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INSTRUCTORS

SUE GILBERT ABARE studied at Ohio State University & at the Cincinnati Art Museum. She has taught privately and at the Kaleidoscope School of Art in Barrington. Sue exhibits throughout the Midwest & South, has artwork in many private & public collections, and tries to devote most of her time developing her own paintings.

MICHAEL BETTINE, percussionist, has been working with these instruments for over 40 years. He has written various books on percussion and released over 40 recordings under his name. His long running blogs, The Way of the Gong, Art As A Spiritual Practice, and Percussion Deconstruction, have been embraced by both the meditation/sound therapy, and percussion communities.

Besides the sound mediation sessions, he is also one half of the GONGTOPIA TAIRAKU duo, along with shakuhachi flute player, Brian Tairaku Ritchie (of Violent Femmes fame). Michael is also devoted to music education and has presented workshops on Gongs at the prestigious Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC) in 2005 & 2012 and was the Artist in Residence at the 2016 MONA FOMA Festival in Hobart, Australia.

KATHY BJERKE is the owner of Restorative Massage & Bodywork LLC in Roscoe, IL. She has been a licensed massage therapist since 2011 and a Reiki Practitioner since 2008. Her massage specialties are Oncology, Manual Lymph Drainage, Reflexology, and End of Life. She incorporates energy work in all aspects of her work and has been very drawn to Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupressure. She has been working with oracle cards for the past 12 years and has found them to be very helpful in her spiritual journey.

HELEN BOND is a dynamic percussionist, teacher & storyteller who has found music to be an inspiration and source of strength and resiliency since her childhood. Since 2000, Helen has traveled regularly to Guinea, West Africa to study the intricate musical traditions and culture of the Malinke people, whose ancestors created the djembe and dunun drums centuries ago. She also teaches at retreats, local schools, colleges and universities. She is adjunct-faculty at Lake Forest College where she teaches the “West African Drumming Ensemble” class. Helen offers classes in Guinean percussion music, drum facilitation, and gives storytelling performances. medusadrums.com

MARY BOYD, SSSF is a School Sister of St. Francis and just retired from the field of education after 52 years. She has an MA in Art History and was an Art Studio Major at NIU. She currently teaches art history classes at The Fine Line Creative Art Center and other groups. 

DELORES BURKHOLDER has delighted people with a variety of sculpture and handbuilt clay art since 1997. As part of the American Kennel Club circuit, her pottery dogs are inspired by actual canines from around the world! Delores is one of our clay studio managers. 

BETH CAMPISI is a Licensed Massage Therapist, Reiki Master/Teacher and Certified Chakra Instructor through Bridges of Unity. Her focus is helping others connect on the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual levels to achieve wholeness and well-being using holistic and complementary modalities including working with the chakras.

JEAN KATHRYN CARLSON, Vibrant Living Alchemist, is a certified Tapper. As a master mind detective, she knows the power of challenging beliefs and transforming those that no longer serve. She is no stranger to fearful thoughts about the body. Over the last couple of years, she focused on releasing the tyranny fear she had in her life. Tapping was one of the tools she used to free herself.

LINDA EWALT Linda is a retired art teacher and Jean is a retired classroom teacher. She loves clay and working with the fantastic people in the Womanspace clay classes! She looks forward to helping students explore and expand their clay experience in a fun environment.

JAYMEE FEDOR graduated from Northern Illinois University in 2015 with a BFA in painting. She splits her time between teaching group art classes for all ages, giving private art lessons, freelancing, and painting. She specializes in creating supportive and inclusive environments where new artists feel comfortable and experienced artists feel inspired.

