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Artists and Educators

Culinary Arts

  • Christina Ng

    Christina Ng

    Culinary Arts

    A San Diego transplant by way of San Francisco, Christina is a personal chef and food educator rooted in supporting local farms and California growers at every meal served. A graduate of University of California, Davis in the area of Food Science, Christina has worked in various arenas of the food service industry including grocery, catering, hospitality, and corporate kitchen positions. She draws on all of these experiences to drive her events and classes across San Diego County.

Glasswork

  • Suzanne Balestri

    Suzanne Balestri

    Glass Work

    A native Californian, Suzanne Balestri was an interior designer when she first began her explorations with kiln-formed (or “fused”) glass. In 2017 she began teaching kiln-formed glass locally through the Art Glass Guild of San Diego and Fallbrook School of the Arts. Suzanne graduated from San Diego State University with a BS in Marketing / minor in Advertising. She also received her BFA at the Design Institute of San Diego.

Jewelry

  • Denise Sarram

    Denise Sarram

    Denise is originally from Brooklyn, NY and the New Jersey shore.  She relocated to Southern California in 2001. The theme of her main body of artwork orbits around her Sicilian family’s immigrant experiences in America and their journeys across the sea. 

    Denise ((bonaimo)) Sarram (BFA), assemblage/jewelry artist and instructor,  has been teaching since 1995. Denise is immensely grateful to have been immersed in a career creating, exhibiting and teaching art. She has also been instrumental in the local community to foster an environment of creative enrichment for various organizations for the last 25 years.

    Denise works on multiple works of art simultaneously, using elements from her extensive collection of found objects which she forages from thrift stores, antique stores and resale shops. Throughout her entire career there has been a theme of upcycling- the process of converting waste materials or cast-away objects into something of intrinsic, aesthetic or practical value. She wire wraps, bolts, drills, glues, collages, paints, sands, saws, molds, sews, bends and forges the various parts of her designs to create with an artful eye, skillful hand and heartfelt intentions.

  • Lisa Mueller

    Lisa Mueller

    Jewelry and Metalsmithing

    Lisa Mueller was initially trained as a metalsmith, making jewelry and functional metal objects. She attended San Diego State University, studying in the Jewelry and Metalsmithing program under the instruction of Professor Helen Z. Shirk. As part of her curriculum, she also participated in studio courses, which focused on painting, drawing, printmaking, ceramics, and sculpture. Following her years of study in San Diego, Mrs. Mueller entered the Metalsmithing program at Cranbrook Academy of Art where she studied under the instruction of Artist In Residence Gary S. Griffin.

    In the fall of 2004, Mrs. Mueller was appointed a position as Artist In Residence at Oregon College of Art & Craft. Her role at the college could be defined as both a conceptual and technical adviser to the students working in the studio. In 2005, she was awarded an additional residency at Denkmalschmiede Hoefgen in Germany. She spent a focused period of time there creating a body of work.

    Mrs. Mueller has exhibited in numerous galleries both nationally and internationally. Currently she resides in San Diego, and is both an educator and a practicing studio artist. She has been teaching art at the college level for the past 13 years.

  • Tara Magboo

    Tara Magboo

    Jewelry and Light Metals

    Tara received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Rhode Island School of Design with a major in Illustration and minor in Jewelry and Light metals in 2001. After undergraduate school, Tara worked as head jeweler for a fashion jewelry company from 2002-2005. There, she gained knowledge of jewelry on a mass production scale and a hands-on view into the inner workings of running a jewelry business. Afterwards, she attended graduate school at San Diego State University where she received her Master of Fine Arts degree in Jewelry and Metalsmithing in 2009. Prior to graduation, Tara started teaching jewelry courses and workshops at the original UC San Diego Craft Center in 2008 till it closed its doors in 2012. In 2009, she started her own jewelry company, Adorable Mayhem, and regularly exhibits her work through prominent retail shows such San Diego Comic Con International and Design Festa in Tokyo, Japan.

