Tosa Fest Artisan Interviews-update 2010

Tosa Fest is almost upon us and I thought I’d give you a preview of the Artisans on board for our Community Festival

This is Tosa Fests 33rd year and the fifth year for the Fine Art show

This year the following Artisans are showing their works of Art

Shelly Bird Mosaic Art and Jewelery

Shelly Bird is a professional mosaic artist since 1999. She has done residential and commercial projects specializing in backsplashes, walls, bar tops, and resurfacing kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Mosaic is an alternative to the standard tile that is most frequently used. Shelly has developed her own unique style guided by her passion and intuition. Her original pieces are made using elements of the highest quality. Some of her work is sculptural in nature and include mirrors, wall hangings, furniture, clocks and other items that are both functional and decorative.

Shelly can add an exquisite, unique look to your decor through her use of stained glass, blown glass, natural rock and tile. Each piece she creates is a one-of-a-kind work of distinction.

“I prefer strong vivid colors, using mirrored iridescence surfaces to lend to my pieces a sense of movement…Mosaic art is not a job, career, or living…it is my passion that I live for every day.”

Shelly Bird



Debra Strubbe Burkart,

Acrylics, Giclee prints, Photography,

Art was something that set me apart from the rest of my peers.
I always wanted to make something out of nothing and make it my own.
It was as early as I can remember. Creating cities in my parents garden with sticks

and a garden hose for rivers. I’d also draw found objects such as bark or

hardware that would totally occupy my time.
Colored chalk and pencil was our choice of medium
When I create a piece of art I feel free, no borders or limitations.
Paris fragments done on raw canvas with magic marker and acrylic paint
I always try to keep producing new art it’s important to just keep on challenging myself
as an artist. I love it when people get involved with my paintings. Remembering a time when
they were in Paris or just special moments. One thing that stands out about my art is the
combination of mediums used that gives a unique style to my paintings unlike anyone else.
It’s illustrative yet painterly.


Alaina Burnett,


What first drew you to art?

I have always been creative. I have loved to write, draw, paint, and simply create from a very young age. I feel blessed to have a family that supported and encouraged that creativity from the beginning. There was never a question in my mind that I would dedicate my life to art. When I discovered jewelry making I knew that I had found the perfect medium for me. I have collected gems and fossils most of my life and ultimately found that jewelry design is the perfect way to express that fascination with geology and ancient history.
How long ago was that?

I began making jewelry when I was twelve years old (fifteen years ago). I actually started with seed beads and fishing line! I then began to study the art form of beading and developed my skill and style over time. It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I really began to develop my style.
How would you describe your medium?

Jewelry is a captivating medium. Because it is functional art it affects people in many ways at once. You see the jewelry piece itself, how it accentuates the beauty of the person wearing it, as well as the way it compliments what the person is wearing with it. Jewelry can both be the stand out piece of an ensemble or it can blend with it in order to complete the picture. I love that I get to make a statement when making the piece and its owner gets to carry that statement further by how they choose to wear it.   As I developed my style, I decided to work specifically with natural gemstones, fossils, and sterling silver. There has always been something very alluring about natural gems and fossils to me. Knowing that they come from the earth and the gorgeous colors, patterns, and textures are created naturally fascinates me to this day. I chose sterling silver because it is the most reflective of the precious metals. My work is focused on the stones that I use but I love to incorporate sterling silver to create contrast and little pops of light and sparkle.
How would you describe the feeling you get when you create?

Nothing could ever replace the joy I feel when creating my jewelry. I love what I do and designing new pieces for my collection is a lot of fun! Nearly all of my work is one of a kind so I literally get to start from scratch pretty much every time I sit down at my work table. I hand select my materials in person so that I can choose the best quality but also so that I can begin the design process in my mind before I even get to my studio. My favorite way to design is to first choose the stone or fossil that will be the focal point and study it for a while. I pick out the colors, patterns, and textures and begin to pull other materials that will draw those characteristics out of the focal piece. It really feels like I get to play with my favorite toys for a living. I feel very blessed to be able to dedicate my life to my passion.
What will you be showcasing as your favorite work at Tosa Fest or
Forks & Corks?

I always struggle to choose a favorite piece because each completed piece holds a special place in my heart. I have found that for my late summer/early fall collection I have been drawn to vibrant colors. I work with natural materials (nothing dyed) so when I find natural jaspers, agates, etc. with intense color saturation I get a little giddy! So at Tosa Fest and Forks & Corks expect to see beautiful greens, oranges, and reds balanced with more earthy tones.
What is one thing you want people to know about you or your Art?

