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Greater Chicago Artisan Center

Jackie Truty - Staff Instructor

Jackie Truty began working in flat glass as a hobby. When she finally settled on fusing glass for jewelry full time, she began studying the mechanics of dichroic glass, researching its beginnings and ultimately writing a book, published in 2002. She added wire wrapping and lapidary arts to her skills as she searched for the perfect outlet for her creative expression. It was in 2000, when she saw a demonstration on Art Clay Silver that Jackie knew she’d finally found her niche. Taking introductory and then back-to-back certification classes in the Fall of 2000, she soon became a Senior Instructor in Art Clay. Then in March of 2001, she accepted a position as one of two Directors of Education, flying to Japan for her Masters training. In 2002, she acquired the rights as exclusive, North American distributor of Art Clay products and moved her newly acquired business, Art Clay World, USA, from Torrance, California, to Oak Lawn, Illinois. She continues to run the day-to-day operations from Art Clay’s 9500 square foot headquarters, which was purchased in 2003. Jackie has also wire wrapped for over 20 years and teaches several courses here at the Greater Chicago Artisan Center. In addition, she is a lapidary and gemologist, getting her Graduate Gemologist degree from GIA in 2013. She currently serves on the Oak Lawn Arts Commission.

Katie Baum - Staff Instructor

Katie Baum began focusing on metal clay full-time in 2007. With degrees in Biology, Psychology, and Education, she tries to balance creative expression with logical instructions, enabling students of all backgrounds to comfortably experiment with and learn about metal clay techniques. Currently working with Art Clay World, USA, Katie is the Marketing Director, Distributorship Account Administrator, and Curriculum Coordinator; she is also the current Director of the international Art Clay Society. She has had her work and articles published in Metal Clay Today and Fired Arts & Crafts magazines. Her first book, Fine Silver Keepsakes, was co-authored with Art Clay Instructor Judi Hendricks and was published in July 2009 (Kalmbach). In November 2010, Katie was accepted as one of the Art Clay Master Instructors, of which there are only 9 in North America. Katie has been teaching across the U.S and internationally at venues including bead shops, home studios, galleries, conferences, trade shows (such as the Bead & Button Show and the Glass Craft Expo) and accredited schools/institutions. In the Chicago area, she has teaching relationships with the Evanston Art Center, Lillstreet Art Center, and McCord Gallery and Cultural Center. While metal clay is her most frequent medium of choice, Katie loves to work with mixed media, including polymer clay, mixed metals, gold applications, chainmaille, resin, glass, and ceramics.

Contact Katie at

Mikki Horvath - Staff Instructor

Michaela "Mikki" Horvath studies a wide variety of visual and jewelry arts, specializing in 2-D Pen/Ink, Oil Pastels and Acrylic Paint. Her favorite artistic subjects are objects of nature, and she strives to capture the brilliance and variety the world has to offer. She enjoys teaching and bringing art to children who haven't yet had the chance to develop filters to their imaginations.


Rose Mary Gutierrez - Associate Instructor

Rose Mary Gutierrez, aka Rosie Art, teaches 2-D art to all ages. If it remains still, she'll paint it! Rosie paints on canvas, glass, shoes, wood, etc., and works with acrylics, oils, watercolors, and additional media. She has experience working with schools, creating after-school art programs and teaching classes. Rosie has also volunteered in medical facilities, bringing art to patients and their families. She teaches drawing and painting, and has had her work published and displayed nationwide.

