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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FeLion is inspired and run by artists Alisa Toninato & her partner, Andrew McManigal. Through her cast iron artworks & vibrant studio community, Toninato exposes the true grit & culture of DIY iron artists to her city, the country & the globe.
FeLion Studios is a design / build sculpture studio specializing in cast iron art, custom castings and commercial commissions. We’re driven by a craft-centric methodology that strives to exceed expectations in every aspect of our process, from concept to design and into the final finish.
Tamara Tsurkan started painting as a child and attended an art school in her home town in Ukraine. Over the last twelve years, she has worked in several different media, and now mainly works with fiber (www.feltedanimals.com). She uses needle felting techniques to create paintings and sculptures from wool, then combines them with recycled objects so the finished work is essentially a mini-story. She enjoys using wool for her paintings because it allows her to create 3-dimensional characters in paintings that (literally) pop out of the frame. Much of her work depicts animals in unique and light-hearted, fantastical scenes.
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 silver metal clay. 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.
Angela Voras-Hills’ first collection of poems, Louder Birds (Pleiades 2020), was chosen by Traci Brimhall for the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Poetry Prize. Her writing has appeared in Kenyon Review Online, Prairie Schooner, Best New Poets, American Poetry Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and New Ohio Review, among other journals and anthologies. She has received grants from The Sustainable Arts Foundation and Key West Literary Seminar, as well as a fellowship at Writers’ Room of Boston. She is currently a PhD student at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and associate editor of Cream City Review.
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.
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.
Katie White grew up on a farm in Stockton, IL. She graduated from Northern Illinois University in 2012 with a BFA degree in ceramics. She has participated in ceramic residencies throughout the country including the Cub Creek Foundation in Appomattox, VA, Red Lodge Clay Center in Red Lodge, MT, as well as at Wichita State University in Wichita, KS. Katie moved to Mineral Point in June 2017 and worked as studio assistant at Bruce Howdle Studio. She continues to create her pottery and sculpture at the Globe Clay Center and wood fires in the Mineral Point area.
John and Marcia Whitt
John Whitt is a self-taught rustic furniture designer/creator from Missouri, and has been creating pieces from magazine racks to canopy beds since 1982. By consulting experts in kiln drying and wood finishing, he has brought modern technology into his construction techniques.
Marcia is a functional and contemporary basket maker. She has been making baskets since 1981 in her Bent Tree Basket studio on the family farm in northwest Missouri. She enjoys incorporating locally-found natural materials into each piece. She also works in wood media.
John and Marcia collaborate on some items, and walking sticks is one of them. John harvests and dries the willow, Marcia does the stripping, and both enjoy designing and wood burning the walking sticks.
Jane Wilcoxson is a visual storyteller who works with oil pastels and acrylics. She creates colorful and textured paintings that portray stories and explore themes such as finding one’s place, adjusting to change, and living as a part of the earth’s huge ecosystem. Her works are full of abundant vegetation, quirky animals, fantastical people, and improbable buildings.
Born and educated in the U.K., she became a child artist attending the Leek College of Art and Design at the age of 10. By the age of 16, Jane had become a full-time art student and then went on to complete her BA in fine art painting at Loughborough College of Art and Design and her post-graduate in education at Birmingham Polytechnic. She has exhibited her work extensively in Europe and the United States, winning many awards, and her work has also been published in a children’s book and featured in the Art Educators of Illinois Mosaic magazine.
Jane works from either her studio/gallery in Mineral Point or her Oswego, Illinois, home studio.
Julie Wildman is a well-regarded professional in the fields of graphic design, commercial lettering, calligraphy, and workshops. Her studio is in northwest Indiana, only 30 minutes from downtown Chicago.
Her calligraphic interest began in the late ’80s after a friend gave her Timothy Botts’ book Doorposts, and she saw the written word illustrated in such a way as never before. About ten years later, she had the privilege of taking a year-long class with an internationally known calligrapher and was hooked. She joined the Chicago Calligraphy Collective soon after and embarked on a lifelong journey of studying letters.
