Artist Instructors

Meet the renowned artist instructors eager to share their knowledge and techniques with you. With a willingness to get messy in the name of art, each instructor brings a wealth of insight and enthusiastic energy with them to CREATE Chicago. Get to know them below and meet them in person this August.


Learn more about CREATE’s standout roster of artist instructors. Each of them was asked a few in-depth questions about their experience and approach to their craft. Get to know them and find out what they had to tell us.



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Thomas Ashman

Thomas Ashman is a mixed media artist, bookbinder, composer, and teacher, who lives and works in and around Albuquerque, New Mexico. Drawing inspiration from his background in literature and experiences in the construction trades, Thomas developed his unique metal and wire book binding technique to facilitate the use of unusual materials such as glass, sheet metal, and various types of hardware for the binding and covering of quality handmade art journals. Thomas also enjoys altering dolls, making found object jewelry, and building elaborate mixed media sculptures.

Website: www.blacksheepartist.com

Sessions

  • Glass Journal (6 hours) (Wednesday)
  • Tin Angel (6 hours) (Thursday)
  • Copper Journal (6 hours) (Friday)
  • Hardware Journal (6 hours) (Saturday)


Jen Cushman

Jen Cushman is mixed-media artist, author, columnist, designer and nationally-known instructor. She is Vice President/Partner for ICE Resin Susan Lenart Kazmer. Jen has authored two books; Explore, Create, Resinate: Mixed Media Techniques using ICE Resin® and Making Metal Jewelry by F&W. Her art has been published in Belle Armoire Jewelry, Jewelry Affaire, Somerset Workshop, Cloth, Paper, Scissors, WireWork, Somerset Home, Somerset Studios, Somerset Life, Somerset Memories and others. Currently, she writes a column called "The Mixed Media Metalsmith" in each issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors.

Website: www.jencushman.com

Sessions

  • Links, Clasps, Components and Chain (6 hours) (Thursday)
  • For the Love of Lariats (6 hours) (Friday)
  • Real vs. Faux (6 hours) (Saturday)
  • Ready, Set, Resinate (3 hours) (Saturday Evening)


Jane Davila

Jane Davila is a fiber and mixed-media artist who began her professional career as a printmaker. She teaches art quilting and surface design internationally. Jane is a frequent contributor to Quilting Arts magazine. She has appeared on The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims and on Quilting Arts TV. Jane is the coauthor, with Elin Waterston, of Art Quilt Workbook & Art Quilts at Play plus Jane Davila's Surface Design Essentials, all for C&T Publishing. Jane is also the editor of Quilting Arts In Stitches and Quilting Arts Surface Explorations emagazines. She shares a studio in Bridgeport, CT, with her husband Carlos, a painter and sculptor.

Website: www.janedavila.com

Sessions

  • 4 Color Block Printing (6 hours) (Friday)
  • Art Websites for Beginners (6 hours) (Saturday)
  • Live Tweet (3 hours) (Saturday Evening)
  • Bird House (3 hours) (Sunday)


Helen Shafer Garcia

Helen Shafer Garcia is a painter, mixed media, found object and assemblage artist and award winning illustrator. Her whimsical style shows a love for living creatively with a studio filled to the brim with found objects! Helen's watercolor illustrations have graced the cover brochures, garden articles and advertisements of numerous international resorts and magazines for more than 23 years. Awards include four San Diego Press Club First Place Awards of Excellence in Illustration for San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles Magazine. Helen writes articles for Cloth, Paper, Scissors and Studios Magazines. She holds a BA degree in Fine Arts and currently teaches college level watercolor and acrylic painting. She also teaches Watercolor and Mixed Media workshops internationally and across the US.

Website: www.HelenShaferGarcia.com

Sessions

  • Animal Cracker Portraits (6 hours) (Wednesday)
  • Planed and Folded Wooden Book (6 hours) (Thursday)
  • Color Pencil Journaling (6 hours) (Friday)


Erin Keck

Erin Keck is a Steampunk style assemblage artist residing in Mechanicsburg, PA. Erin is nationally recognized for her Steampunk Clocks created from original laser cut gears. Her creations have been featured in the book 1,000 Steampunk Creations, Just Steampunk Magazine, as well as Jewelry Affaire Magazine. Erin travels throughout the United States teaching and sharing her talent of assemblage art.