Krista Hartman-Piechowski - Associate Instructor

I have always liked to make things; most likely I come by this genetically- my mother was an artist/designer and my father a mechanic.
I learned formal metalsmithing in high school, and received a Wiebolt’s Scholastic Art and Photography Award for a necklace I created with handmade beads of wood and brass.
Post college, I began making jewelry again at my kitchen table, continuing my study of metalsmithing and using a real studio wherever I could: with several independent teachers; at Morning Glory Studio; at Lill Street Studio (where I also served as an open studio monitor); and at the College of DuPage.
I have sold my handmade jewelry and bowls at several Chicago area establishments, as well as through pop-up shops in a variety of locations.
I was bitten by the Art Clay bug quite by accident; browsing a website, seeing a description for a new product, and clicking on it. My life has not been the same since.
Some traditional metalsmiths have not embraced metal clays, and I do not understand why. I think metal clays add wonderful dimension to our art, and are a brilliant new tool to explore and utilize to the fullest! They are a perfect compliment to traditional metalsmithing techniques. I am thrilled every day to try to figure out new ways to use them!
My goal as an artist is to make beautiful, witty, superbly crafted items which delight people, enhance their lives, and can be passed down for future generations to enjoy.

Chris LaRue - Associate Instructor

Christine LaRue is a visual artist who specializes in ceramic, metal and polymer clays. She is equally comfortable throwing on the potter's wheel, or handbuilding sculpture forms, functional or non-functional works. She particularly enjoys the use of textural surfaces to highlight and enhance works, using glazes, paints, wax, crystals and semi-precious stones. Her style is grounded in ancient pre-Columbian art, and art from Native America, African, Maori and Asian cultures.

Ms. LaRue is a graduate of the University of Denver in Latin American Studies and minor in ceramics, studying under artists such as Maynard Tischler and Delores Fortuna. She has shown at various art fairs and galleries such as North Halsted Market Days, Washington Park, Printer's Row, Around the Coyote art fair & gallery, and the Hyde Park Art Center near the University of Chicago. She is an alum of Hyde Park Art Center's "The Center Program", an Artist Professional Development Program. She taught for over 25 years handbuilding and throwing at Creative Claythings. She is an artist who enjoys keeping her hands in clay!

Susan Lokaj - Associate Instructor

Susan Lokaj has been working with metal clay since taking her first class in 2014. Her work is inspired by nature and her love of the ocean, and often incorporates themes of water, beaches, shells and sea creatures. Her background is in graphic design and corporate training. A self-proclaimed “jewelry class junkie”, she loves learning new skills and techniques, and brings that love of learning to her classroom. Susan teaches chainmaille and silver clay, and enjoys working with copper clay and bronze clay, and is currently learning enameling to add additional color to her work.

Kat Wisniewski - Associate Instructor

In 2005, Kat Wisniewski established Elemental Art Jewelry with the goal of bringing distinctive wirework and chainmaille jewelry to fashion savvy clients, who appreciate the art of hand-made jewelry. Based in Chicago, IL, Kat finds much of her inspiration from her love of the geometric design of everyday objects. Her work is also affected with thoughts of the machinery in industrial and factory buildings, combined with her desire to create luscious textures with brilliant colors.
Elemental Art Jewelry is primarily comprised of woven circular pieces of glass and metal, which Kat simply refers to as “glass chainmaille”. As of 2016, she has published 17 projects, invented 20 weaving patterns, and has been teaching chainmaille and wirework for 12 years. Her new book, New Connections, released in May 2016, contains 25 projects that feature glass and rubber ring chain mail jewelry.
Kat’s focus for Elemental Art Jewelry is to provide beautiful symmetry from highly innovative, geometric glass chainmaille designs, steering every impulse for women and men to accessorize casual and elegant fashion.
Her love and dedication to chainmaille, specifically to glass chainmaille designs, have allowed her to grow into being one of the nationally known experts in this very niche field. She displays her work throughout the Chicagoland area artisan shows and retail locations. Kat has previously participated as a member of The Artisan Group, a national and widely known celebrity gifting organization for handmade goods.


Previously Featured Guest Artisans:

Lilian ChenLilian Chen - Guest Artisan

Lilian Chen is an internationally-renowned bead and wire artist, an award-winning designer, and an official Ambassador of CREATE YOUR STYLE with SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS. She is very proud of her ambassadorship and loves to represent SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS’ new innovations through her workshops and designs. Lilian focuses on working with the most interesting new Swarovski shapes and colors; she also works with a variety of other jewelry-industry companies and their newest advances in jewelry art items.

