Tosa Fest 2012 Artisans

2012 Artisan Lineup

Tosa Fest Artisan Sept. 7th & 8th 2012

Artisan Interviews

The Artist area has now moved to the Ace Hardware store location at the intersections of State Street, Harwood and Underwood.

This year we are presenting a group of artisans from painters, drawers, sculptors, jewelry makers, Illustrators, Mixed media and Photographers. Milwaukee Artists Resrouce network (MARN) will also show with us.

Fred Bell

First off – can we have a little background information on you – Where you live? (if you don’t mind answering)

I grew up in Wauwatosa on 61st Street and attended Pius XI High School.  At that time Pius offered art classes only to students with good grades of which I was not.  In 1971 I hitch hiked to Provincetown Masseschussettes where I studied for six summers with Henry Hensche who was a pretty famous teacher.  After Hensche I lived in New York City for 15 years and took classes there.

What first drew you to Art?

For a long time I wanted to be a criminal, then art came along.  I just knew I could do it.  My parents didn’t know anything about art which was a plus.  My aspirations felt different than the other kids.  I didn’t feel like a “normal” life would be satisfying.  As it turns out, I was right to follow my intuition.

How long ago was that?

About the age of 10 or twelve. A few years ago.

How would you describe your medium?

I would describe it as paint, oil paint.

What does it feel like to create?

It feels like I’m doing something useful, like I’m not wasting my time.  It’s fulfilling.

What motivates you?

Poverty is big.  I’ve got to make stuff to sell.  There are a lot easier ways to make money than art though.  I look at my work with the big picture in mind, how my work fits into the art world at large.   Growth is inspiring, learning something new, progressing and feeling that progress.  Seeing someone elses work that is really great.

What inspires you?

Seeing myself getting better.  I look at other people’s work all the time.  Sometimes there is something someone else is doing that I can use.  Selling is very inspirational too.  I couldn’t be a hermit who works all the time and doesn’t show it.  I want the feed back and buying my work is the best feed back I can get.

Are you working on any new Project(s)


Tell us about your main project?

I’m working on a series of paintings that express more personal feelings and use figures in interiors and symbolism.

Why did you choose this forum to express your art?

I wanted to make my work more personal, to express my emotional life and I like painting figures and portraits.

Where are you at with your main project now?

I’m working on it and have about 8 paintings done.

What advice would you a young Artisan in promoting their Art?

Show your work and do it in the best venues you can.  Join an art group that has member shows so you can see your work next to others and the public can see it.  Go to other people’s shows and make connections.  Have shows with friends.

Do you think that being an Artisan is something that is in your blood? Or is it something that can be learned?

The desire to do it comes from within.  If you are meant to be an artist you will be, no matter what kind of education you get.  I don’t believe that someone can be encouraged or discouraged to be an artist.

There are two parts to every art, skill and emotion.  Skill can be taught but not the emotional side.

What is the best advice you have ever been given in your field of Art?

You’re good, just keep doing it.

How many hours do you work daily on your Art and what are your daily tasks for your work?

I work on it all the time.  In the morning I e-mail and reply, post work on the web, work on my website, look at other people’s work, read, stretch canvases.  In the afternoon and night I paint.

What will you be show-casing  at the Tosa Fest Fine Art Show?

Pencil portraits of fair goers. I love doing these things and meeting new people and being able to have a direct and personal experience with them.  I always try to make them look good.  That’s what I’d like to see.  Something to live up to.

Debra Stubbe Burkart

Acrylics, Giclee prints, Photography

What first drew you to Art & How long ago was that?

Since 2nd grade I just knew I was an Artist. My interest in the Arts (especially Music and the Visual Arts) became a real focal point of my life. I would have my Dad drive me to the library where they would have live Classical Concerts playing. After the Concert I would spend the rest of the day looking at the Art books.

How would you describe your medium?

My medium is non-traditional. I use acrylic paint on raw or unprimed canvas and then draw the details with magic marker.

Why did you choose this forum to express your art?

I love to paint and I love to draw and this technique allows both loves to unite and complement each other.

What does it feel like to create?

Creating is a high and makes me want to create even more.

What motivates you?

The need and desire to create.