Website: www.EKCreations.etsy.com

Sessions

  • Scrappy Bits and Pieces Bracelet (6 hours) (Wednesday)
  • This and That Steampunk Clock (6 hours) (Friday)
  • Vintage Necklace Journal (6 hours) (Saturday)
  • Words From the Heart (3 hours) (Saturday Evening)
  • Secret Message Capsule (3 hours) (Sunday)


Jacque Kudner

Jacque Kudner has a passion to create and has always viewed art as one of the most important aspects of her life. She now works as an artist, using her talented eye to find antique treasures to create her re-imagined designs. The common theme in Jacque's work is her love of beautiful vintage things. Her latest venture, Remagine Designs, specializes in vintage handmade jewelry, and home apparel accessories. With her love of art and passion to create, Jacque designs with creativity, sophistication and a look that is truly one-of-a-kind.

Website: www.remaginedesigns.com

Sessions

  • Vintage Necktie Necklace (6 hours) (Wednesday)
  • Treasure Necklace (3 hours) (Thursday Evening)


Jane LaFazio

Jane LaFazio, a full-time artist since 1998, truly believes she is living the life she was meant to live! In that time, she has cultivated a wide range of skills as a painter, mixed media, quilt artist, art teacher and blogger. She's known for her fun-loving, creative teaching style, and providing a relaxed supportive environment in the classroom. She teaches workshops online and at art retreats internationally. Jane's artwork has been featured in Cloth, Paper, Scissors and Quilting Arts magazines many times, and in Danny Gregory's An Illustrated Life, and in numerous books. Jane has made numerous appearances on Quilting Arts TV and is featured in instructional DVDs "From Art Journaling to Art", "Layered & Fused Applique Quilts: From Fabric Scraps to Recycled Circles" and "The Small Art Quilt" are available on Amazon.

Website: www.JaneLaFazio.com

Sessions

  • Sketching & Watercolor on Collage (6 hours) (Wednesday)
  • Sketching & Watercolor: Farmers Market (6 hours) (Thursday)
  • Free Spirited Free Motion Art Quilting (6 hours) (Friday)
  • Machine Needle-Felting: Layered & Textured (6 hours) (Saturday)
  • Mini Text and Textiles: A Small Hand Stitched Story Quilt (3 hours) (Sunday)


Leighanna Light

Leighanna Light is an art instructor and mixed media assemblage artist known for her whimsical style and unique use of found objects. Her background is in fine arts and photography, but she considers herself self taught when it comes to the assemblage work that she now creates. She has been instructing art workshops for the past 15 years, teaching locally and internationally.  Leighanna is represented by galleries and museums across the country and work has been published in numerous books and magazines including The Studio, Art Doll Quarterly and Somerset Studio. She loves to create, to hunt for things to create with and to share her creativity with others. It's what she lives for, it's her oxygen.  Leighanna grew up in a small town in upstate NY. She has spent most of the past 16 years in New Mexico, and currently resides in Taos with her best friends, Thomas, Lily & Sam.

Website: www.thingmakerstudio.blogspot.com

Sessions

  • Funky Dwellings (6 hours) (Wednesday)
  • Beyond the Vintage Metal Deck: Taking the Mystery Out of Working with Metal (9 hours) (Thursday)
  • Let's Face It!: Exploring Clay, Canvas & Ink (6 hours) (Friday)
  • Faux Etching: Surface Design on Metal (6 hours) (Saturday)


Cindy Lohbeck

With 30 years of fabric dyeing experience, Cindy brings humor, wit and value-able lessons to each class. Affectionately known as "The Bucket Lady", her color insight and useful tips and techniques add to the fun and fast paced nature of her classes. The Hands On Hand Dyes innovative and reusable tool kits, along with her supportive instruction makes every hand dyeing class an empowering and successful experience that will add to your eye for color and value, as well as your stash! Kits provide low water, compact, neat and tidy methods that are suitable for every environment!

