Art has always been a major part of my life and I feel most fulfilled when I am doing something creative. I graduated from the University of Minnesota-Duluth in 2004 with a BFA in Studio Art and minor in Photography. I also received my K-12 Art Teaching licensure in 2007. For two years I was an art teacher in Cloquet Public Schools and prior to that I substitute taught in the Duluth school district. At the DAI I have taught watercolor and jewelry making classes to children. I absolutely love working with kids of all ages, it is inspiring and exciting! This past year I also started my own photography business, in which I specialize in portraits of babies, children, and families. I have a wonderful one year old daughter who is my joyful little sunshine. I just love watching her grow and cannot wait to make art with her!
Sarah Brokke Erickson
Sarah Brokke Erickson grew up in Grand Forks, ND, and received her BFA in Pre-Graduate Studio Art from UMD. During that time she studied abroad in Birmingham, England. She received her MFA through a joint program between Studio Art Centers International in Florence, Italy and Bowling Green State in Bowling Green, Ohio. She returned to Duluth in 2004 where she has since taught Painting and Drawing (focusing on Portraiture and the Figure) at the Duluth Art Institute, and Art and Art History at the College of St. Scholastica. Sarah's artwork is manifested primarily in paintings, with a focus on the figure. Thematically, her work explores gender roles and traditions, relationships, and identity. She has exhibited at many venues locally, as well as nationally and internationally. A recent interview of her working in her studio can be found here.
Teresa Clayton is a self-proclaimed textile addict who cannot seem to stop tinkering with wool, silk, cotton and a vast array of other lustrous fibers. Her enthusiasm for making unique, woolen dolls started innocently enough with an interest in learning to dye and spin her own colorful novelty yarns. It was during those early adventures that she was introduced to the felting needle and the potential of this tool for firmly sculpting fibers into fanciful doll characters. For the past decade she has continued to pursue her own methods of needle felting whimsical figurines over sturdy, hand-made wire armatures. This method allows her to create solid, sturdy pieces that are fun to display in a variety of animated poses.
Matt Kania is a member of the Northern Printmakers Alliance (Duluth) and the Highpoint Center for Printmaking (Minneapolis). Matt has exhibited his work at the Northern Prints Gallery, the Highpoint Center Gallery, Duluth Art Institute, and the Bloomington Art Center. In recent years, he has focused on creating imagery using less toxic, portable printmaking techniques, such as polyester plate lithography. Some of Matt’s printmaking can be seen at: www.northernprintsgallery.com
Matt is also founder of Map Hero, a map design and illustration studio devoted to illustrating the world through maps. His map illustrations have appeared at institutions such as the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Denali National Park, and the Minnesota Zoo; and in publications for the United Nations, Wall Street Journal, Scholastic, and The Nature Conservancy. Examples of map illustrations can be seen at: www.MapHero.com
I am a woodworker by trade (I build harps and other musical instruments), so at one point I decided to build a spinning wheel. I have never built that dream wheel, but I now own several made by other craftsmen. I decided I would rather spend my precious leisure time spinning. In fibers, I find the variety of textures and colors endlessly fascinating, and being able to convert them into yarns for knitting, weaving, and crochet is very satisfying. My skill as a spinner has developed from attending classes and workshops over the years, but also from the interchange of sitting with other spinners, watching them work and discussing challenges and accomplishments. I especially like to get beginners started on this path of shared interest.
I grew up in Minneapolis and earned my BFA in glass working from St. Cloud State University in 1986. After blowing glass in Colorado, Minnesota and Wisconsin, I moved to West Virginia, where I began to make clay work while pit firing it in my yard. I moved to Carbondale, Illinois and did graduate work in Ceramics there. I received my MFA in 1996, moved to Victoria, British Columbia and spent two years making pots, gardening and traveling. Duluth became my new home in 1998. I teach at local colleges, and my studio, the Duluth Pottery, as well as selling work in galleries and at art fairs.
My work is Maiolica, an in-glaze hand painted tin glaze technique. I make functional pots and tiles that are meant to celebrate the day. My individual wall pieces and compositions of tiles are hand built and decorated with colorful, loose brushwork. I draw from every day scenes and objects for my imagery. Capturing the color and movement of the moment is my aim…the flowers in my garden trembling in a slight breeze and the sun glowing through them, or the light coming in the window and lighting the room.
