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.
If you are an experienced art, craft, writing, or performing arts instructor and are interested in teaching at Shake Rag Alley, click here for more information.
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I’m a veterinarian who recently learned the joys of pounding on hot metal. I started taking evening blacksmithing classes four years ago at the Kenosha Public Museum. I’ve taken two weekend courses at Shake Rag Alley with Hal Aavang. I’m still learning new techniques myself but I’d love to introduce more people to blacksmithing.
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.
The jewelry that Sarah Mann designs and handcrafts skillfully merges geometric and organic elements to create a style that is recognizably her own. She was introduced to metalsmithing at the University of Wisconsin in her hometown of Milwaukee. She furthered her interest under the expert guidance of Heikki Seppa at Washington Universty in St. Louis and at Fuji Studio in Florence, Italy. She then lived in New Orleans, where she worked amidst its thriving community of metalsmiths and honed her skills in preparation for a transition to New York City. The dynamism of the city inspired the strong form and kinetic elements in her pieces. She has since returned to her roots in the Midwest and continues her silversmithing here, creating bold yet elegant jewelry with unique surface treatments.
Sarah introduces a new line consisting of earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings about every 10 months. She herself carefully crafts each and every piece and presents it as one of a limited edition.
Roann Mathias is an artist and educator who is experienced in a variety of media including abstract painting, photography, watercolor, and lettering. All of these varied interests can be seen in her art. Her work has been published in Somerset Studio Magazine, Letter Arts Review and Cloth Paper Scissors magazine. She taught calligraphy and mixed media workshops for several years throughout the U.S. and Canada. After receiving her MFA in 2015, she became an adjunct professor at Memphis College of Art and Southwest Tennessee Community College. Originally from New Orleans, the colorful architecture and plant life instilled in her a love of color and nature. Travels around the U.S. and Europe inspired her love of nature and the landscape. Influenced by her study of art history, she has drawn on abstract expressionism to create large gestural works.
Andrea Matus is a visual artist living in Vancouver, BC, who exhibits as well as teaches her unique combination of painting, collage, assemblage, and sculpture throughout the world with collectors in Canada, the United States, Europe, and Australia.
In her art, Matus creates powerful visual statements of the role of women in both history and mythology. Through her culling of images from contemporary sources, historic iconography, travels, and original designs, a sense of surreal worlds is evoked. Combining color, symbolism and ornamentation, each motif is a transport to a different time, place, and culture. Through her process, discordant shapes and designs are manipulated to find harmony where at first there seems none. A part of the human experience is created when these collections form new narratives and meanings.
The improvisational nature of collage coupled with the very deliberate method of painting creates a balance of spontaneity and premeditation in her work.
Ace, of Studio Luna Verde, wandered (and settled) into the shadow of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado after many years of exploring and hiking and driving all over the western U.S., living in beautiful locations like Point Arena, California / Moab, Utah / Flagstaff, Arizona. Experiences have included driving 1950s-era tour buses for Green Tortoise Adventure Travel / performing for a year with a three-ring circus / hiking into (and out of) the Grand Canyon so many times she’s lost count / living out of a ’72 Toyota Landcruiser for three (and a half) years while exploring the U.S. / and failing miserably at surfing on the Sea of Cortez in Baja California. She loves spicy chocolate, and lightening storms. Her largest creation thus far is having built her own studio, where she currently makes her eclectic jewelry and unabashedly embraces the art of imperfection.
Patricia Ann McNair
Patricia Ann McNair’s short story collection, Responsible Adults, was named a Distinguished Favorite by the Independent Press Awards. The Temple of Air (stories) was named Chicago Writers Association’s Book of the Year, Southern Illinois University’s Devil’s Kitchen Readers Award, and Society of Midland Authors Finalist Award. Her collection of essays, And These Are the Good Times, was a Montaigne Medal Finalist for Most Thought-Provoking Book of the Year.…Read More
Patricia Ann McNair’s short story collection, Responsible Adults, was named a Distinguished Favorite by the Independent Press Awards. The Temple of Air (stories) was named Chicago Writers Association’s Book of the Year, Southern Illinois University’s Devil’s Kitchen Readers Award, and Society of Midland Authors Finalist Award. Her collection of essays, And These Are the Good Times, was a Montaigne Medal Finalist for Most Thought-Provoking Book of the Year. She was named to Chicago’s NewCity Lit 50 list, and A Writer to Watch by Chicago’s Guild Literary Complex. She is on the editorial board of Solstice Lit Magazine, the advisory board of the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame, and the curatorial board of the Ragdale Foundation. Now associate professor emerita in creative writing, McNair taught at Columbia College Chicago for more than three decades and was nominated for the U.S. Carnegie Professor of the Year. She lives in Tucson with her husband, visual artist Philip Hartigan.