Mixed Media

  • Cathy Sparks

    Cathy Sparks

    Cathy Sparks’ focus is easily accessible, unpredictable, and “messy” art-making for all skill levels and physical abilities. While earning her masters’ degree in Expressive Arts (Therapy, European Graduate School, Switzerland) her eyes were opened to fresh interdisciplinary engagements of community art, social contexts, and integrative cultural practice.  She currently bridges community with distinctive forms of mosaic and sculpture in groups ranging from young children to seniors.  Her inspiration includes an intense study of UCSD featured mosaic sculptor, Niki de Saint Phalle.  Before that, Sparks spent a career in graphic design and marketing, making best use of her BFA from Colorado State University. As a mosaic instructor (UCSD Extension, Mira Costa College) and private teacher for over 10 years, Sparks continues to design and co-create independent large-scale sculptures and murals.  That independent project focus in social change and community development extended into the Barrio Logan neighborhood and morphed into her Cat Sparks Art!, inc. studio. The motto: “When in the art-making process, we open up to compassion and empathy for one another and create community.”

    www.catsparksart.com

  • Susan Wickstrand

    Susan Wickstrand

    Susan Wickstrand was raised in La Jolla, and is a local artist in Encinitas. She graduated from USC with a B.A. in Fine Arts and works in various mediums from oil, acrylic to oils and encaustic (wax) collage on wood panels.

    Wickstrand has been a professional full-time artist for over 25 years and has exhibited extensively throughout the U.S. and abroad, with artwork displayed on various T.V. shows including ABC’s “Modern Family,” “Parenthood”, and “MTV Real World.” Her work has also been featured in numerous magazines and periodicals as well as public and private collections. She has collaborated with master photographers Art Brewer and Jeff Divine for her collages and worked with Rip Curl as their “Artist of the Search”, where her commissioned collages appear on apparel for the brand. Susan’s work can also be found at the Greenroom Galleries in Hawaii and Japan.

Painting

  • Lucy Wang

    Lucy Wang

    Painting

    Lucy Wang, an international renowned artist, graduated from the National Taiwan College of Arts in Taipei, Taiwan. She has blended her Chinese painting background and the influence of western painting techniques to develop an innovative style of three-dimensional watercolor on silk, which was featured by "Lynette Jennings, Design" on the Discovery Channel, and "Our Place" on Home and Garden TV. Her monthly educational television program, "The Magic of Chinese Brush Painting", is broadcast on several local cable television stations. Lucy is the author of five Chinese brush painting books which have been published and distributed worldwide. She also taught Chinese brush painting for over 30 years at her studio/gallery in the Spanish Village Art Center in Balboa Park as well as the original UC San Diego Craft Center (1996-2012).

Pottery and Ceramics

  • Allen Reed

    Allen Reed

    Allen Reed’s first experience with clay was in high school at Poway High. He was given a potters wheel and a small kiln for graduation then went to UC Santa Barbra where he received a B.S. in Biology. Allen has been teaching high school ceramics in San DIego since 2001, and has been a member of the San Diego potters guild since 2013.

  • Amber Hamblin-Pederson

    Amber Hamblin-Pederson is a born and raised, San Diego based artist. She graduated from San Diego State University from the School of Art + Design with a BS in Applied Design with an emphasis in ceramics. Her artistic focus is mainly on non-functional sculptural forms and decorative pots where she tries to electrify the surface by combining color, texture, and pattern. Amber has always had a passion for teaching and enjoys guiding students through the creative process. When she’s not in the studio, she enjoys spending time with her husband and their furry children at their home in Fletcher Hills.
  • Ellen Fager

    Ellen Fager

    Ceramics

    Ellen Fager received all of her formal training in ceramics at the original UCSD Craft Center. While still in high school, she started to take classes there, hanging out on the kickwheels in the (then) front patio. After college she took more classes and workshops, managed the clay studio for a while, and was invited to teach, which she continued to do off and on until the Craft Center’s closure in 2012.