Website: www.handsonhanddyes.com

Sessions

  • Indigo Shibori (6 hours) (Saturday)
  • 24 Step Color Mixing (3 hours) (Saturday Evening)
  • Snow & Ice Dyeing (3 hours) (Sunday)


Liesel Lund

Liesel Lund is a full time artist who loves to teach and share her passion for art and the creative process. She believes we are all artists and that making art adds an invaluable richness to our lives. After majoring in art, she continued taking drawing, painting and scientific illustration courses at The University of Washington, and Gage Academy of Art. She has worn many creative hats in her career. As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand she created a nature education center at a Doi Luang National Park. Later she designed graphics for Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo, children's books for McGraw-Hill, and textiles for Tommy Bahama. These days you can find her in her Seattle studio, spoiling her kitties and drinking large cups of tea while she works with watercolor, acrylic, jewelry, art journals, tin, fiber and textiles. Liesel has been creating and selling her jewelry since 2003. She teaches classes in Seattle and has taught at Artfest, Journalfest, and at Daniel Smith Art Store. She is a featured artist in Creative Wildfire by LK Ludwig, Studios Spring 2010, and Drawing Lab for Mixed Media Artists by Carla Sonheim.

Website: www.liesellund.com

Sessions

  • Secret Imaginings (6 hours) (Wednesday)
  • Romancing the Tin: Mixed Media Necklace (6 hours) (Thursday)
  • Juicy Watercolor Textures Sampler (3 hours) (Thursday Evening)


Kari McKnight-Holbrook

An award winning artist who teaches at retreats and stores around the world, and is featured in galleries and magazines such as Cloth Paper Scissors, CPS Studios, Art Journaling /Somerset Studio, and Stampington. Kari helped develop materials for Faber Castell's Art Journal & ATC Kits. Her stamp line launched in 2011. This devoted instructor delights in sharing with students, and watching them bloom in their artistic journeys. Her engaging classes are designed with pleasure and success in mind, enthusiastically guiding techniques while allowing for self discovery and individualization.

Website: www.backporchartessa.blogspot.com

Sessions

  • Gelli Print Joy (6 hours) (Wednesday & Thursday)
  • Faux Faces (3 hours) (Thursday Evening)
  • Frumpy to Fantasy (6 hours) (Saturday)
  • Power Words (3 hours) (Saturday Evening)


Laurie Mika

Laurie Mika is a mixed-media artist with a passion for combining and overlapping a variety of mediums creating her easily recognizable style of mixed-media mosaics and assemblage using handmade tile. Laurie has been teaching at mixed media art retreats and through guilds and shops for over ten years. She is the author of, Mixed Media Mosaics, published by North Light Books in 2007. Laurie's work has also been published in countless books and magazines. She was featured on HGTV's, Crafter's Coast to Coast and on DIY's Craft Lab.

Website: www.mikaarts.com

Sessions

  • Handmade Hamsas and Hearts (6 hours) (Friday)
  • Clay on Clay Quilt (6 hours) (Saturday)
  • Brooch the Subject (3 hours) (Saturday Evening)
  • Mini Clay Crowns (3 hours) (Sunday)


Karen O'Brien

Karen is a self taught mixed media artist and teacher who began her creative journey as teddy bear and doll artist. She added collage and paint 10 years ago and is still inspired with the infinite possibilities of combining her favorite materials. Her approach to her art and teaching is: "no mistakes, just dive in and see what happens." Karen art has been published in Somerset Studio, Art Journaling, and Art Doll Quarterly. She is a featured artist in Incite: The Best of Mixed Media and a guest artist in Drawing and Painting Imaginary Animals by Carla Sonheim. Karen strives to provide her students with a fun, inspiring classroom environment where they feel free to take creative risks and enjoy the results.

Website: www.KEObrien.com

Sessions

  • Journaling Character (6 hours) (Friday)
  • Black Magic (6 hours) (Saturday)
  • Uncover the Mystery (3 hours) (Saturday Evening)
  • In Your Face (3 hours) (Sunday)


Jodi Ohl

Jodi Ohl is a full-time mixed media artist and instructor, who favors unique color combinations, texture, and a sense of humor in her creative endeavors. A resident of NC, and mother of two boys, her inspiration comes from many places but is rooted in a sense of community, family, relationships and overall positive empowerment found from living a creative life. Jodi's art has been published in over 18 publications and is collected around the world. She currently teaches workshops around the East Coast and runs 12 current online classes.

Website: www.jodiohl.weebly.com

Sessions

  • Mini City (6 hours) (Wednesday)
  • Glazed and Not So Confused (6 hours) (Thursday)
  • Ornamental (3 hours) (Thursday Evening)
  • Water Flowing Selfie (6 hours) (Friday)

Kieu Pham Gray

Kieu Pham Gray has been creating jewelry for over 15 years. She started from the need to "look the part" while working in retail management for Neiman Marcus. Since then she has sold to over 30 stores in 10 states and participated in numerous juried art shows. For eight years Kieu owned Bead Q! in the Cleveland area. Today, with her husband Andy, they run TheUrbanBeader.com, working to provide industry with specialty goods. Kieu teaches a variety of classes throughout the Midwest and East Coast. Detailed instruction and personal attention have been her key to success.

