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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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.
Eva Sherman began beading as a way to spend time with her daughters but soon became hopelessly addicted. In 2005 she traded in her architectural career for the opportunity to spend all her time among beads, and opened Grand River Bead Studio in Cleveland, Ohio. Eva now happily spends most days in the studio creating, writing, and teaching, but has been known to take her show on the road. She has discovered an affinity for working with wire and metals, and prefers to design in an organic and unstructured style. Eva has authored two books on jewelry design: Organic Wire & Metal Jewelry and Cool Copper Cuffs.
Cheryl Smeja is a Mineral Point leather artist, nationally known for her pioneering work in wet-formed leather sculpture. She has appeared on The Carol Duvall Show, taught at national leather conventions and has had articles published in The Leather Crafters and Saddlers journal. For over 25 years she sold her formed leather masks, wall hangings, jewelry, pots, and more at art fairs and from her Mineral Point gallery/shop. Now semi-retired, Cheryl enjoys pursuing other interests such as needle felting, wire jewelry, polymer clay, paper making, and Photoshop image manipulation. Cheryl serves on the Shake Rag Alley Curriculum Committee. A versatile artisan and dedicated teacher, Cheryl is ever ready for a new challenge.
Dan Soman has been a Woodlander since the Wisconsin event began in 2000. He’s taken many different classes, apprenticed with some of the “masters,” and has taught at Woodlanders, at Shake Rag Alley’s Garden Getaway, and at Olbrich Gardens. He’s very handy with tools and materials, but especially likes traditional willow work such as teepee trellises, and he likes working with gourds, also.
Carole Spelić creates a variety of artworks from many media. Originally from the East Coast, she earned her MFA and then spent 17 years as a productive artist in Manhattan. She now lives in Mineral Point and works at Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts. Check out her music output with bands Point Five and Stay Tuned! Carole and her partner, artist Richard Moninski, own the Green Lantern Studios where they create their artwork, cuddle Lena the cat, and enjoy the downtown vibe.
I was first drawn to Japanese woodblock printmaking through my study of Japanese kites. The delicately applied and boldly colored designs on many Japanese kites were made using the Moku Hanga method. It was exciting to find a printmaking method that was free of solvents, power tools, and required only a small table-top-sized space. Through Japanese woodblock printmaking I have been able to explore my love for nature and portraiture. Woodblock printmaking allows me to pare these subjects down to what I find essentially beautiful about them. I have a BFA in drawing from Northern Illinois University. My work has been featured in regional, national, and international shows and can be found year-round at the Longbranch Gallery in Mineral Point and the Woodwalk Gallery in Egg Harbor, Wisconsin.
I am a fiber artist for the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Artisan and Business Center. I assist clients with finishing their long-arm quilting projects or sewing projects. I also teach crocheting, natural and synthetic dyeing, weaving, and I have just learned spinning. I have also been a costumer in the Brown County area for the last 26 years.
Teresa is an Accredited McGown Teacher and director of North Central McGown Teachers Workshop in Dubuque, IA, which is held annually in late April. The annual week-long workshop encourages individuals to learn rug hooking techniques and achieve their McGown Accreditation. Teresa is a member of both the Association of Traditional Hooking Artists and the National Guild of Pearl McGown Rug HooKrafters. Owner of Black Earth Woolens, Teresa has been designing rugs for over 15 years and is experienced with doing florals, geometrics, pictorials, monochromatic, faces, impressionism, paisleys, primitives, water, light reflection, tessellations, kaleidoscope, mandalas, dip dyes, swatches, and rug braiding.
Rug hooking has been a journey of learning various techniques, expressing her desire to create patterns, color planning, dyeing wool and the joy of meeting fiber artists. Teresa works with recycled wool/new wool and enjoys fine cut to primitive pieces. Teresa is a seasoned traveler and with her 20 years of experience teaching, she is excited to share rug hooking techniques and experiences.
Diane Sterba was the first Youth Program Director at Shake Rag Alley where she organized and taught classes for kids, taught adult classes, facilitated art retreats and ran a weekly Women’s Art Party, still thriving today, in which women come together to play with art “as a process, not for the product.” With a Masters in Education and over 30 years teaching experience from preschool through graduate levels, Diane loves inspiring others to access their creative self. As an artist she explores her creativity through a wide variety of media and is influenced by folk art, nature and the children and adults she works with.
Roxanne Evans Stout
I live and create in the beautiful Pacific Northwest and the mountains and the river lands that surround my home are my constant inspiration. I share my art in workshops throughout the United States and have had my work shown and been published internationally. I also teach online workshops to students who are from all over the world and design stencils for StencilGirl Products. Teaching enables me to share my passion … nothing makes me more happy than helping my students through their own process of renewal. My goal is to help you find your own magic. Through my art I would like to convey the feeling of connecting, timelessness and re-creation.
My first book, Storytelling with Collage, was published in March 2016 by North Light Books. And my second book, Dancing on Raindrops, was just released in July, 2017. Both are available on Amazon Books.