    Since then, she has been teaching at the San Diego Potters’ Guild, where she is a member. She is also a member of the Allied Craftsmen of San Diego and the Five Potters group. Most of Ellen’s work is wheel-thrown, almost always paddled, pounded, cut and pasted. In the 1990s, she made teapots in the shapes of fish that were exhibited nationally. More recently, she has been more interested in geometry. She is continually delighted by the things that happen when the symmetrical, utilitarian products of the potter’s wheel are altered and combined.

  • Meredith Habermann

    Meredith Habermann

    While teaching in Japan in her early twenties, ceramic artist Meredith Habermann fell in love with clay and decided to pursue a career in ceramic arts. Over the past twenty years through various internships and apprenticeships, work as a production potter and educator, she developed a broad fluency in clay.  Meredith recieved her MFA from San Diego State University in 2020. She studied Environmental Design and Japanese Language while at Franklin and Marshall College from 2004-2008.

    Through her art practice, Meredith explores the basic human desire to connect and how that need for connection drives us to conform to the culture we are in. Currently she is teaching at Lux Art Institute and Grossmont Cuyamaca Community College. Meredith is a tenant at Bread & Salt in downtown San Diego. There she continues to work in functional pottery and contemporary ceramic arts.

    www.meredithhabermann.com

    Instagram: @meredith_habermann_ceramics

  • Nancy Barbour

    Nancy Barbour

    Ceramics

    Nancy Barbour received her MFA from the University of Florida, in Gainesville after attending Humboldt State University. She lived in Northern China for three years where she taught art classes at the International School of Tianjin, studied Chinese painting, and enjoyed a ceramic residency at The Pottery Workshop in Jingdezhen. She coordinated the Ceramics programs at Colorado Mountain College and the Mendocino Art Center where she was an artist in residence. Nancy is a member of the San Diego Potters Guild and creates her work at their studio in Spanish Village.

  • Ryan Gray

    Ryan Gray

    Ceramics

    Ryan Gray is a native of upstate New York and draws heavily from the influence of that area. After graduating from Lewiston-Porter, where Ryan first was exposed to the world of ceramics, he was accepted into SUNY Buffalo. There, he majored in ceramics and acted as the president of the student-run ceramics club, The Coalition of Ceramic Designers. Ryan graduated with a B.S. in Ceramic Design and went on to complete his Master of Fine Arts degree at San Diego State University.

    Upon graduation Ryan has worked as a Ceramics Professor at Miracosta College, Miramar College, and Southwestern College. He has also helped start and run two non-profit Ceramic studios in the community, at the Lux Art Institute and Charity Wings Art Center. He has taught ceramics to children for the past 9 years at the Gateways Summer School, and continues to work in functional ceramics, sculpture, and painting.

Surfboard Shapers

  • Brian Szymanski

    Brian Szymanski

    Szymanski grew up in Cardiff, where he developed a love of surfing along with a knack for repairing dings in his own boards. Eventually, this led to a job at the Ding King Surfboard Repair Shop, where under the guidance of veteran shapers and designers Szymanski mastered every aspect of making and repairing surfboards. In 2002 Szymanski bought the business, expanding into paddle boards and other areas.

    Szymanski designs surfboards and paddle boards for several top companies, as well as for world renowned athletes, such as Connor Baxter and Annabell Anderson. As an athlete himself, he has won the Catalina Classic twice, and he has participated in 16 consecutive Molokai to Oahu races. He has also worked on some unconventional projects, such as designing and building the handcrafted reception desk for the UCSD Craft Center and several art installations for the Alila Marea Beach Resort in Encinitas—a collaboration with designer Mark Zeff. Szymanski describes himself as a strong believer in the "transfer of knowledge." He enjoys mentoring younger people and supporting the surf teams of his local schools. He has been a key adviser in developing our new surfboard shaping/glassing program, and it is with great pleasure that we welcome him as an instructor.

