2013 Instructor Bios
Amy Chester lives in Maplewood, MN and owns SageDreamDesign.com – a business focusing on needle felted dolls, playscapes, and imaginative toys. She has always loved ‘all things fiber’ and after discovering the art of needle felting 4 years ago, found the perfect medium to combine her passion for fiber, dolls, and the magical world of gnomes and fairies. She is an experienced teacher who also offers classes in her St. Paul studio.
First a dancer, then a neuroscientist and professor, Amy now devotes herself fulltime to the fiber arts. Her fiber work is certainly informed by her art and science background; she has a keen understanding of learning movement skills, composition, pattern recognition, and systematic exploration. The result is her focus on spinning and knitting technique, texture, three-dimensional structure, and knit designs that exploit handspinning techniques. You can find her articles in Spin-Off and Interweave Knit & Spin.
Becky Utecht raises sheep and makes art in rural Mora, MN. She is passionate about felting and has studied felting with renowned feltmakers from the US, Japan, Scotland, the Netherlands, and Canada. Her felt work has won fine art awards and was selected for inclusion in the recent publication, “500 Felt Objects”. She loves to share the fun and magic of felting with others. She operates River Oaks Farm & Studio, www.riveroakssheep.com
Carol Wagner has been a spinner since 1988 and uses the yarns she produces in knitting, weaving, and felting projects. She is passionate about fiber and promotes quality production of the fiber to be spun. The quality begins with the animal, includes carding, and finally spinning excellence!
Carol and her husband Paul raise registered Coopworth sheep and have a flock of approximately 200. They also own Hidden Valley Woolen Mill near Valders, Wisconsin where the goal is to assist the customer with the creative process.
Carole C. Wurst is a fiber artist, knitwear designer and instructor based in Saint Cloud, Minnesota. Her passion for knitting is shown by her enthusiasm for promoting the wonderful world of knitting and fiber arts. She is a nationally known lecturer and seminar teacher. Carole has written for several knitting publications and is the author of several knitting pattern books, garment construction books, and fiber instruction books.
Cher is from the Northwoods of Wisconsin and fills her days with fiber arts, be it spinning, weaving, quilting, sock making or just looking at her stash. Many of her projects use recycled materials. She is interested in the traditional folk crafts and likes to teach them to children so they will be able to pass their skills on to their children.
Dan and Chiaki O’Brien
Chiaki and Dan O’Brien are both SAORI Leaders Committee Certificate recipients. Chiaki worked as an instructor for the SAORI head office in Japan. Since Chiaki has moved to Minnesota from Japan in 2004, they have taught at schools for artists in residence, in several community education programs for people with or without disabilities, at the Minnesota Children’s Museum, at the North Country Fiber Fair (SD) and at art shows. Chiaki has exhibited at variety venues such as University of Minnesota, Hudson Hospitals and Clinics and so on. They have a studio in their home in Chaska, Minnesota and Chiaki also teaches at the AZ Gallery in St. Paul, MN.
Deb is from Black River Falls, Wisconsin. She is an enthusiastic handspinner and teaches spinning workshops throughout the state, including Sievers School of Fiber Arts and the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival. Deb is the owner of The Fiber Garden, a year-round fiber arts school and shop that has been featured in such magazines as American Small Farm, Impressions, and Positive Thinking. For Deb it’s a means to promote fiber arts and combine her love of spinning, teaching and country living!
Dee began with a very small flock of Romney sheep in 2000. As her fleece sales grew, so did her flock. Before long, it became obvious to her that color in sheep was NOT created equal: there were different mechanisms that produced color in sheep, and they were predictable. She began to sort her sheep accordingly. Eventually, she added a flock of CVM/Romeldale to produce the finewool fleeces that her customers were requesting. In 2009 she was elected President of the National CVM/Romeldale Conservancy – a position she still holds today. Most recently, Dee completed the technical editing of Margaret Howard’s upcoming book on sheep color genetics: The Coat of Many Colors: A Survey of Sheep Color Pattern Expression. She and her husband currently over-winter 45 Romney and Romeldale/CVM ewes and miscellaneous rams at Peeper Hollow Farm in Marion, Iowa.
Doc Kennedy is a 1960 graduate of Iowa State University and has practiced in Pipestone, Minnesota specializing in sheep and goats. He, his wife, and partner Garry Gorter have 500+ registered or recorded Katahdin ewes. Dr. Kennedy has raised other breeds of sheep as well including Dorpers, Rambouillet and Suffolks on a national level. He is a past board member of the Dorper Breed Association and is a present board member of the Katahdin Association. He helped develop the Pipestone Lamb and Wool Program. He is a production veterinarian and has developed specialized products for the industry. He likes sheep and goat people and he likes sheep and goats. The Pipestone Clinic is often able to help sheep and goat producers when nobody else can or cares. Pipestone sells supplies via their catalog and website. They serve the entire United States and some of Canada and work with shepherds with as few as two sheep to as many as 20,000. The clinic answers questions daily via telephone and Dr. Kennedy answers questions 24/7, email@example.com. He is also on Facebook, Pipestone Vet Sheep-Goats. Dr, Kennedy received the Camp Tender award from ASI, is a member of the Minnesota Agricultural Hall of Fame and the Pipestone Lamb and Wool Programs Hall of Fame as well.