As an artist I am constantly learning and growing. Art is my passion, my love, my soul.
“Mixed media, acrylic paints, calligraphy, bookbinding, and fiber arts – I have loved them all since I first discovered each medium. Personal artistic development has been a lifeline as I work my way through the challenges life has brought. My mixed media, book art, calligraphic, and acrylic work has been shown in galleries and top juried art fairs nationwide. I believe that asking ‘what if?’ and keeping a spirit of adventure and discovery is important as I follow my creative path and attempt to make something original. I love experimenting with texture, layers, marks, paint, and dyes. I have been a teaching artist for 30 years and I love to teach! Seeing the joy in a student’s face when they create something that pleases them brings me joy. I am grateful for the opportunities I have been given to inspire others to be creative. I am proud to be a certified teaching artist for Golden Paints.”
Jacquelyn Thomas recently returned to the Driftless Area of Wisconsin, after living more than thirty years in a Madison housing project where she served as director of an on-site community learning center. In poetry, fiction, and nonfiction workshops with the UW-Madison Creative Writing Program and Madison Writers’ Studio, she has had the opportunity to learn from many brilliant writers, including: Amy Quan Barry; Lorrie Moore; Rob Nixon; Jesse Lee Kercheval; Judith Claire Mitchell; Ron Kuka; Michelle Wildgen; Susanna Daniel; and visiting writers, including her lodestar author, Jo Ann Beard.
Her poetry has been published in small press magazines and recognized by the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters, which awarded her first-place in the 2020 Wisconsin People & Ideas Fiction Contest. Her nonfiction work has been published by Proximity Magazine, where it was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and is forthcoming in Fourth Genre, as runner up in the 2020 Michael Steinberg Memorial Essay Contest.
Evy Thuli is an artist and educator with many interests. Recently retired from full-time teaching after 36 years, Evy is pursuing a variety of media including stained glass mosaics, hand lettering, and ceramics, to name a few. Originally from west-central Wisconsin, Evy works and resides in rural Dodgeville with her husband, Bob, surrounded by acres of restored prairie. A Border collie named Tallie and a cat named Whiskers keep Evy company in her studio while she works. Her love of teaching continues as she shares knowledge through workshops for children and adults.
Bob Tuftee has been blacksmithing almost 30 years now. “I started out making ironware for my camping gear doing Mountain Man rendezvous events.” Bob lives in LeClaire, Iowa, and has done all kinds of blacksmithing, including forge work for his business, Upper Mississippi Valley Mercantile Company. He has sold to re-enactors across the country and has also sold ironware to movie and production companies. He has been the village blacksmith at Pioneer Village in Scott County Park, Davenport, Iowa, for the past 25 years, plus teaching and leading workshops at the Old Blacksmith Shop at the Galena History Museum in Illinois. Bob is an active member of ABANA (Artist Blacksmith Association of North America), IVBA (Illinois Valley Blacksmith Association), and UMBA (Upper Midwest Blacksmith Association), and is currently a board member of UMBA. He has taken several advanced blacksmithing classes throughout the years. Most of his blacksmithing work is done in a coal forge. Bob retired in 2012. He worked almost 45 years in skilled trades as a millwright and certified welder, the last 28 at Alcoa in the Davenport area.
Sherry Viktora is a senior instructor in precious metal clay for PMC Connection. She brings a love of nature and gardening to her art and an enthusiasm for sharing to her teaching. She combines metal clay with glass and organic materials to create unique work. After receiving PMCC Certifications and Art Clay Instructor Certification, Sherry retired to become a full-time senior instructor. Sherry’s work has been published in national art and jewelry magazines and can be found at Longbranch Gallery in Mineral Point.
Nancy retired from the world of graphic design and business ownership. With a degree in art and as part of her new journey, she is teaching playful art classes, taking creative classes and exploring the world of ceramic art and traveling whenever she can.
Photography instructor Marie Whisenant has been passionate about image-making since she was a child. Initially drawn to drawing and painting, she discovered photography as an artistic medium 20 years ago and has been clicking away ever since. She has shown her work in numerous galleries over the years and does occasional commercial work, including portraiture and product photography. She also has also been teaching photography and Photoshop classes for adults and kids at the technical college level, privately and through community programs for several years. Marie loves combining her passions for education and photography, and sharing in her students’ “aha!” moments!
I am a McGown-certified rug hooking teacher and have been hooking since 1994. I have taught classes since 1997. I have traveled extensively around the country teaching workshops. I enjoy teaching all levels of students and will cover many subjects such as color planning, dyeing, techniques, etc. I prefer teaching open classes allowing the students to choose their project for the class.
Joelle has been throwing pottery for 10 years. She studied at UW-Platteville in 2008-11, acquiring a biology and art background. After graduation she developed a love for the wood-fired pottery process and enjoys decorating the surfaces of her functional pots with floral designs.