If you walk away knowing only one thing about who I am as an artist, know that each piece I create comes straight from my heart. I have a deep passion for jewelry making and the materials I use. My collection is a reflection of who I am. I design each piece to reflect my bold, natural, and archaeological style. It is my desire that every piece of my jewelry bring as much joy to the person wearing it as it brought me as I created it.    

Alaina Burnett


Bead Trotters In Harmony

The Beadtrotters are four experienced beaders

Cindy Collins, Judy Menting, Paulette Biedenbender and Sue Stachelski

who love teaching beading, polymer clay, wirework, and chain maille.

From Paulette Biedenbender one of the four Beadtrotters

What first drew you to art?
As long as I can remember, I’ve always liked to dabble in some type of arts or crafts. I made sure I had at least one art class each year in high school – even joined the “art club”, which both my children have called me a nerd for doing so.

How long ago was that?
The first time I ever did anything with beads was back in the late 60s, when “love beads” became a fad. I began stringing up necklaces like crazy. Then in Art Club in the mid-70s (the nerdy thing) we learned how to do wire-wrapped earrings and add beads. Who knew that years later, I would be doing this again.

How would you describe your medium?
Various beads; glass, semi-precious gemstones, shells, pearls and wood. Basically, if there’s a hole in it and can be strung or woven into something – it doesn’t have a chance staying “loose”!

How would you describe the feeling you get when you create?
It’s definitely exhilarating, especially if I’ve had a bit of a creativity block along the way.

What will you be showcasing as your favorite work at Tosa Fest and Forks & Corks?
Recently, I’ve doing a few more pieces of bead embroidery and will have a couple available at Forks & Corks. However, my work is a wide range of beaded jewelry – no two alike. Perhaps something close to a design I’ve had published in the past, but nothing the same.

What is one thing you want people to know about you or your Art?
It’s everything from plain and casual, to bold and brassy. Just depends what mood I’m in.

more of the Beadtrotters interview to follow…

Tiffany Egbert

(CAMERON TIFFANY EGBERT image to follow)

What first drew you to Art?

When I was little my mom had a friend who loved art and I enjoyed watching her create.

How long ago was that?

It was about 18 years ago.

How would you describe your medium?

My medium would be best described through texture and color. I love layers of different materials. I enjoy looking for unique things to add to my pieces.

What does it feel like to create?

When I create I feel like I’m in a different world. I love that it helps me relax and unwind. When I create it brings me back to my childhood…I love it!

What will you be showing at Tosa Fest?
My favorite work at Tosa Fest will be unique magnet boards and handcrafted bows for girls.
Every piece of artwork I do is different and fun!


Darci Freitag,

Acrylic Paintings email

I've always loved drawing ever since I was a child. 
I would take long walks on the paths near my house and look
for details in the trees, gravel, pavement, and anything
else that was in my vision but one of the things that
inspires me most are the strong women in my life.  I
am the youngest of three girls, with a mother working
full time through out my childhood.  

My work today symbolizes the feminine form and feelings
that go along with the representation of women in
our culture.  As a feminist, I believe it is important
to represent women not as objectified individuals,
but rather as beautiful, harmonious creatures on earth. 
Currently, most of my work are paintings with acrylic
on canvas.  

When I produce my artwork I have the idea of equality
and beauty for all women, no matter what shape or form. 
So many of the colors in my paintings, inspired by Klimdt,
represent the patterns and obstacles women go through.  

As one of my favorite art works, I will be show casing
"A woman's Form",  one of my first large scale
paintings with acrylic and canvas.  As an artist,
I attempt to communicate my feelings of womanhood
and equality through my art work representing
women in a positive light.

Megan Gubler

Frame & Kids Art

interview and image of art work to follow…


Sharon Gruenhagen,

Jewelry, email:

Sharon say’s she has been interested in all art forms all her life. Her first endeavors were creating paper dolls and designing their wardrobes, when she was six years old.Throughout the years she has tinkered with many different genres, from sketching and oil painting, to stained glass. When she began making jewelry however, she became fascinated with the beauty of nature found in rock and stones and has since looked for unique and beautiful stones from all over he world. At Tosa Fest she will be exhibiting mostly wire wrapped pendants and using these stones and pearls to offer beauty and individuality to those who choose to enhance their world.

Tracy Potrzebowski,

The Sewing Girl, A wonderful Sewing Artisan Wearable Art

more to follow…


Kathleen Pulz



What first drew you to art?

Having grown up in a large family, we had to do with very little, so creativity was a necessity for happiness. We couldn’t afford much in the way of instruction so most of us were self-taught whether it was sewing or drawing or learning an instrument. It wasn’t until Junior High that I was able to get instruction in art, taking classes in metal work, pottery and eventually painting. I didn’t have the confidence in college to major in art so I explored my other interests, poetry, dance, early childhood education and visual media. It wasn’t until my oldest child excelled in Art in high school, receiving a national award that I decided to pursue painting with passion and renewed confidence.