Flash Forms (a cross-genre workshop) – Writing Retreat
Manuscript Consultations – Writing Retreat
Trained as a painter, 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.
Moninski is strongly influenced by history, nature, and numerous 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, Ragdale Foundation, and the Roger Tory Peterson Institute. An educator with over 20 years of experience, he has employed diverse media and approaches in the course of his teaching.
Joanne Nelson is the author of the memoir This Is How We Leave (Vine Leaves Press) and the forthcoming My Neglected Gods. Her writing appears in anthologies and literary journals such as Brevity, The Museum of Americana, and Redivider. Nelson writes creative non-fiction, essays, poetry, and commentaries on craft.
Certified as a meditation and mindfulness teacher by the McLean Meditation Institute, Nelson leads retreats and workshops on topics related to meditation, writing, and creativity. She also teaches creative writing classes for the continuing education program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee at Waukesha. Nelson lives in Hartland, Wisconsin, where she develops and leads community programs, maintains a psychotherapy practice, and adjuncts. She holds an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars and an MSSW from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The Second Half of Life: A Creative Retreat for a Time of Deep Change
Gary Warren Niebuhr
Gary Warren Niebuhr is a found object, mixed media, collage and assemblage artist. Gary’s art has been included in exhibitions at Alverno College (Milwaukee, WI), Anderson Arts Center (Kenosha, WI), ARTgarage (Green Bay, WI), Cedarburg Cultural Center (WI), Fond du Lac Public Library (WI), Grafton Arts Mill (WI), Hilliard Gallery (Kansas City, MO), Kenosha Public Museum (WI), John Michael Kohler Arts Center (Sheboygan, WI), Monmouth Museum of Art (NJ), Mount Mary University (Wauwatosa, WI), Museum of Wisconsin Art (West Bend, WI), Re:Vision Gallery and Artist Studio (Kenosha, WI), Two Fish Gallery (Elkhart Lake, WI), Walker’s Point Center for the Arts (Milwaukee, WI), and the Wustum Museum (Racine, WI). Gary’s art is represented by Dee-Construction Gallery (Mineral Point). A10-year retrospective of Gary’s work was hung at the Milwaukee High School of the Arts in 2106. Gary was the curator of Connections, an exhibition of assemblage art at Re:Vision Gallery and Artist Studio in 2017 and had a solo exhibition at the Anderson Arts Center in 2021 called Nailing Crap Together and Calling It Art.
Gary served 40 years as a public librarian and now enjoys his retirement making art, take photographs, gardening, and watching old films and current sports. Gary lives in Milwaukee with his wife Denice and his cats Boginskaya and Biakabutuka.
Kate Olsen Birner
I live in Mineral Point, the best small town in America! This is my 32nd year teaching elementary art. I am a practicing artist with work in a few galleries and have participated in many shows over the years. Unless it is a commission from a client, most of my artwork starts out as a dream, so I work in a variety of media, depending on the dream.
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.
Josh Petit discovered blacksmithing and welding at Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts in 2021 after moving to Mineral Point. Josh, trained as an electrical engineer, today is a cybersecurity analyst at Roseburg Forest Products. He currently serves as a facilitator of Shake Rag Alley’s Blacksmithing and Welding program and as vice president on the Board of Directors.
Blacksmithing & Welding Open Forge Day – May
Blacksmithing & Welding Open Forge Day – June
Blacksmithing & Welding Open Forge Day – July
Blacksmithing & Welding Open Forge Day – August
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, American abstract painter, was born in Dallas, Texas. She studied art and English at Southern Methodist University and upon graduation moved to Los Angeles. Over the next five years she traveled widely in the U.S., Spain, and England. In London she worked as an assistant at a small pottery studio and upon returning to the U.S., enrolled in Don Bendel’s innovative process-centered ceramics program at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. After completing graduate studies, she and her husband, artist Thomas Post, moved to Davis, California, where they opened a pottery studio, TSPost Ceramics, active from 1981 until 2010.