Since then, her work has been exhibited in juried shows throughout the Midwest and the U.S., including the Newberry Library in Chicago. In 2007 and 2014, her pieces “Psalm 117” and “An Alphabet Book,” respectively, won the Newberry’s Purchase Prize Award and became a part of the library’s permanent collection. Her work has also been published in many issues of Letter Arts Review, as well as Bound & Lettered, a publication featuring the works of accomplished calligraphers and book artists. She has also been published in Alphabet, a quarterly publication put out by Friends of Calligraphy in San Francisco, and in Communication Arts Design Annual #59, September 2018.
She loves line, shape, color, texture, paper, ink, and paint and often can’t believe she gets to play with them for a living! She enthusiastically shares her love of “beautiful writing” with young and old by teaching calligraphy for staff development classes, on-site promotional events, community programs and personal growth workshops throughout the Chicagoland area, U.S., and Canada. And now with Zoom classes, she has taught hundreds of students from more than 20 countries around the world.
Gail is a mixed media artist who works with photography, assemblage, collage, and ceramics. She loves experimenting and combining as many of these mediums as she can in her work — whatever it takes to express an idea! Having been a teacher in adult education for 30 years, she loves teaching all levels of students. Her work can be seen locally and nationally in museum and gallery shows. She happily lives amid nature in southeastern Wisconsin.
Laura has been living and making in Chicago since 2016. They studied ceramics and printmaking at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and feel extremely fortunate to be a part of the Chicago makers’ community. Laura spent time working and making at Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts and Haystack School of Craft post graduation. They’ve led making workshops at The Digs Studio, Rock Valley College, and local urban farms. They currently teach ceramics full time at Penguin Foot Pottery in Chicago and believe teaching to be an extremely important aspect of their making practice.
“As a teacher, I feel an added sense of purpose in my work. I’m studying the medium in an effort to pass these ideas and findings on to those who attend my classes. I adore making and feel incredibly humbled and fortunate to be able to do so full time. My artwork centers around storytelling and play. In my classes I hope to encourage others to connect with their own stories while loosening up and remembering the joy that encompasses creating.”
Greg Winz brings a background in metallurgy as well as some Folklore Village showmanship to his blacksmithing workshops. Greg, trained as a machinist, retired as a research technician from UW-Madison. He enjoys sharing his love of the metal arts with aspiring students.
Mark Witzling spent his professional brand marketing career around writers, designers, and artists who visually shaped his ideas. It was during a trip to Italy that he was moved to helm his own creative trek. Stirred by the frescos of Rome and Florence, where art was intended to be part of the landscape, he picked up a brush when he returned home, diving headfirst into a variety of creative experiences to unleash his own artistic ambition. His foundation began in representational oil painting, but the combination of oil and malleable cold wax together with more introspective subjects steered him toward abstraction. Mark has studied in studios across the country and his work is in the Museum of Encaustic Art in Santa Fe and in collections across the U.S., Europe, and Asia. His work appears in the book Cold Wax Medium – Techniques, Concepts, Conversations (Crowell & McLAughlin) and in 2020 and 2021 he was included in Artfolio, A Curated Collection of the World’s Most Exciting Artists. Mark has received several awards and an Artist Grant from the Regional Arts Commission (St. Louis). He was also selected into the prestigious two-year St. Louis Art Fair Emerging Artist program in 2017-18, and in 2018 he was an artist-in-residence at Chateau Orquevaux in France. He continues to paint regularly in the same studio where he started over 20 years ago. When not in his studio painting, Mark is executive director of Craft Alliance in St Louis. He holds degrees from Macalester College and Boston University.
David and JoEllen Wollangk
“As life-long crafters and artists, we try everything. We have done workshops on both Viking Knitting and Fold Forming numerous times. We like helping others learn the basic techniques and provide a creative outlet.”
Denise Anton Wright
Denise Anton Wright has made three really good decisions in her life: becoming a librarian, marrying her husband, and dabbling in jewelry-making. Since retiring from Library Land in 2015, Denise spends her days creating, taking care of two high-maintenance cats, and watching lots of classic old movies while working on jewelry projects. Her growth as an artist and creator has been helped immeasurably by the wonderful classes that she’s taken at Shake Rag Alley (a big shout-out to Lorraine Reynolds). Her jewelry business is Salve Regina Tchotchkes; the name is a combination of Latin and Yiddish and can be very roughly translated as: shiny objects with no practical purpose for our Heavenly Queen.