What inspires you?

Many things inspire me but I enjoy textures especially the look of paint on a surface.

What advice would you a young Artisan in promoting their Art?

Believe in what you are doing and continue to ignite your creativity by challenging and stretching yourself. Always practice thinking outside the box.

Do you think that being an Artisan is something that is in your blood or is it something that can be learned?

You really have to have a desire, and a knowing that you are a REAL Artist. Yes you can learn techniques and dress the part but face it being an Artist is not for the faint of heart. It’s tough yet a rewarding road.

What is the best advice you have ever been given in your field of Art?

Always be true to yourself.

How many hours do you work daily on your Art and what are your daily tasks for your work?

I am constantly thinking and producing art. Sometimes the most obscure thing will trigger an idea or solution for a piece of art I might be working on or stimulates a new piece. I carry a sketch book everywhere I go. I’ve been known to wake up at night and start sketching out ideas or at the very least making notes. I normally work at night into the morning. I need to get the busyness of the day out-of-the-way and then I can be “Free to be me” and create without interruption.

What will you be showing at Tosa Fest’s Fine Art show?

For Tosa Fest I’ve been working on some NEW and EXCITING paintings and drawings of Italy and Milwaukee Landmarks. These paintings are done with acrylic paint on raw canvas and magic marker. Originals as well as affordable prints and greeting cards will be available for purchase. Commissions are welcomed.


Mike Frye

Metaphysical Healing Jewelry

Mike offers a wide variety of semi precious stones that can enhance your energy field for specific ailments, healing and attracting certain energies into your space. A must see! http://www.vlsculptures/

Shelly Orlandini Photography

Shelly collects the images of everyday life in America and Europe. Her eye catches the things we may miss as we walk down the street. Shelly’s work can be seen at each gallery night at Orlandini’s studios on 6th & Virginia.

CJ Sanculi

Unique one of a kind hand knit Jewelry, email

CJ works in several mediums…fiber and paper along with soaps, lotions and shower gels. CJ one of those individuals that others love to hate because of her creativity where she has never taken a class or any type of instruction related to the things that she creates.

Carol’s current passion is working with wire where she incorporates beads resulting in pieces that include Viking Knitting, coiled wire and hand knit beaded items where she works with needles that are smaller than toothpicks!

This passion began about two years ago when Carol was experiencing a horrendous sleepless evening.  She found her way to a hank of silk yarn and began knitting something that she had no clue as to what it might become….hence my hand knit bracelets.

Last year Carol became intrigued with the thought of working with wire and began doing Viking Knitting incorporating a variety of beads including faux Pandora type beads that became an instant hit with clients.  As of late Carol has been designing some exciting pieces from coiled wire accented with Viking Knitting….stunning!

Carol’s roots are from the Upper Peninsula of MI in a region of God’s country.  She currently resides in West Allis, WI.  Carol is employed full-time as a caregiver where she is able to use her artistic expression as a form of therapy.  She works with acute dementia clients and others who are in their final days of their life.

Carol enjoys working with clients to design jewelry for special events and weddings!

Valorie Schleicher

Valorie Schleicher, Artisan, Sculptor Photographer

First off – can we have a little background information on you – Where you live (if you don’t mind answering);


I Am an Artist, and Arts Advocate I hold many Art Chairs around my community to show Art in unexpected places. Where the everyday person can step into a space filled with Art and experience that shift out of time and space, into spaciousness, timelessness to experience spiritual healing, other people, and just be inspired.

I just completed my third and fourth Public Arts Commissions.  Last year I worked with students from  School in West  Wi., and the last two for the Village of Grafton. They are Metal Guitar Banners, that show give a sense of History. They will reside in their historic downtown district, hung from their light poles acting as signage and giving you a sense of Grafton’s History. The Guitars will be installed shortly.


I was honored with my 13th award for my Strong Woman Series. The Strong Woman Series is a collection of women’s’ faces within sculptural ground that symbolizes the various moments in ones lives, moments defined through and about women.


I am humbled and honored to be a volunteer at Aurora Zilber VNA Family Hospice in Wauwatosa. I love being able to assist in the transition that comes with end of life, not only for the dieing but their families and friends.