FREYA (also known as Emily Watson Rice) When Freya took her first bellydance class in 2000 as a way to get in shape for her wedding she was immediately hooked. Over the years she’s had the privilege of studying with some of the world's top dancers including Rachel Brice, Ariella, Sonya Blacker, Zoe Jakes, Jasmin Jahal, Mae the Bellydancer, Christina King and many more. Freya became a semi-professional dancer in 2010 performing with troupes Roe-He, Vagabond and Black Silk Road. As a soloist Freya performed in shows throughout the region including Beast Women, Tribal Revolution, Burning Man Decomp, Angels & Absynth, The Glint, and Chicago Hafal for Humanity which raised money for Syrian refugees. Freya is most well known for her ethereal & powerful veil routines using both Egyptian & Chinese style veils that she custom makes herself. Follow Freya on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BelovedFreya.

DEBORAH GAINES has been a Usui Reiki Practitioner since 2003, completed her Master Teacher training in 2009, as well as becoming a Karuna Reiki Practitioner and Teacher as of 2019. In addition to giving Reiki sessions and sharing her love of Reiki, Deb teaches writing classes and facilitates women's retreats through her business, Spirals in Motion. She is also a licensed Funeral Director/Embalmer in IL and WI working for several funeral homes in the area through Adept Funeral Staffing Solutions.

MARSHA GOODHEART is a longtime Womanspace member and mixed media artist who likes to color outside the lines. She has exhibited work locally for many years. Marsha says her work is spirit driven. Like a form of meditation, it comes from her heart.

CHERIE HECK loves to play with art and has a serious addiction to art supplies. She teaches a number of art classes at Womanspace where she is also Art Program & Volunteer Coordinator. Her artistic talents are many and her beautiful creations have appeared in many of our art exhibits and fundraisers.

ELAINE HIRSCHENBERGER is the Executive Director and CoFounder of Womanspace and has years of experience of practicing mindfulness and attentiveness. She received her degree in English from Alverno College and pursued further studies in art and design at College of DuPage, Rockford University and NIU. She is an active member of School Sisters of Saint Francis.

MARSHA COWEN HOSFELD is the past president of the Winnebago and Boone Counties Genealogical Society. She has been working on her family tree for over ten years. Her other hobby, photography, has been an interest of hers since childhood. She has taken formal and informal classes and continues to learn more about how to 'snap' the kinds of photos she loves. Learning how to edit photos has also come in handy for working on, sharing, and preserving her family history.

KERI KNUTSON HOYT, Official Yoga Teacher of the Rockford IceHogs, Certified Advanced Yoga Nidra teacher, Rockford Native, and 20 year practitioner of yoga. Keri is trained in and currently teaches Vinyasa Flow yoga, Traditional Hatha Yoga, Restorative, Chair/Adaptive yoga, and Yoga Nidra in the Rockford area. She also teaches several workshops and events throughout the year and specializes in Yoga for Athletes, Yoga Nidra (a conscious relaxation practice), and working with those who live with chronic conditions, injury, illness, and/or disease. Keri, a nature and animal lover, enjoys spending her free time outdoors, reading, devoting time to her own yoga practice, and traveling.

RUTH ORA JACKSON, MS, ND, CNHP has a doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine and offers psychological and health counseling in her private practice. A member of Womanspace for over 25 years, Ruth has been president of the board and received the Womanspirit Founders Award.

JENNIE JOHNSON SIC enjoys every opportunity to throw on the wheel! Jennie has taken college level classes in Minnesota & Oak Park, IL, as well as, been mentored by a potter in Antigua, Guatemala. Jennie is so thankful to have found Womanspace, a place to throw, be inspired and teach.

NADENE JOHNSON is a Naturopathic Doctor, Acupuncturist, and Massage Therapist. Nadene has a wide range of skills and interests developed over more than 15 years of practice. While practicing as a massage therapist, she developed a keen interest in how the body works and how to support the whole body back to health. This led her to enroll in National University of Health Sciences in order to get her doctorate in naturopathic medicine and masters in acupuncture. She has participated in internships in Nicaragua and China, as well as a multitude of specialized trainings to round out her clinical experience. She has had a lifelong interest in health and is thrilled to begin the journey of bringing out the best, most vibrant health in You! Nadene brings a wealth of skills, critical thinking, intuition, empathy and enthusiasm to help you take the next steps on your health journey. Nadene specializes in Natural Skin Health from the inside out, but can assist in any health challenge.

