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.
Search by Category
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Paul Pendola is a full-time Galena, IL-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.
You can find Paul’s work, and watch him work, at Galena Spoon Co., his retail shop located at 201 Hill Street in the heart of historic downtown Galena, IL. Paul participants in several leading traditional American art and craft fairs including The Galena Country Fair (Galena, IL) and The Waterford Fair (Waterford, VA), among others. Additionally, Also, Paul sells his work via several boutique retailer throughout the Driftless Region of northwestern Illinois, online at http://www.galenaspoonco.com, and via national wholesale accounts including The Holland Bowl Mill.
Interested in learning how to carve a spoon? Consider taking one of Paul’s classes here at Shake Rag Alley, at the Galena ARC, or at his home-based workshop, The Spoon Carver Cottage, located in downtown Galena, IL.
Paul (Galena Spoon Co.) has artist profiles on EnjoyIllinois.com and VisitGalena.org, and is an active member of the Galena Area Chamber of Commerce, The Galena Downtown Business Association, Key City Creative Center (Dubuque), Premier Business Partner of the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation, and active in many arts organizations in the Driftless Region.
Paul is a Chicago native, currently a full-time Galena, IL resident, and holds a master’s degree from the Cornell University School of Business.
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.
I have worked as a graphic artist for 38 years with the Madison school district. In 2005, I discovered the world of gourd art. For the last 15 years I have taught gourd art classes, exhibited at various galleries, and have been the co-editor for the Wisconsin Gourd Society’s newsletter. There is so much still to discover!
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.
“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, son, and two enormously affectionate German Shorthair Pointers. She has served on the board of Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts since 2015.
Christine Rice’s novel Swarm Theory was recently awarded the Chicago Writers Association Book of the Year Award (Honorable Mention), an Independent Publisher Book Award (Silver for Best First Book), and a National Indie Excellence Award – Winner (Regional Fiction – Midwest). Swarm Theory also made PANK’s Best Books of 2016, was included in Powell’s Books Midyear Roundup, the Best Books of 2016 So Far, and was called “a gripping work of Midwest Gothic” by Michigan Public Radio’s Desiree Cooper. Most recently, her short stories
have been published in BELT’s Rust Belt Anthology, The Literary Review, American University of Beirut’s Rusted Radishes, F Magazine, and online at Roanoke Review and Bird’s Thumb, among others. Her essays, interviews, and long-form journalism have appeared in The Rumpus, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Big Smoke, The Millions, the Chicago Tribune, Detroit’s Metro Times, among other publications, and her radio essays have been produced by WBEZ Chicago. Christine taught in Columbia College Chicago’s Fiction Writing Programs for over 20 years, is currently the managing editor of Hypertext Magazine, and director of the social
justice storytelling nonprofit organization Hypertext Magazine & Studio.
Short Story – Writing Retreat
Manuscript Consultations – Writing Retreat
Dave was looking for a hobby after retirement and found Shake Rag Alley. He started with a welding class with Bob Tuftee who suggested he try blacksmithing. After taking several classes using a coal forge, Dave decided on a more modern approach to blacksmithing with a gas forge, MIG welder, and oxy-acetylene torch. Dave has worked on many pieces from traditional hooks and fire pokers, to tomahawks and flower sculptures. He sells his work at a local craft studio and is a member of UMBA (Upper Midwest Blacksmith Association).
I now live in a small town of Hopkinton, Iowa. Spent most of my adult life taking all kinds of craft classes. The ones I enjoyed I practiced a lot so I could master them. Some of the crafts I really enjoyed most include carving, knitting, tatting, Hedebo, papercutting and Zentangle. I try to incorporate some of the crafts together. I have really enjoyed putting Zentangle on carvings. When people see them, they ask me to teach classes. I really enjoy passing along the craft to others.
Jamie Rogness is a highly creative and versatile artist who works in a broad range of mediums, predominently using natural materials. She is a master woodcarver, working with both hand and power tools to create intricate sculptures from tree branches and exquisite designs on ostrich eggs. Her concrete leaf castings are beautifully realistic. She has taught a variety of classes at the annual Woodlanders Gathering at Shake Rag Alley for over 10 years, including handsome, handmade lampshades with a touch of nature.
Mark Russell has been creating landscape and nature paintings for more than 20 years. Through his workshops, he enjoys sharing information and techniques with an emphasis on exploration and creating within individual styles. His workshops are a mix of hands-on experimentation and instructor demos with an emphasis on encouragement, exploration, and creativity for participants of all levels.
Mark’s oil paintings focus on landscape and nature. Surface provides inspiration: the texture of a rock, the edges of a cloud, the reflections and movement in water, the veil of light on a hazy day. He builds layer upon layer to the surface of his paintings, through a process of scraping, rubbing, adding and subtracting. As in nature, some moves are bold while others are more subtle, like the trickle of a stream on a mountainside or the constant motion of waves on a rocky beach. Each painting starts with a plan and, at times, can veer off path to reveal a surprise.
He has exhibited his work in group shows with galleries and museums across the country. He has won numerous awards and is an Illinois Arts Council Grant recipient. His paintings are included in private and corporate collections. Previously, Mark was an award-winning designer focusing on consumer goods packaging graphics. He holds degrees from DePaul University and the American Academy of Art in Chicago.
I started working with metal in 2000. I moved in and took over my husband’s small motor repair shop and began fabricating lawn ornaments. I began incorporating blacksmithing into my work after going to a thresher man’s show. My husband built me a forge and we started going to every blacksmith event we could find. Afterward, I would go back to my shop and practice what I learned from the demonstrator.
In 2005 I was introduced to copper. It was the same thing all over again. Learn and practice. I enjoy working with both metals. Blacksmithing may have been my first love, but copper is my passion. I most enjoy the design and teaching others how to create pieces in copper. I cannot admit that I am self taught for I have learned from demonstrators and the many friends who have encouraged and supported me. I am fortunate to be able to teach, demonstrate, and share what I have learned over the years – to pass it on, as they may say. My husband and I are members of IVBA, UMBA, IBA, ABANA and SOFA. I have enjoyed every minute of learning both of these fine crafts.
Nick Scheuer has been carving birds since he was a Boy Scout 40 years ago. He has developed a coloring system as popular as his rustic, whittled, carving style. His colorful songbird carvings may be seen at Longbranch Gallery in Mineral Point.