shake rag alley news

workshop news

June 2020

Greetings from Shake Rag Alley, where we’re looking forward to safely reopening to the public June 1. 

While a number of our June workshops have been postponed or canceled, we look forward to welcoming students and instructors to nine arts and crafts adult workshops next month, and kicking off our summer Youth Program via alternative delivery (read on for more details). A hallmark of our workshops is their intimate size on our peaceful 2.5-acre campus in our small, rural crowd-free town. Shake Rag Alley and Mineral Point are ideal destinations for those ready to safely visit.     

We’ll be spending the rest of this month preparing our classrooms and guest rooms for our reopening, and communicating with students, instructors, and guests about what they can expect as we implement safety protocols in accordance with state and CDC guidelines. We continue to be grateful for your patience and understanding during these unprecedented times. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at or (608) 987-3292.

upcoming june workshops

Intro to Torch Welding
June 7 – 1 SEAT LEFT! (Register by May 25)
Dennis McKernan

Want to give welding a try? Learn the process of cutting and welding mild steel that will give you the basics for working on steel sculptural assemblages.

T-Shirt / Memory Quilt Class
June 12-14 (Register by June 1)
Deirdra Stary

Make a cuddly memory quilt for yourself — or someone special? This is the class to learn the technique. Take old clothes, T-shirts, and the like to make a quilt that reveals and records that person’s life.

Textured Slab & Slump Mold
June 13 – SOLD OUT
Katie White

Using the slab roller, stamps, and slump molds, you’ll be able to create a number of both decorative and utilitarian objects like wall tiles, soap dishes, and simple bowls.

Blacksmithing 101
June 19-21 – SOLD OUT
Bob Tuftee

Start with the basics: tending the coal fire, hammer control, use of the anvil and tongs. Move on to hot iron forging projects: hooks, plant hangers, bottle openers, key chain fobs, and more.

Robust Rag Rug
June 20 – SOLD OUT
Carole Spelić

Weave a traditional “rag” rug on an antique heavy-duty loom made just for this purpose. You will be making a serious piece of floor covering, about 28″ wide and 5′ long. The looms are warped and ready to go — just show up and weave!

Rings: Sculptures for Your Fingers!
June 25-26 (Register by June 15)
Sarah Mann

Explore the components of making a beautiful ring – proportion, size, balance, design, materials, and comfort – add your creativity and inspiration to fashion a piece of art for your finger!

Composing an Interesting Photo
June 27 (Register by June 15)
Marie Whisenant

Through discussion, examples, and hands-on exercises, learn what to include in your images and how to arrange those elements to create more dynamic photos. Appropriate for beginning to intermediate photographers.

Digital Photography: Exploring Depth of Field
June 27 (Register by June 15)
Marie Whisenant

Through discussion, examples, and hands-on exercises, learn to control the sharpness of foreground and background elements to strengthen your images.

Chain: Expand Your Horizons
June 27-28 (Register by June 15)
Sarah Mann

Discover new approaches to thoughtfully designing and fabricating jewelry in this intensive workshop focused on necklaces.

Art at Home Tutorials

As much as we eagerly await the return of our instructors, students, and guests, we encourage everyone to continue to stay safer at home as needed. The state of Wisconsin’s Badger Bounce Back Planencourages people over age 60 and those who are medically vulnerable to continue to shelter in place. If you can’t join us in person, several free Art at Home tutorials are available on our website.

Save the date for rescheduled writers retreat

The Writing Retreat originally scheduled for the last weekend in May has been postponed to September 25-27. But on May 31, you can join Writing Retreat Artistic Director Patricia Ann McNair for a Writing Retreat Workshop Sampler. At 12:30-3 p.m. Sunday, May 31, Patty will present From Memory to Story: A Remote Prompt Workshop for all levels and all writing genres. The emphasis will be on Mining Memories in order to discover self-guiding prompts for future writing projects. This 2.5-hour workshop experience will be held remotely via Zoom, and writers will explore, discover, write, and share. Watch our website for registration details or email us for more information.