Elizabeth Harrington teaches rigid heddle weaving at the Weavers Guild of Minnesota. She loves the freedom and simplicity of rigid heddle looms. Spinning and dyeing enhance her weaving. In the summer, Elizabeth teaches summer camp classes at the Textile Center of Minnesota.
Elizabeth was introduced to spinning in the summer of 2006. She taught herself to spin on a CD spindle and quickly fell under the spell of the fiber arts. She knits, spins, weaves, and dabbles in dyeing. Elizabeth loves sharing the discovery of spinning and weaving with others, especially kids. She teaches spindle spinning at Borealis Yarns in St. Paul, and rigid heddle weaving at the Minnesota Weaver’s Guild.
Ellie Lida has a passion for weaving baskets and sharing that love with others. For over 15 years, she has been teaching in her home studio, at workshops, community education classes, and special events. Intrigued by the limitless possibilities, her enthusiasm spills over into designing new baskets and using black walnuts to dye the finished basket! Teaching others to enjoy basket weaving is rewarding. Friendships are forged as people share their stories and bond while weaving.
Howard was raised on a beef, dairy, and hog farm in Wabasha County. In 1974 he graduated from North Dakota State University with a degree in soil science. He worked for the Natural Resources Conservation Service through 2006, retired, and began consulting in grassland management (Midwest Grasslands). During the last 10 years of working for NRCS he was the State Grazing Specialist.
Jan Zita Grover
Jan Grover teaches multi-session spindling classes throughout the Twin Cities, emphasizing joy, patience, practice, and connections to Minnesota and Wisconsin’s extraordinary communities of spinners, fiber farmers, and textile traditions.
Joel Wacholz does nutrition work with dairy, sheep, goat along with all other specialty feeds, along with marketing duties for the company, Big Gain Feed.
Leslie Granbeck has been an avid beader and teacher for 15 years. Leslie’s talents took a new direction when she discovered the art of turning wool fibers into beads. Intrigued by color, texture and always looking for new challenges, her love of felted beads and jewelry blossomed to include the art of feltmaking. “Feltmaking is magical. Imagine turning simple wool fibers into scarves, purses, jewelry, even garments.”
Leslie has traveled around the globe, is a professional photographer and speaks Spanish. When not felting or beading at home, you’ll find Leslie teaching at Hopkins and White Bear Centers for the Arts, ArtiCulture and Beadhive in South Minneapolis.
Lexi Boeger is an artist, spinner and author of three books on creative nontraditional hand-spinning techniques. The focus of her lectures and workshops are to open spinners up to the endless possibilities for creativity in spinning. To break through hard-held ideas of what you “can and can’t do” and replace them with the attitude of “what can’t I do?!” Through an exploration of unusual fibers and materials, unorthodox blending and carding techniques, creative use of color and a host of non-traditional spinning techniques the students will learn to trust in their own creativity by expanding and pushing the boundaries of their own spinning skills and knowledge.
Linda is a confirmed felt-a-holic and is not looking at recovery. Trained as a Materials Engineer she is fascinated on the how and why wool felts from the chemical make-up and fiber level. This search has led her around the globe from Norway to Denmark, Holland and Mongolia to learn from history and some of the most prominent feltmakers in the world. She has most recently taken a class on feltmaking from Finnish feltmakers. Linda has been a shepherd for 20+ years and raises sheep whose wool felts fast. Linda has one several felting awards from different Sheep and Wool festivals, the MN State Fair and has a felted blanket in the collection at the Minnesota Historical Society.
Stefania has been a life-long knitter, and started spinning and dyeing to supply herself with “the best yarns in the world!” She got her Certificate of Excellence in Handspinning from the Handweaver’s Guild of America in 1997. Since then she has opened her own business called Handspun by Stefania and taught numerous workshops dealing in natural dyes, spinning and basket making. She has spoken about the fiber arts to numerous groups, and has appeared on Home & Garden TV as a guest on the Carol Duvall Show. She sells handspun, natural hand dyed yarns, original knitting kits using her own yarns and patterns, hand dyed roving dyed with natural dyes, and handmade baskets. She was previously a high school English teacher, and now enjoys teaching spinning, dyeing, and knitting to fiber enthusiasts.
Tracey Schuh owns and operates Interlacements Yarns in Abrams, Wisconsin. Tracey is a multitalented fiber artist who is passionate about working with color and texture. Initially a weaver, she has now expanded her horizons to encompass all mediums of art. She loves creating art using found objects. Tracey’s enjoyment of teaching has her designing new classes all the time, so stop by and say hi. If there’s a class you’ve always wanted to take, she probably also has it on her list. Tracey loves the exciting invention and reinvention that comes with both learning and teaching! She invites you to introduce yourself and create a new idea with her.
Victoria has been rug hooking for over 30 years. She is the owner of AngelGirl A Rug Hooking Studio; a website and wholesale business for the past eight years.