Post concentrated on ceramic wall pieces, which were recognized for their innovative color and painterly abstract imagery. Her work was exhibited and sold at local and national venues including the American Craft Museum and the Smithsonian. She completed numerous public commissions from large single works to whole floor installations. In 2008, she rediscovered drawing and printmaking during a residency in Italy at Il Bisonte press in Florence. Those activities led to experiments with mixed media painting combining collage, drawing, oil paint and cold wax medium, which are exhibited in group and solo shows and sold nationally.
Post currently maintains a studio, Art 26, in downtown Davis. Her paintings are known for quiet but complex abstract surfaces. She exhibits widely and teaches adult workshops in abstract painting and drawing at art centers and studios nationally. She is represented by Sparrow Gallery in Sacramento, California, and Sager-Reeves Gallery in Columbia, Missouri.
Julie Raasch is a jewelry artist who works in copper, often using a technique known as fold-forming. She has always been a creative person, loving art and making since she was a child. Julie studied anthropology and biology in college, but after graduation realized she enjoyed creating the covers and making the graphics and diagrams for the papers she turned in more than writing them. With that in mind she returned to school to study graphic design. Julie has worked for years as a graphic designer. While working as a designer she began making jewelry for herself as a form of self-expression. She started making rosery-style chains to combine with and embellish repurposed vintage jewelry. She soon found she enjoyed making them and couldn’t possibly wear (or gift) everything she made, so opened an Etsy shop in 2008. While working as a designer/artist at UW-Madison she took her first metalsmithing class. The 8-week course set her on a path to working with metal. After exploring traditional metal techniques, Julie started to slowly build a home studio. She started only with a few basics and therefore was limited to what she could make. These limitations led to the exploration and discovery of a fairly young form of metalsmithing…fold-forming! Julie now combines her love of nature and her love for fold-forming to create nature-inspired handcrafted jewelry. She may include etching and traditional metalsmith techniques in conjunction with the folding, but at the heart of much of her work is fold-forming. Through the use of fold-forming she is able to create small sculptural pieces of wearable art that celebrate the natural world.
I was a graphic artist for the Madison Metro School District for 38 years before retiring. Prior to that I was at two different ad agencies. I have been enjoying out-of-the-norm gourd projects for 16 years. I started by joining the Wisconsin Gourd Society. Additionally, I was the co-editor for the Gourderly Quarterly newsletter and contributed and assembled articles and photos for it until WGS ended in 2020. My gourd art has been in the Monroe Art Gallery, The Middleton Public Library, the Madison Civic Center and is currently with three galleries in Janesville, Mineral Point and Middleton. I have taught a variety of gourd classes throughout the years including at Olbrich Botanical Gardens. This past summer, I was in two arts festivals and may pursue more in the future! There is so much out there still to be experienced. It is a unique art form available to everyone and anyone.
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.
Paper Printing Alchemy: Botanical and Rusting Methods
“I seek out the cast off, the unwanted, the lost and forgotten. My subjects are steeped in nostalgia and speak to the past. I am interested in the places where sadness and longing linger. I am attracted to decaying landscapes and spaces where metaphor and myth dance together. I look for the place where dreams, memory, and trauma intersect. My work is about exploring the location in the mind between seeing and knowing. I mapping a place in memory that may have never been.”
Lorraine Reynolds is a mixed media artist who works in fiber, assemblage, collage, video, and installation. A storyteller by nature, she uses reclaimed materials to help further the narrative in her work. She holds an MFA in visual art from Vermont College of Fine Art. Lorraine has taught and exhibited her work regionally as well as nationally. When she is not working in her studio or teaching, she is employed in the fashion industry as a technical designer. She lives in Mineral Point with her husband and enormously affectionate German Shorthair Pointer. She served on the board of Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts in 2015-22.
Mending Hearts: Stitching Recycled Fibers Into Sculpture
Customize Your Look: Upcycled/Recycled Denim-Youth Program
Upcycled Mixed-Media Collage Cards