  • Dave Migdal

    Dave Migdal

    As a California native and San Diego resident, Dave has been surfing for over 50 years. He started shaping in 2015 after retiring from a local Aerospace firm. Dave has shaped about 3-4 boards a year since, with solid mentoring from a core of professional shapers.

    A big part of Dave’s retirement activities has been centered on Bird’s Surf Shed. Dave volunteers and/or just hangs out at “The Shed” on a regular basis. Time at The Shed has greatly increased Dave’s knowledge base on board shapes, fins, and how they work together.

    Dave’s personal shaping logo is “Anakala Surfboards”. Anakala means “Uncle” in Hawaiian as Dave is “Uncle Dave” to his nieces and nephews. Dave’s motto is “Ride what you shape!” and that fits right in with the ethos of the UCSD Craft Center Surfboard Shaping program!

    Dave is a San Diego State University alumnus with Industrial Arts and Master of Business Administration degrees. His industrial experience and hands-on shop time let Dave create shaping tools and aids to make shaping easier for beginning shapers.

  • Valerie Duprat

    Valerie Duprat

    Valerie loves every aspect of surfing from riding the waves to making the surfboards. As a full-time biochemist with a doctorate, she finds that surfing and shaping have given her an opportunity to balance her life (and she is much happier because of it).

    What started as a hobby has grown into a steady business, and the list of clients for her company, Mere-Made Surfboards, keeps growing. Over a period of about 10 years, Duprat has made approximately 280 surfboards, all of which have been customized for each client as a unique work of art. She is constantly expanding her knowledge of the craft by studying with masters in her native France, California, and Hawaii, including world-famous shaper Matt Kinoshita. She is one of a rare breed of female shapers in a field dominated by men, and while the competition has been very rough at times, she has also found that being different gives her a strength that is not easily matched by others. Duprat says that when she puts her heart and soul into every surfboard that she makes, her customers feel the stoke.

Textiles

  • Amy Crumbacker

    Amy Crumbacker

    Amy Crumbacker has been crocheting since the age of eight and learned to knit about 8 years ago. Learning her passion for diy crafts at a young age from her father who is an avid woodworker helping him with projects such as building a garage door and bunk beds. Amy is a San Diego native that is also a UCSD staff member. Crochet always being a hobby she enjoys teaching many friends and coworkers over the years how to crochet. 

    Amy creates all types of items when crocheting or knitting from blankets, hats, sweaters, and amigurumi.

  • Sarah Winston

    Sarah Winston

    Textile Arts

    Sarah Winston has been designing, dyeing, and weaving apparel and accessories (as well as preserving collectible textiles) for over two decades. A graduate of San Diego State University, she found her passion when enrolling in the graduate program for Applied Design in Textile in 2000. Over the years, her work has been featured in various group exhibitions such as the San Diego Visual Art Museum and the San Bernardino College Art gallery. She has received 1st place and honors at California Weaver’s Conference and numerous fiber art shows. She has 12 years experience in the museum world as a textile collection manager and received formal training through the CSU Long Beach and at the International Preservation Studies Center.

    Her dual cultural heritage from Switzerland and Nigeria is reflected in her hand-dyed, handwoven work. Her sources of inspiration are the harmonious colors and textures of nature, and her mentors are the traditional weavers and dyers of South Asia, Japan, and West Africa. She uses the beauty of natural fibers (linen, silk, hemp, and alpaca) with the subtle radiance of natural dyes and traditional techniques to create simple, elegant, wearable pieces.

Woodworking

  • Chance Coalter

    Chance Coalter

    Woodworking

    Chance Coalter is a furniture designer, craftsman, and educator from San Diego. He received a degree in Applied Design (woodworking) and Business Administration (marketing) from San Diego State University in 2013. He is an Adjunct Professor at Palomar College in San Marcos, CA, and has taught at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockport, ME, the Sturt Craft Center in NSW, Australia, and Penland School of Crafts in Penland, NC, among others. His love for woodworking came at a young age, whether he was building a tree house with his dad or whittling on the porch with his grandfather. He currently works as a self-employed artist building mostly wood furniture.