied jewelry design
under Heikki Seppa at Washington University in St. Louis and at the Fuji Studio in
Florence. Her work has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions and is
represented in galleries across the country. Sarah lives and works in
Milwaukee, where she creates stunning sterling silver jewelry.
Andrea Matus deMeng
Andrea Matus deMeng is a combined media artist living in Vancouver, BC, who exhibits as well as teaches her unique combination of painting, collage, assemblage, and sculpture throughout the world. In her art, Andrea creates powerful portraits skillfully combining color, symbolism, and ornamentation. Each motif is a transport to a different time and place, and through the process unrelated and discordant shapes and designs are manipulated to find balance and harmony where at first there seems none. Her passions and strong feminine aesthetic can be seen in all of her endeavors. The improvisational nature of collage coupled with the very deliberate method of painting creates a balance of spontaneity and premeditation in her work. Inspired by her extensive travels, a unique personal history and too many artistic influences to list, Andrea hopes to inspire others to live their creative lives and pursue their dreams of transformation.
Eric May is an associate professor in Fiction Writing at Columbia College Chicago. A Chicago native and former reporter for the Washington Post, his fiction has appeared in the magazines Fish Stories, F, and Criminal Class. In addition to his Post reporting, his nonfiction work has appeared in Sport Literate, the Chicago Tribune, and the personal essay anthology Briefly Knocked Unconscious by a Low-Flying Duck. His first novel, Bedrock Faith, was named a Notable African-American Title by Publishers Weekly, shortlisted for the 2014 Great Lakes Great Reads Prize and declared a top read by: Roxane Gay; Booklist; O, The Oprah Magazine; Chicago Reader; and Chicago Tribune/Printers Row.
Manuscript Consultations – Writing Retreat
Writing About Race – Writing Retreat
Denny McKernan is one of the people who have been critical to Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts’ success over the past 15 years. He originated the Blacksmithing and Metal Arts program, locating traditional coal forges, anvils, standing vises, hammers, tongs, and more to create individual blacksmith stations for up to eight students. For the last 11 years, Denny has been Shake Rag Alley’s volunteer Blacksmith Supervisor and Welding Instructor, and has dedicated his time to not only managing, but also building up their Blacksmithing and Metal Arts area. He now has retired as supervisor of the program, but as a very experienced welder, he continues to teach his Intro to Torch Welding Class four times a year at Shake Rag Alley.
Booklist calls Patricia Ann McNair “an irresistible personal essayist of refreshing candor, vibrant
openheartedness, rueful humor, and unassuming wisdom.” Author of And These Are the Good
Times (essays), and The Temple of Air (stories), McNair received the Chicago Writers
Association Book of the Year Award, Southern Illinois University’s Devil’s Kitchen Reading
Award, the Society of Midland Authors Finalist Award, and was named a finalist for the
Montaigne Medal for most thought-provoking book of 2017. Her work is published in American
Fiction: Best Unpublished Short Stories by Emerging Writers, Superstition Review, Prime
Number, River Teeth, Fourth Genre, Brevity, Creative Nonfiction, Barrelhouse, and in textbooks
on writing. McNair’s second short story collection, Responsible Adults, is scheduled for release
in December 2020. She has received numerous Illinois Arts Council Awards and teaches in the
English and Creative Writing Department Graduate and Undergraduate Programs at Columbia
College Chicago where she received the Excellence in Teaching Award and was nominated for
the Carnegie Foundation’s U.S. Professor of the Year Award.
Memoir & Personal Essay – Writing Retreat
Manuscript Consultations – Writing Retreat
Mary Mendla is a fiber artist, fine art painter, and the owner/design of the women’s clothing line Facets Fashions. Mary earned her BFA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a specialization in painting and drawing and a minor focus in fiber arts. Mary has taught classes and workshops in painting, textile surface design, and contemporary art history at various universities and fine arts centers including the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, Milwaukee Art Museum, Cardinal Stritch University, Alverno College, and the Cedarburg Cultural Center. She resides in Grafton, WI, and works out of her studio in Thiensville.
Originally from Massachusetts, Richard Moninski received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a Master of Fine Arts from the University at Albany, State University of New York. He completed additional study in surface design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. As a painter, Moninski is strongly influenced by historic textiles and other decorative arts traditions. His paintings and drawings have been exhibited nationally. Awards include a grant from the American-Scandinavian Foundation for research in Norway, and artist residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and the Ragdale Foundation. He is currently distinguished lecturer in the Department of Performing and Visual Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and resides in Mineral Point.
From the minute I began to draw a pencil profile of a classmate in my first high school art class, I was hooked on the limitless possibilities of communicating through art. The teacher of that class told me, “You could never be an artist.” That’s all a stubborn teenager needed to hear to launch her art career. I received an art education degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and shortly thereafter married Rick Nass, a classmate, and opened our illustration studio, Ampersand, beginning our lives as professional artists. We continue to operate Ampersand from our home/studio on the Wisconsin River in Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin. Artists most influential in developing my “style” are Caravaggio, Peter Paul Rubens, Wayne Thiebaud, Robert Bateman and Rick Nass. I regard contrasts (light, texture, color, space, temperature, etc.) as one of the most effective visual communication tools, so one can usually recognize my work by the distinctive treatment between foreground/background and dramatic light emerging from darkness. I’ll always be amazed that one can make a living doing what one loves, and can, in the process, keep stretching and passing discoveries on to others. It’s a gift for which I’ll continuously thank God.
