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Meet Our New Teachers (Part 1)

Emanate (detail) by new instructor Saaraliisa Ylitalo.
Emanate (detail) by new instructor Saaraliisa Ylitalo.

It’s back-to-school time at The Art League — registration for Fall classes is now open! The classes themselves start the week of September 16. This year, we have a new crew of instructors coming in to teach ceramics, jewelry, painting, and everything else we offer. Meet the new faculty below, and browse the catalog on the School homepage to find your next art class.

Ashley Buchanan Decorative_edge_cuffAshley Buchanan is a jewelry artist who received her BFA in Jewelry and Metalsmithing from the University of Georgia. Drawing on common jewelry motifs and iconic imagery, she individually hand-cuts silhouettes from sheet metal using a traditional jeweler’s saw. She then applies color using an industrial process called powder coating. Her goal is to create wearable works of art that push the boundaries of jewelry while maintaining a contemporary, handmade quality.

Buchanan has exhibited nationally and internationally in galleries such as Velvet da Vinci and museums like the Racine Art Museum and her work is available across the country in galleries and shops such as Julie: Artisans’ Gallery, Heidi Lowe Gallery, and the National Ornamental Museum. Additionally, Buchanan’s work has been featured on blogs and websites such as Daily Candy; in newspapers and magazines like the Atlanta Journal Constitution and Metalsmith Magazine, and most recently she was featured in Ornament Magazine as an emerging contemporary jewelry artist.

Susan GreenleafCeramics artist Susan Greenleaf has studied art across the United States, apprenticed and taught in Switzerland, exhibited at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian, the Folger Shakespeare Ann Hathaway Gallery the National Zoo Gallery. A Washington, D.C. commission on the Arts and Humanities grant winner and many-time award winner at Creative Craft Council shows,  Susan has had her work featured in Ceramics Monthly, Smithsonian Magazine, Washington Post, the Lark Publications, and a cover story in Washington Fine Craft Magazine.  She is currently represented primarily at the Studio 22-Fire One Gallery in the Torpedo Factory and Greenbridge Pottery in Dayton, MD.

John KauffmanJohn Kauffmann has been explaining technology for 20 years, across four continents. Educated at Penn State colleges of Science and Agriculture, he has continued his studies in technology and art, including at the Art Students League of New York. He recently received recognition as a featured instructor of technology.

His classes have ranged from introduction to computers to advanced programming topics with a core interest in how to use inexpensive technology to sense the environment and react to it. Fascinated by the works of Arthur Ganson, Nam June Paik and Alexander Calder, he now applies his knowledge of electrical and mechanical systems to sculpture and installations.

SaaraLiisaYlitalo_SerenityPaper artist Saaraliisa Ylitalo learned to sew when she was nine. From her website: “Everything else followed: knitting, crocheting, weaving, spinning, dyeing, tatting … . By the time I got to college, I was ready to explore textiles as art. In my twenties I studied with Walter Nottingham and taught various fiber arts in Illinois and Wisconsin. Then I began 25 years of travel on four continents — living, teaching, and exhibiting in Costa Rica, Japan, Peru, and South Africa, with stops in the United States. During five years in Japan, I fell in love with washi paper, and apprenticed with a master papermaker in Kyoto. Paper remains my chief passion, but I combine it with many other textile techniques. For me, paper is non-woven fabric.”

Jean Stark - Suspended ThoughtJean Stark has been practicing art since she was a child, and will be teaching kids ages five to eight this Fall. She studied at MICA in Baltimore, where she earned a degree in General Fine Art and a Masters in Teaching Art. From Jean’s website: “Whenever a student makes a mistake I have a rule: we celebrate by giving a high-five, getting a gold sticker, or a simple congratulatory hand shake. This builds confidence in the student that mistakes are welcome and celebrated steps in creativity.”

  • What Jean’s teaching: Art Fun-damentals (Thursdays this Fall, Winter, and Spring)

Judit Varga - Black pod, semi porcelain,13x7x7Ceramics artist Judit Varga studied at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Hungary and has taught at SUNY Stony Brook and George Washington University. She creates organic forms from clay — cocoons, pods, and knots. “I believe my work has a strong connection with nature and its organic structures which it is built upon,” she writes. “I am not interested in simply copying the forms, rather I wish to understand the reasons and relations which lay beneath the surface of a shiny pod or a weather-worn shell.”

Meet the rest of the new faculty Wednesday!

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Did you know: The Art League's Art Camp is the longest running visual arts camp in the area! We've been here for more than 30 years! While sadly we can't find any photos from the '80s (please let us know if you have any lying around), let's take a look back at the last several years of burgeoning kid artists and eight years of fun at Art Camp!

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Simply set The Art League as your chosen charity, and every time you shop at smile.amazon.com, a portion of your purchase will be donated to support our mission to share the experience of visual arts with the community.