Website: www.theurbanbeader.com

Sessions

  • Blossoming Enamel (3 hours) (Thursday Evening)
  • Notable Leather (6 hours) (Saturday)
  • CosmoPearlitan (3 hours) (Sunday)


Joanne Sharpe

Joanne Sharpe is a whimsical art maker, teacher and author from upstate New York. Her colorful mixed media art and stylized lettering style is easily recognized in art journaling, illustration and quilting. A Joanne has recently been named an Artisan Ambassador for Bernina of America sharing her sewing passion for art quilting and fiber art. Look for her first book, The Art of Whimsical Lettering by Interweave in early 2014.

Website: joannezsharpe.blogspot.com

Sessions

  • Threads and Letters: Art in Free Motion (6 hours) (Wednesday)
  • Artful Applique: Funky, Fabulous, Fabric Fusing (6 hours) (Thursday)
  • The Illustrated Word (3 hours) (Thursday Evening)
  • Artful Hearts Lettering Journal (6 hours) (Saturday)
  • Brush Your Awesome Alphabets (3 hours) (Saturday Evening)


Mary Beth Shaw

Mary Beth Shaw works in Mixed Media because she loves to play with art supplies. She contends that mixed media is for artists who can't make up their minds. The owner of StencilGirl Products, she uses stencils on anything and everything. She welcomes so-called "mistakes" because they lead to wonderful opportunities and discoveries. She is the author of Flavor for Mixed Media and Stencil Girl, both published by North Light and is a Columnist for Somerset Studios. She is a Certified Golden Artist Educator.

Website: www.mbshaw.com

Sessions

  • The Abstracted Grid (6 hours) (Friday)
  • Collage Me a Painting (6 hours) (Saturday)
  • Repeat After Me (3 hours) (Saturday Evening)


Staci Swider

Staci has been making art forever it seems and her career has gone through many iterations over the years. She distinctly remembers making furniture for her dollhouse out of recycled materials and clothing for her dolls. Her love for design led her to study textile design in college and later a career as a fabric designer/stylist in the home furnishings industry. Eventually the corporate world gave way to motherhood and freelance design replaced boardroom presentations. It was during those years that she discovered a love for paining, initially with watercolors. Currently she is painting with acrylics and layering those with oil pastels and grease pencil, throwing a little collage at it on occasion, and building things just to shake it up a little. Stay tuned, you never know where dancing along this red road is going to take her!

Website: www.staciswider.com

Sessions

  • Fantasy House Portraits (6 hours) (Wednesday)
  • Release Your Creative Spirit (6 hours) (Thursday)
  • Beginner Plaster Gauze Sculpture (3 hours) (Thursday Evening)


Jean Van Brederode

Having been seduced, empowered, enriched, and invigorated by metals and glass, she happily dedicates herself to creating and teaching others the joys of enameled and mixed media jewelry.

Website:

Sessions

  • Crop Circles (6 hours) (Wednesday)
  • Who's Got the Button (6 hours) (Thursday)
  • Mixed Metal Magic (3 hours) (Thursday Evening)


Kent Youngstrom

Kent calls himself an artist, but not the "tortured" kind. Basically: he is a self-taught painter with a background in graphic and interior design. Which means he respects and appreciates focused instructions, happy collaborations, meaningful deadlines and clients who pay up on time. He started painting several years ago, without any big plans or ambitions. It was hard, unpredictable, time-consuming and FUN. By the end of day one, he was hooked. One gallery show led to another, and before long he was selling paintings to friends, family and a handful of local fans. Local sales turned into national sales. National sales turned into licensing deals. Bulk orders from CB2 came knocking, along with flash sales at Fab.com, write-ups in People magazine and flattering attention from a couple of those "home makeover' reality TV shows. One day, he woke up and realized, "huh I guess I'm a full-time artist, now." He smiled. And then painted some more.

Website: www.kentyoungstrom.com

Sessions

  • How to Sell Your @#($*(# (3 hours) (Thursday Evening)
  • Does This Make Me Look Fat?: Ways to Make Your Art Work Accentuate Your Home's Best Features (6 hours) (Friday)
  • Let Yourself Go (6 hours) (Saturday)