What first drew you to Art and how long ago was that?

For me it was a series of connections first, as kindergartener I drew a clown in finger paints. The principle Ms. Maxwell hung it in her office at in Milwaukee.

As time went on in the 5th grade I drew the house next store to scale with all the landscape. When I brought it to school my teacher claimed I did not do it. I’m guessing it was pretty good.

My younger self was always writing and drawing. I knew I would end up in clay at the age of 12.  

However, I also do photography. It allows me to see the world in another view point. I picked that up at Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design when I went to college later in life…

How would you describe your medium?

My medium is two fold using both clay, and photography it is grounding and very malleable. I can create from my imagination and form it, bring life to it. My Photography is my connection to architecture, cultures and the connections between all people and what connected us to each other.

What does it feel like to create?

Like I have my best friend next to me and we are living in pure joy, if one has ever experienced true joy and happiness all rolled into one that is me when I create.

What motivates you?

Building & Connections, I am good at it, seeing the dots and being able to connect them to people, places, time and space. It is so inspiring when they all come together.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by gifts that we all have, unique unto ourselves. I am inspired by love, children, strong women, people, places, History, cultures and communities.

Are you working on any new Projects (if more than one);

Tell us about your main project?

I have many projects on the burner, some have been simmering for a while I am a new artist at the Arts Mill in GraftonWI. A sister site to the NorthShoreAcademy of the Arts. A beautiful old building built in 1884 that wants to come to life again, we house about 20 artists some of us create there, others sell their work there all are on the second floor.

I am working on collecting faces of women from around the world, for my DNA pc. Back in 2005 A DNA expert found that the world was descended from 7 women, the book was called the seven daughters of Eve. I am creating a work of Art that shows these women and their daughters.

Why did you choose this forum to express your art?

Clay is so malleable that I can create anything with it, its like thinking an art piece in your head, but it moves from your head to your hands like precision and clock work.  It is so natural and part of the earth we walk on each day.

Where are you at with your main project now?

I am getting ready to put the Boards up and begin the layout with the 10 years of accumulated history.

What advice would you give a young Artisan in promoting their Art?

Dream, Love, and give life to your passion, what ever that may be. Learn all there is to know about it and work through each thought you have with your art. Play, have fun, laugh, trust your instincts.

Do you think that being an Artisan is something that is in your blood? Or is it something that can be learned?

We are all Artisans at something; it’s our unique gift, to our jobs, our mates, our friends and family. Give passion to your gifts so that they go out into the world to and speak to people, help people, heal people, move people, change the world.

What is the best advice you have ever been given in your field of Art?

Trust your instincts!

How many hours do you work daily on your Art and what are your daily tasks for your work?

I never shut down I am always working on something, whether its promoting young artisans or older ones, or some project that allows people to get in touch with who they really are their “Gifts”.

What will you be showcasing at the Tosa Fest Fine Art Show?

I will be showing my strong Woman series which has now taken 12 awards since creating them and my Photography.

I also organize the Fine Art Tent so I will be helping the artisans be at home, have fun, and create a great escape for our attendees to connect with Art and themselves; Sort of like stepping out of time and space, into timelessness.


James Steeno


James has always been interested in drawing and illustration, doodling on every scrap of paper within reach since he was a small child. Throughout his childhood his parents enrolled him in various drawing classes outside of his regular schooling to explore his creative interests. Earning recognitions and numerous art excellence awards as a teen prompted him to follow graphics and illustration interests in college. Since earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh, James became a professional artist and illustrator.  A lifelong Wisconsinite, James now lives in Milwaukee with his wife, daughter and two crazy dogs.

I am a full-time freelance illustrator and graphic artist from magnificent Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I grew up in Green Bay, and studied illustration and design at the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh where I received my Bachelors. I specialize in product design, architecture, wildlife, and sports illustrations.

I love illustrating with watercolors, paper collage, and painting. I get a little rush out of making marks on fresh white paper or canvas, the creative process and watching images spring to life through color and lines. I am extremely lucky to have my own home studio space and that my creations are being purchased and sent all over the world to Etsy art-lovers everywhere.