Louise Lundin is a lifelong artist and experienced instructor, well known for painting and teaching drawing and painting, especially watercolor portraits. She loves people, loves painting, and generously shares her knowledge and expertise with workshop students. In 2010, Lundin portraits titled Sauna Girl and Girl in Green Sweater were accepted into juried exhibitions. Two Lundin watercolor portraits are featured as cover art on books titled War Stories I and II. One of the most inspiring moments in her painting journey was when Edgar Whitney said, “Art is learned [and] Do not be afraid to fail, for that is how you learn.”
Robin Murphy has taught at UMD, Northland College, and the Northern Clay Center. She received her BFA from UMD in Studio Arts, and a MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Ceramics. She has received grants from the Jerome Foundation and the Wisconsin State Arts Board. Recently, Robin has been an artist in residence in the Bayfield Public School where she facilitated three ceramic tile projects. The largest, was a 10’ x 28’ mosaic tile mural with K-5th grade in a service learning program. Robin exhibits nationally, and locally she is represented by Lizzard’s.
Karen Owsley Nease
Karen Owsley Nease is painter working with contemporary landscapes and pattern abstraction. Originally from the Kansas City area, she relocated to Duluth in 2013 to be near Lake Superior and the north woods. A lifelong painter with a concurrent interest in design, she has a BFA in Painting/Printmaking from the Kansas City Art Institute and two architectural degrees from the University of Kansas. She was co-owner of the acclaimed contemporary Joseph Nease Gallery in Kansas City, Missouri. She has exhibited extensively and recently had a solo exhibition of paintings in the Morrison Gallery at the Duluth Art Institute. Her work is in corporate, museum and private collections in Missouri, Kansas and Minnesota. She is represented in Duluth by Lizzard's Gallery.
Karen has great passion and enthusiasm for art, especially painting. She loves sharing her deep knowledge of various painting media, techniques, and styles. She is particularly excited to work with students to develop their strengths around their specific interests and motivations as painters. Her website is karennease.com.
Esther Piszczek is a Certified Zentangle (R) Teacher and working artist. She left the practice of law in 2008 to live more creatively. She currently teaches Zentangle pattern drawing classes through Duluth Art Institute, Duluth Community Education, at McCabe Renewal Center, Master Framing Gallery, and by private request. Her artwork is available in Duluth at Pierce & Piszczek Fine Pianos and Master Framing Gallery and Art on the Plaza in Superior, WI.
Mary Plaster received her BFA from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis and her MA from University of Wisconsin, Superior, focusing on mixed media painting. She also a certified spiritual director and has a Doctorate in Ministry from Wisdom University in San Francisco, specializing in Sacred Art Activism. In recent years Mary has focused on making papier-mâché giant masks and puppets by herself and in community with adults or children. Her interview with the Playlist can be found here.
Mary works with the local theatres and large national conferences, most notably the 2012 Awakening Imagination for Transformation in Washington, DC, 2008-2011 Flint Hills International Children’s Festivals in St. Paul, 2010 Festival of Faiths in Louisville, and 2007 Burning Man Festival in Black Rock City, Nevada. In 2008 she received a McKnight/ARAC Individual Career Development Grant to attend the July apprentice program with Peter Schumann’s 45-year-old Bread and Puppet Theater in Glover, Vermont. She was then a guest curator for the Duluth Art Institute (DAI), organizing an exhibit with David Hodges, Effigies of Peace and Protest: The Art of Social Activism, featuring four decades of selected historically significant street theater art from Bread and Puppet, In the Heart of the Beast (Minneapolis) and the local Art of Peace. The closing reception for this art show inspired the first All Souls Night. ASN is now an annual arts event on November 2nd in the Depot Great Hall. See more about Mary atwww.maryplaster.com.
I started with clay as a prerequisite for my degree program in management from Lake Superior College, and graduated in 2003 with high honors. In the past 13 years I’ve studied with Bob Husby, Dorian Beaulieu, Tonya Borgeson and Dave Lynas. I’ve enjoyed working with porcelain and stoneware with the high fire results you can get from wood and gas fired pottery. Recently, I taught kiln building classes at Guangzhou Acadamy of Fine Arts in Guangzhou, China and have assisted in many Duluth Art Institute classes. My experience in ceramics includes kiln building and firing, high fire pottery, and Raku processes.