How long ago was that?

I’ve painted many images in my mind for years. Analyzing the sky for colors and finding the names to those colors, sitting in many galleries in front of great works, always pondering. When my son Frank got recognition for his talents in 2003, I decided not to wait any longer to rediscover the ache I had inside to paint, and I began taking classes from a local painter.

How would you describe your medium?

I paint with oils. Oil is a fluid medium and I find its texture sensuous. Because of its slow drying time, I can keep coming back to it for adjustments and additions, cultivating a deeper experience for myself, and eventually the viewer. Sometimes painting is like sculpting. When I use a pallet knife its like carving out images on the canvass or adding texture to a range of trees or depth to a flower.

How would you describe the feeling you get when you create?

Painting, creating anything, is such a process, first of all. My interests are many, the human body, nature, the day-to-day stuff we do to live.  Through my art, I try to represent my general impressions on a scene, to bring out what I see and want in life, which is warmth, love, and an appreciation of the beauty of our world.

I often work from photos, only to help me recall my impression of someplace, some experience I had. Sometimes painting can feel like being on a roller coaster—thrilling at one point, anxiety-filled the next, but always satisfying in the end. I am forever exhilarated and excited. I hope the viewer receives the intended experience of my paintings and more.

What will you be showcasing as your favorite work at Forks & Corks?

I am forever infatuated with trees and if I could have been an animal in this life I would want to be a bird. Birds fascinate me and so I have included them in my latest works.

I was in Paris last year and there are no words to describe its beauty. I happen to be there when the weather was perfect and so my latest works include several paintings from this trip.

What is one thing you want people to know about you or your Art?

I think art should be affordable to all. I think to own an original piece of it can never compare to a non-descript print – unless it is a Van Gogh or a Hopper or whatever. Your living space represents who you are and what is important to you. It offers to those that visit you something unique and personal. Art is an experience that can continue to give, long after you’ve adopted it.

Kathleen Leahy Pulz

414-617-1338 under reconstruction (under construction)

Donna Poglino New Creation

Donna Pogliano

Girly Girly Baubles and Beads, low to mid range priced jewelery

Whats your favorite pc of Art?

My favorite piece of art is whatever I made most recently. I also
love paintings by my friend Pamela Anderson of Underwood Gallery and
by Nita Engle who has done some amazing watercolors.

What first drew you to art?

I felt I could make high quality custom-made jewelry and offer it
at reasonable prices. I have a metal allergy and I was tired of the
one pair of gold earrings I wore every day for twenty years. When I
discovered I could make anything I wanted and make items to sell out
of the leftover materials, I didn’t realize it would become a disease.

Customers are continually commenting on the sheer volume of what is
displayed at a show. I guess you could say I’m an accidental artist.
Now I make things to suit the tastes of other people, not just things
I personally like or would wear. Now I design with Girly Girls of all
ages in mind.

How long ago was that?

I’ve been a jewelry artist for about five years now and it never

gets old. I love playing with proportion and color and I’m

continually entranced by the endless variety of gemstone and art glass

and natural materials.

How would you describe your medium?

I describe Girly Girl jewelry as beautiful, durable wearable art.

Perfect as a gift for someone else or as a treat for yourself.

Something for every taste and budget.

How would you describe the feeling you get when you create?

I feel fully engaged when I create and I design primarily by
instinct, letting the materials and the process lead me in whatever

direction feels right. It’s important to know when to quit. When

things start getting too complex, it’s time to back off. Simple is

best and tends to have a timeless appeal.

What is one thing you want people to know about you or your Art?

I can create custom pieces and many pieces can be altered to suit

the customer on the spot. Most pieces are adjustable within certain

limits and many pieces can be made longer or shorter by adding or

removing elements. If the customer leaves happy, then I’m happy.

It’s very gratifying to hear back from repeat customers from year to

year and know that they are still wearing and enjoying their pieces.