My art is inspired by local strange history, impassioned architecture, birds, animals, and creatures, flora and fauna that share our habitat,…


Kristeen Toeller- Acrylic on canvas


Lydibird Artworks, LLC


I grew up in Milwaukee and lived in Wauwatosa for almost a decade before getting married and buying a home in Brookfield where I currently live with my husband and amazing little girl who is almost 2 ½ years old.

Growing up I was always interested in being creative, (which was inspired by my mother). Art class was always my favorite but it wasn’t until high school that I really decided to pursue my interest more seriously. I mostly focused on drawing but I had an art teacher at Milwaukee Lutheran High School who was always so enthusiastic about every project that we worked on and encouraged us to try different styles and mediums.

After high school I attended UW-Milwaukee’s school of Fine Art and received a BFA with a focus on Graphic Design. After graduating, I began to experiment with acrylic painting and participated in several group shows that had annual exhibits in the greater Milwaukee area. This began my shift to acrylic painting. On occasion I create sketches on my Mac in Illustrator, which is a medium that I will always enjoy.

In addition to the group exhibits at local galleries I have shown my artwork at art fairs and markets in the Wauwatosa and Elm Grove area.  Last year I established a LLC under the name Lydibird Artworks in order to promote my artwork under a more recognizable identity.  Which was also a great opportunity to implement my Graphic Design training.

The strongest motivation for me to create is the joy my paintings bring to people. Seeing them smile and laugh out loud is the greatest compliment anyone can give.

The strongest inspiration for me is color. I am automatically drawn to anything that has bright colors. My style is contemporary and I enjoy painting flowers and animals, there is a definite apparent graphic influence in my artwork. There are three series that I have primarily been concentrating on the last couple of years. I like to challenge myself and ask myself what I can do to take my designs to the next level so my work is always evolving.

The Hide Park Series is a collection of stylized portraits of ostriches and giraffes currently. I will be adding camels and peacocks later this year. I painted the original ostrich for a group show that had a Texture theme. This is how I contrived the concept of painting my interpretation of an ostrich’s hide as the background. I branched out to giraffes from there.

Filed Series is a graphic rendering of Black-eyed Susan’s after the petals fall off. My inspiration was a photograph that I took of my garden several years ago. Since the images are very clean and simple I create the backgrounds using several layers of paint so each color can be seen to give the piece depth.

Another series I enjoy working on is a collection of birds and owls that are usually perched on branches. I use the same background technique as The Field Series to add interest and texture. These pieces are completely whimsical and very fun to create.

Advice for young artisans would be, not unlike a relationship listen to your heart but follow your gut. Once that is found, the more passion put into it the more beautiful it will be. Also getting to know fellow artists with more experience has helped me greatly.

Kristeen Toeller- Acrylic on canvas The strongest inspiration for me is color. I am automatically drawn to anything that has bright colors. My style is contemporary and I enjoy painting flowers and animals, there is a definite apparent graphic influence in my artwork. There are three series that I have primarily been concentrating on the last couple of years. I like to challenge myself and ask myself what I can do to take my designs to the next level so my work is always evolving.

                                     Michelle Moughmer Creation

Michelle Wildgruber

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 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
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.

Milwaukee Artist Resource Newtwork

The Milwaukee Artist Resource Network (MARN) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit art-service organization that provides professional development tools to the creative class. MARN was founded in 2000 after the Wisconsin Arts Board in partnership with the Milwaukee Arts Board convinced the Urban Artist’s Initiative to assess the needs of local artists. Those meetings identified the need for an organization to help artists, across disciplines, with the business side of art. Most major cities have an organization like MARN, but few have programming as comprehensive as ours.

At the beginning MARN operated as a “grass-roots” non-profit with a volunteer board and part-time Executive Director. Even in this state MARN was able to become an essential piece of Milwaukee’s arts scene. First they started an on-line listserv that quickly became THE source of information sharing amongst artists. Then, in 2004 they began MARNmentors which continues as one of MARN’s cornerstone programs. 2009 saw the addition of a full time Executive Director and the pilot year of MARNsalons, 2010 brought the creation of MARNmic Night and MARNstages, and finally in 2011 MARN launched Writer’s Wednesday and MARNkino.

 More to follow


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