Lilian strives to create unique jewelry art and design challenging new styles, using a variety of materials that leads her to the formation of a one-of-a-kind art piece. She teaches workshops nationally and internationally, and her designs have been featured in several bead and wire magazines. She enjoys sharing her designs with students, friends, and fans from all over the world through her Facebook page and through the CREATE YOUR STYLE with SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS sparkling community page.

It has been Lilian’s honor to introduce the book “Crystal Jewelry Inspiration from the CREATE YOUR STYLE Ambassadors,” compiled by Karin Van Voorhees and published by Kalmbach Books. Lillian joined other North American CREATE YOUR STYLE ambassadors to fill this book with 30 glittering projects; the stunning inspirational gallery features work by ambassadors from all over the world.

View some of Lilian’s designs:

Follow Lilian on Twitter at Twitter

Christi Friesen

Christi Friesen - Guest Artisan

Christi began her life as an artist with an oil painting class when she was five years old. It was messy. Since then, she has evolved in media, method, and cleanliness. She now works primarily in polymer clay which she embellishes with gems, semi-precious stones, and/or beads. Her works consist of sculptural focal beads, art jewelry, and larger sculptural works which can be seen at shows, galleries, and on her web site,

Joy Funnell

Joy Funnell - Guest Artisan

Joy Funnell is well known for her colorful, Joyful Jewelry. On this two day workshop you will create your very own, unique, silver mask pendant in Art Clay Silver, and then add color using traditional vitreous enamels. Not so keen on carnival masks? Then make your own alien or tribal mask instead! In this fun workshop learn how to create the best surface in silver clay for enameling onto, make a three dimensional mask shape, decorate the reverse of your piece, and how to get the brightest, clearest colors and wet lay enamel. You will also learn Joy’s unique Enameled Accents technique to make free standing cells to enamel into.

Anna Mazon

Anna Mazon - Guest Artisan

Anna Mazon is a full time artist from Poland, working with metal clay since 2008. She makes extremely detailed jewelry inspired by nature, ancient cultures and fantasy literature. She wants her projects to render the atmosphere of magic, mystery and old ages. Her work and tutorials were published in various magazines and other publications. She was a Saull Bell Design Award finalist in 2013, second place winner in 2014 and again a finalist in 2015.

Arlene Mornick

Arlene Mornick - Guest Artisan

Arlene is a Master Instructor for Art Clay World and teach Metal Clay in several locations in the San Francisco Bay Area as well as at many annual festivals held throughout the country including Glass Craft and Bead Expo in Las Vegas, NV and Bead & Button in Milwaukee, WI. Her step-by-step, project articles appear frequently in Jewelry Artist/Lapidary Journal magazine. She is dedicated to teaching as she is to her craft. Throughout her many years of teaching, she has found great joy in guiding others as they open new doors to creative expression. Her web site,

Wanaree Tanner

Wanaree Tanner - Guest Artisan

Wanaree Tanner is an award winning artist and instructor, with a love for illustration and a fascination with world mythologies. She started working in metal clay in 2008 and quickly became obsessed with turning two dimensional drawings into three dimensional forms. When copper clay hit the open market, she bought her first pack and never looked back. After years of experimenting and dreaming, she’s feels she’s finally able to bring the forms lurking in her mind into reality. She has also recently taken up the art of tattooing, combining her secret passion for stippling and pointillism with inking skin.

She travels all over the world teaching her techniques, is a contributor for Metal Clay Artist Magazine, Art Jewelry, Metal Clay Today, and is currently the video editor for MCAM’s resource library, and tattoos out of Owl’s Club Tattoo Studio in Quincy, IL.

Register for Classes Here
A course catalog is available by calling 708-857-8800 or download a copy here.

Teach a Class

The Greater Chicago Artisan Center is actively seeking artists interested in teaching their craft. If interested, please contact Katie Baum: or 708-857-8800 x109