CJ Sanculi Creation
unique one of a kind hand knit Jewelery
What first drew you to art?  In grade school there was a project where I had to build a scene of a historical time. I built a stagecoach scene using a shoebox for the setting along with matchboxes for the stagecoaches and cornmeal for the path.  This is my first recollection of doing anything creative and it has blossomed from there… AND I got an “A” on that project. How long ago was that?  Grade school…perhaps 4th or 5th grade. How would you describe your medium?  The first word that comes to mind is intricate.  I use needles smaller than toothpicks to create my line of bracelets. How would you describe the feeling you get when you create?   Knitting in general gives me a very relaxing feeling.  I especially love the way various fibers feel on the palm of my hand.  Designing and creating hand knit jewelry is exciting because it allows me to play endlessly with the color palette. What will you be showcasing as your favorite work at Tosa Fest? Hand knit chip bead bracelets and watches. Czech bead bracelets and watches. What is one thing you want people to know about you or your Art?  I work in several mediums…fiber and paper along with soaps, lotions and shower gels.  I am one of those individuals that others love to hate because of my creativity where I have never taken a class or any type of instruction related to the things that I create.  I am truly blessed!  I, however, will be breaking from this, this month where I am going to take a Viking Knitting class.  This art form incorporates wire with gems and they are stunning.  Look for these creations soon.

Maryanne Schall pearl-bracelet-knitted

Maryanne Schall

higher end jewelery, email

What first drew you to art?

I love the beauty and the possibility of creation.  There is magic in it.

How long ago was that?

I have been making ‘art” from as early as I can recollect.  I remember being about 5 years old

and making pins (for my mother and Nonna.

They wore them to church on their coats;  and I was bursting with pride.

How would you describe your medium?

I am a jewelry artist who manipulates wire into wearable pieces of art.
I feel that wire is a natural medium for conveying

how lines express mood, form, and texture.  I use wire to explore the connections

between mind, body, spirit, the organic and the industrial.  Using a variety of techniques

adapted from basketry, knitting, and metal work, I combine silver, gold, and copper wire with

pearls, precious gem stones, found objects,

antique and ethnic pieces, fused glass, and china shards.

How would you describe the feeling you get when you create?

Bending and twisting the wire into various shapes and forms ignites a feeling of excitement that I never

tire of exploring. My inspiration comes from nature, from architecture, from abstract art – anything that sparks my curiosity

and arouses in me the sense of being connected with the world.

What will you be showcasing as your favorite work at Tosa Fest?

I will be showcasing my silver wire knitted bracelets and necklaces.  They remind me of a magical moment in nature—

coming across a spider’s web laced with dew drops on an early morning.

The bracelets–  gemstones and pearls intertwine with delicate silver wires — create a fairy wing to brush your wrist.

What is the one thing you want people to know about you or your art?

My work is very personal.  I utilize simple tools and techniques.

I want my jewelry to have movement, to be strong, wearable, and interesting.  I hope that people who wear my jewelry

will experience a sense of joy and beauty.

Michelle Moughmer Creation

Michelle Wildgruber, formerly Moughmer

Ceramics & Pottery; Many of you may know her as Michelle Moughmer

What first drew you to art? My dad is a professional industrial photographer and would bring me to work as a little girl. He would give me a pad of paper and a big variety of pens/markers and let me go to town. As I got a bit older he would show me how he develops photo's in the dark room. I started out doing some of my photography but that led to painting in high school and that led to ceramics in outside classes. My youthful enthusiasm has turned into committed passion.

How long ago was that? I was about 5 years old when he started bringing me to work.

How would you describe your medium?I find it difficult to limit myself to one medium. I have many creative outlets. I am not afraid to move from style to style, avoiding an allegiance to one or another mode of representation. I openly defy the rule that an artist must establish a recognizable signature and hold to it to succeed commercially.  My interest less in career building academic credentials than in personal development. But I would say Raku ceramics is my main interest right now.

How would you describe the feeling you get when you create?
I feel enjoyment working with my hands. Being able to show my interests in images, geometrical shapes and colors in the pottery that I create is great.

What will you be showcasing as your favorite work at Tosa Fest or
Forks & Corks?
My Framed Ceramic tiles seem to be my favorite. I have different themes and can get creative with the color glazes.

What is one thing you want people to know about you or your Art?
The act of creating art is a powerful way to express my feelings of life.

Michelle’s interest in Art started early on and finds it a very powerful way to express her feelings of life. Realizing her affinity with clay she focused on Raku pottery, which is heavily influenced by natural forms and lines.  Her passion for classical imagery in her work has been cultivated by her Mexican heritage and her travels through Mexico where she worked with figurative, realism and abstract forms.

Michelle is a Milwaukee and St. Francis native who has called Bay Views artistic community home for over 20 years.   More to follow

We’ll post more as the Artisan Interviews progress Valorie Schleicher

4 Responses to “Tosa Fest Artisan Interviews-update 2010”
  1. Valorie, you are such a treasure. You do an amazing job, always advocating for the artist community. Thank you for all the time and effort you put in on our behalf!

    — Donna Pogliano
    Girly Girl Baubles and Beads

  2. Thanks, love to see your blog post it

Check out what others are saying...

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