I began working on farms and learning the fiber arts in my mid twenties, knitting, spinning, and weaving, but it wasn't until I started felting that I focused my passion for creating beauty in the world. It's hard to say what has grabbed me the most with felting. I love the textures, the ability to shape forms without sewing, the ability to sew forms with such a forgiving fabric, and the connection to a long line of those who have come before me, especially the nomads of Central Asia whose lives rotate with the seasons of the grasslands and the animals they sustain. My hope is to keep breathing new life into these old ways, honoring the incredible marriage of function and beauty and passing on this art through hands-on experiences at my studio, Otlak Felt Studio and Clothing, in my hometown of Duluth, MN. (DeWitt Seitz Marketplace, 4th Floor. 218-491-7099)
After working for twenty years as a watercolor artist I returned to school to study oil painting at the New York Academy of Art, earning a MFA in 2005. Among the many things I learned from two years in New York City was that you can take the artist out of the north woods but you can’t necessarily take the north woods out of the artist. I returned to Minnesota with renewed commitment for reflecting my relationship with the natural world in my art.
Working from life, my paintings, oil and watercolor, usually combine a figure with landscape or still life. Often I use small toys or objects as an alternative to the human model and pieces of turf or plant colonies from the forest floor as a mini version of the landscape. Frequent use of a mirror symbolizes the reflective surface of the lakes of Minnesota. The reflections not only look like a calm lake but also provide a second angle from which to view the objects.
I teach adult art education classes in painting and drawing and offer private lessons from my studio in Duluth. I have been honored to receive several grants and art residencies and am currently represented by Lizzards Gallery in Duluth, Lanesboro Arts Center in Lanesboro MN and Stricoff Fine Art in New York City.
Sheila Staubus, assistant manager of the DAI ceramics studio, also teaches Beginning and Independent Study classes in clay. “Teaching others forces me to think about how and why I do things a certain way, and what new (or old) techniques I want to try. I also meet many wonderful and creative people.”
Sheila first learned the art of ceramics under the instruction of Dave Lynas at the DAI in 2001. Since then she has studied under many instructors of local, national and international renown. She loves the rhythm and line of Moorish architecture, the intricacy of Indian stone and woodcarving, the soft brushstrokes of Oriental watercolor and the color and swirl of Rosemaling. “I like to celebrate the ordinary. . .vines, birds, snowflakes, things I see out my window, things that make me laugh.”
Adam Stevenson was born and raised in Hamden, Connecticut. He has lived in Duluth since 1994 with his wife and two children. He has a B.S. and an M.A in Communication Sciences and Disorders and has worked as a Speech and Language Pathologist for 20 years in the Duluth/Superior area. His attraction to clay started in high school and has been a source of great pleasure ever since. Adam loves to experiment with all phases of the creative process and loves to try new things “just to see what happens”. He enjoys working with/teaching/learning from with other clay enthusiasts and derives satisfaction from both the process and the product!
"In my work I deconstruct the ideas that are part of our childhood and adult culture. My work also addresses the future, fragility of the human presence, perseverance of nature and underlying threads of danger that underpin societies. I use my work to encourage thought and interest in science.
I received my BFA at U of MN Duluth and have painted and studied in Europe, Asia, South America and the South Pacific. After three years in New York and a couple stints in Antarctica, I have called Duluth, MN home since 2008. I paint full-time, am married and a father of two. More of my work can be seen on my website www.adamswanson.com."
Chrissy Valento is proud to call Duluth home for the past 24 years. She has a husband, Rick, two children, and a big dog named Nelson Greensboro. Chrissy has been teaching in the Duluth Public Schools for 12 years, and enjoys her job immensely. She has also been a summer art camp instructor for the DAI for the past four years. Chrissy was trained in the Leonard Bernstein Artful Learning Model in 2005-2008, and later went on to teach teachers in the Artful Learning Model in both FL and IL. Chrissy considers herself a life-long learner, and is always willing to try new art forms, including taking many classes with her children at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts and Peachie’s Stained Glass in Superior. Chrissy enjoys felting, glass work, mosaic tiling, and creating cards out of all types of recycled papers.
Jo Wood's bead and fiber landscapes celebrate her connection to Nature. They serve as portals to the peace and beauty of Place. Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States and is in the collections of Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul MN and the Mayo Clinics, Rochester MN. Her work has been published in Lark Books, NY 500 Beaded Objects (2004), and Beadwork Magazine, Interweave Press "Stitching a Sense of Place In Beads.”
Wood was born in Berwyn, IL in 1952. In 1970 she moved to DeKalb, IL to attend Northern Illinois University and study weaving and studio arts. The North Shore of Minnesota has been her home for more than 20 years. Much of that time she lived in a rustic log cabin where she hauled water, heated with wood, and created her intimate scale landscapes in beads.
Today, Jo Wood is a Northern Communities Land Trust home owner in Duluth, MN where she maintains her studio and garden. She travels to teach bead embroidery workshops both regionally and nationally.