Kathleen Nutter produces a variety of hand-woven goods in her studio/shop in Mineral Point. A love of textiles dates back to her early childhood, centering on weaving with the acquisition of her first four-harness floor-loom in 1979. Since 1984 she has hand-woven garments and/or accessories in a wide range of styles and natural fibers. Weaving has been her full-time profession, minus a period spent earning a degree in landscape architecture, a field of study highly supportive to fiber arts, especially weaving. Early in her career she offered her work in numerous juried art fairs throughout the Midwest and East in addition to placing work with several galleries and boutiques. She has taught college and high school classes, and demonstrates weaving processes regularly in her studio. Moving her studio to High Street, where it is accessible to the public, has initiated an inspired new style of work that she is adding to her line of clothing. Texture and color have been her primary interests, hand-dyeing skeins of cottons, silks and other fibers before weaving. She now studies traditional patterns, applying her own treadling sequences to achieve unique patterns for each garment, creating exceptional borders, breast, and shoulder work.
Chiaki O’Brien is a SAORI Leaders Committee Certificate recipient. She began SAORI Weaving in 1996 in Japan. She worked as an instructor for the SAORI head office/school in Japan before moving to Minnesota in 2004. She’s been teaching a variety of ages and abilities at schools (including special education classes), at facilities for people with disabilities and assisted living as well as fiber-related events and at the Weavers Guild of Minnesota. She’s also a Bengala Mud dye artist/instructor. Chiaki operates Studio FUN from her home in Bloomington, MN.
Justin O’Brien is a freelance writer who received his bachelor’s degree in English literature from the University of Illinois at Chicago. For most of his 42-year career, he practiced the craft of typography, a subject that he also taught and wrote about. Concurrent with his 9-to-5 job he wrote extensively about blues music over a forty-year period, and for several decades has been associated with Living Blues magazine of the University of Mississippi. His writing—on blues and other subjects—has also appeared in Juke Blues, Sing Out!, Irish Music, UIC Alumni News, Chicago Parent, The Typographer, Digital Chicago, Southern Graphics, and The Minneapolis Review of Baseball. He was a contributor to the Encyclopedia of the Blues (Routledge Press, 2005), Armitage Avenue Transcendentalists (Charles Kerr, 2009), and Base Paths: The Best of the Minneapolis Review of Baseball (Wm. Brown, 1991).
Alternatives in Publishing Panel Discussion – Writing Retreat
Paul Pendola is a Galena, Illinois-based green woodworking artist specializing in hand-carved wooden spoons and other hand-crafted woodenware. Using only an axe, straight knife, hook knife, and all-natural food-safe oil and wax, Paul’s mission is to create simple, authentic, and beautiful functional art. Paul’s work focuses on two main design themes including a professional series, created for culinary enthusiasts looking to equip their gourmet kitchens with a truly one-of-a-kind woodenware, and also a primitive series, influenced by old-world designs and applications. As a member of the All River Road Talent Scenic Art Drive, you can visit Paul the first Saturday of every month for a carving demonstration at The Spoon Carver Cottage and soon at his artist studio and retail shop The 1850 Cottage. Paul also sells his work at seasonal markets, nationally recognized fairs including The Galena Country Fair, and The Waterford Fair in Virginia, and online. You can also find Paul’s work at several boutique retailers throughout the Driftless Area of northwest Illinois, and of course, Illinois’ Fox River Valley. Paul is a Chicago native and holds a master’s degree from the Cornell University School of Business. When not carving, Paul works full time managing global accounts for a big data analytics company specializing in restaurant pricing.
Leslie Perrino is an artist and “art evangelist” who loves to share the power of art and creativity with people, particularly in her beloved areas of metals and enameling. Her artwork is a quirky mix of traditional and found objects, most recently combining computer/electrical components with enamels. She is a charismatic and effective teacher who encourages skill building and exploration of the medium.
Deborah Petronio is an assemblage artist from Buffalo, New York. She describes herself as a lover of mermaids, gnomes, and old dollies. Her work exemplifies the juxtaposition of old and new, treasure and junk, and dark versus whimsy. She has been an instructor at art retreats and classes locally and nationally. Her pile of art supplies is legendary.
Sara Post’s mixed media art works focus on layering – adding and subtracting materials to create an abstract surface history with occasional structural references to landscape and architecture. Her work is exhibited nationally and is represented in many public and private collections. She is an award-winning instructor teaching at art centers across the country as well as in her studio in Davis, California. She is a graduate of Southern Methodist University and received a master’s degree in art from Northern Arizona University. “I’m deeply attracted to collage – the delight of layering, of laying down a block of color, of transferring print, and transforming the work with paint. My art grows out of things I love – collage speaks to bulletin boards, posters on walls, chipping paint, certain buildings – especially those that are almost falling down. It’s an opportunity to celebrate the illusion of time and the certainty of change.
Sarah Rehmer was born and raised in the western suburbs of Chicago, where she still resides. In 2003 Rehmer earned her BA in Graphic Design and Photography from Dominican University in River Forest, IL. She found her love for working with pages from old books while auditing a class post-graduation at the university. Rehmer is an Illinois Arts Council – Professional Development Grant recipient and her work is held in private collections both around the United States and internationally, as well as Institutional and Corporate collections in Illinois and New York. Rehmer teaches classes and workshops around the Midwest.