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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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. Her work has appeared in literary magazines, won or placed in contests, and been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.
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.
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 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.
Kathy Warpinski is a retired teacher who loves art. Studying with Jeb Prazak over the years she has explored watercolor, acrylic, pastels, collage, mixed media, and alcohol inks. Often working with found papers, she has taught paper arts to school kids and has volunteered in after-school and library art programs. She is also involved in mail art and international postcard exchanges. “Art is for everyone!”
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!
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. White moved to Mineral Point in June of 2017 where she worked as studio assistant at Bruce Howdle Studio. She continues to create her pottery and sculpture in the Sardeson Pottery Studio and wood-fires in the Mineral Point area.
John and Marcia Whitt
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.
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 lead 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 story-telling 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.”
During her art teaching days at Wingra School in Madison, Lindy’s favorite class offering was “Mish Mosh” Fridays. That’s when the kids were greeted by an overabundance of art supplies, found objects, “whatzits”, sticks and other gifts from nature. Lindy marveled at the creative and unique assemblages that were born. That sort of creative spirit is what calls Lindy to the Woodlanders Gatherings! Her mantra…”what else could this be?”
Greg Winz brings a background in metallurgy as well as some Folklore Village showmanship to his blacksmithing workshops. Greg, trained as a machinist, today is a research technician at UW-Madison. He enjoys sharing his love of the metal arts with aspiring students.
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.”
Rita Yanny exhibits her collages, paintings, and mixed media pieces in galleries and museums in the United States and in Japan. For more than 25 years, she has worked as a teacher and led workshops for children and adults in a variety of settings. Rita earned a bachelor of science degree in art education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is both a lifelong Wisconsin resident and an enthusiastic traveler.
Catherine Young is a writer and performing artist whose work is infused with a keen sense of place.
She worked as a national park ranger, farmer, mother, and educator. Her writing has been published in the anthologies The Driftless Reader, Permanent Vacation II: Eighteen Writers on Work and Life in Our National Parks, Imagination and Place: Cartography, and in Contours. Her work appears internationally and nationally in Reliquiae, The Island Review, About Place, Ascent, Minding Nature, Fourth River, Hippocampus, Literary Mama, and Midwest Review. Her children’s fiction, nonfiction, and poetry appeared in Cricket. In 2020, Catherine’s full-length memoir Black Diamonds, Blue Flames: A Childhood Colored By Coal was long listed for the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize, and a short memoir piece was a semi-finalist for Hippocampus’ Remember in November contest.
Catherine is author of the poetry collection Geosmin (Scent of Earth) released in 2022 by Water’s Edge Press.
Rooted in farm life, Catherine lives with her family in Wisconsin’s Driftless Area. Her writings and podcasts are available on her website.
Catherine shares her delight in finding the heart of a story.