For more information about workshops that have been postponed, canceled, or rescheduled, click below.

alternative delivery for youth programs

This year, our Summer Youth Program is not only full of fun and creative projects for youth of all ages, but it’s exploring new forms of delivery as well! Until our partners at the school district and public library feel it’s safe to welcome youth back to their buildings, we’ll follow suit and offer as many of our arts and crafts workshops as possible via curbside kit pickup with companion online tutorials. Youth Program Director Elizabeth Johanna and our instructors are hard at work on our plans for alternative delivery. Watch our website for updates, and email Elizabeth with any questions.

juNE events & updates


Our annual Tour of Fairy Homes, originally scheduled for June 6, has been postponed to August 1 – details will be forthcoming as the fairies make their plans.

In the meantime, fairy house kits will be available on the Shake Rag Alley campus on June 18, during Museum Night, from 5-8 p.m. Take a self-guided tour through our historic buildings and pick up inspiring supplies to build a fairy house at home.

Women’s Art Party returns June 17! Save the date and stay tuned for details on this month’s project, which you can enjoy in our large, airy Lind Pavilion or via Zoom. Email us to join the Women’s Art Party mailing list.

After last month’s inaugural virtual workshop, the Driftless Poets have decided to meet via Zoom again in June. If you are interested in participating, please send an email to join.

shake rag alley lodging reopening june 1

Escape to Shake Rag Alley next month and experience the bounty of spring blossoms while exploring our secluded historic campus.

Spend time on nearby hiking and bike trails, browse galleries and shops along uncrowded small-town streets, get curbside pick-up from local restaurants, and come home to a cozy room in the Coach House, the privacy of the Tuckpoint Garden Suite, or settle in among the eclectic treasures of Roland’s Loft.

Don’t forget: Shake Rag Alley workshop participants enjoy 10% off our lodging!

Father’s Day is coming! Do the dads in your life dream of becoming blacksmiths, quilters, painters, or craftsmen? Maybe they just want to get away and spend time exploring the natural beauty of Mineral Point or one of the many nearby state and county parks. Purchase a gift certificate online and let him plan his own adventure!

shop the shake rag alley artisan marketplace

Our Artisan Marketplace features artwork created and donated by members of our Shake Rag Alley community, including instructors, students, and volunteers. The purchase of their creations benefits the artisans and our nonprofit. Branded merchandise supports Shake Rag Alley general operations.

Shake your own “shake rag” to call your loved ones home. Legend has it wives did just that to call early miners home to dinner. These creations were screenprinted by hand by artists Carole Spelic’ and Richard Moninski.


We know you’ve been creating wonderful work at home during these months of quarantine. Please share your #artinthetimeofcorona creations. Send us an email with photos and tell us a little something about your project and staying-at-home experiences.

Here’s a faux stained glass window made of tiled comic strips from a favorite childhood toy: the Kenner Give-a-Show projector, circa 1966. “Not exactly art,” says creator Jacki Thomas, “more a project born of nostalgia, a craving for the end of winter, and far too much time at home online wishing to both block the world out and let joyful color in.”

consider becoming a shake rag alley instructor

It’s never too early to start thinking about 2021. Workshop proposals are due AUGUST 1.

At Shake Rag Alley, we like to create a sense of community and an aura of fun and enthusiasm among our students and instructors. The networking and fellowship brings everyone new friends, new ideas, and new opportunities (and, we hope, for the artists, commissions and sales!). Classes are small, usually 8-10 students, and run a half-day to two days or more.

Read through our Instructor Prospectus and submit your Workshop Proposal by August 1.

Your support of Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts is always greatly appreciated, but it arrives with a deeply felt burst of gratitude and jolt of hope these days. Please consider contributing today — your gift supports our general operations during these lean times.

Shake Rag Alley’s youth programs are supported in part by grants from Mineral Point Community Chest and United Fund of Iowa County. Thank you!

Please consider helping Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts to:

  • provide educational experiences in visual, performing, and literary arts to adults and children
  • cultivate the creativity that thrives in our rural community
  • rehabilitate and preserve our historic buildings and rustic campus.

Click Here to discover various ways you might offer tax-deductible support.

Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts is supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Youth programming at Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts is supported in part by a grant from the Mineral Point Community Chest and United Fund of Iowa County.