NORM KNOTT is a recycling artist and works with a variety of themes and images from around the world as well as collections of nostalgia and American culture. He enjoys preserving the past in color and textures that soar as a visionary. Norm is a well-known artist in the Rockford Region and has exhibited his work locally, nationally and has international patrons.

STEPHANIE KRUGER is a professional photographer with 15 years experience in the industry. Her studio specializes in baby's first year, but she takes all types of portraits. "I try to take a fun, open mined approach to teaching so I can meet each student their current level." She is a proud mother to four young children, and in her spare time, she loves to make her children's clothes.

KARLA LOMBARDO holds an Associates of Arts degree from Rock Valley College and Bachelor’s of Education with a focus in Arts from Rockford University. She has exhibited and sold her artwork on commission and through various local galleries, seasonal artist fairs and online. Karla’s painterly style transforms commonplace into luminous conversation pieces on canvas, furniture and even murals. Her art is a visual representation of her magnetic personality and freespirited outlook on life.

NANCY MAYHEW is a Personal Trainer, Wellness Coordinator, Qigong and Tai Chi instructor. She has a passion for working with people to “turn back the clock” in the area of fitness. After retiring from the School District of Beloit as the Human Resource Manager, she went back to school to get her certification as a Wellness Manager and Personal Trainer.  While teaching fitness to seniors, she decided to become certified as a Tai Chi Instructor training under Dr. Paul Lam. Nancy is currently a Qigong apprentice under Master Michael Leone, owner of Zen Wellness in Arizona, a student of Master Lisa O’Shea, owner of the Rochester Qigong Institute in Rochester, NY and Master Bruce Frantzis, owner of Energy Arts. She is also on a panel along with 12 other international expert Qigong instructors to develop Guidelines for Structure and Delivery of Qigong Exercise for Cancer Care Programming. She lives in Beloit, WI with her husband of 46 years and teaches Qigong and Tai Chi at the Beloit Cancer Center, the Beloit Ironworks YMCA, New Zion Church in Beloit, Basics Foods, Janesville, WI and The Gathering Place, Milton, WI.

SWATI MHASKE is an Ayurveda Physician with a Bachelor of Ayurveda Medicine and Surgery from India and also holds a Masters in Pharmaceutical Medicine from India. She is the founder at HemaVeda - An Ayurvedic healing for a happy and healthy life (www.hemaveda.com). Currently, Swati practices Ayurveda and Panchakarma at YogaSeva studio in Crystal Lake Illinois, USA.

With an extensive knowledge and experience in Ayurveda for 14 years, Swati has hands on training in Panchakarma (detoxification and body cleanse procedures). She offers one-on-one Ayurvedic consultations in treating lifestyle disorders, hormonal imbalances, fertility issues and other health imbalances in adults and children.

KATHY MOEHLING, RN is a Board Certified Holistic RN, Traditional Naturopath, Holistic Health & Life Coach, energy work practitioner in Therapeutic & Healing Touch, and a Massage Therapist with over 40 years experience. In addition to teaching teleclasses in holistic coaching with Wisdom of the Whole (formerly Bark Coaching Institute), Kathy maintains a private practice in her home and at Womanspace.

ANYA NELSON is a full time high school teacher who fell in love with clay when she allowed her college counselor to randomly pick an elective class for her that ended up being ceramics. She was so happy when she found Womanspace. It gave her an opportunity to reconnect with her passion and meet an amazing, creative, and supportive group of artists.

SHARON NESBIT-DAVIS is a mime, a writer, a storyteller, and a visual artist who facilitates “Creative Recharge” and “Rebel Writer” workshops for all ages. It took over ten years, but Sharon’s memoir “INTENDED-A Marriage in Black & White” was finally published Feb, 2021. In January of 2020 Sharon retired from her “day job” as Executive Director of the Rockford Area Arts Council. She lives with her husband, George, in Rockford, IL. The have a son, a daughter, and eight grandchildren.

ANGIE NOFSINGER is a self-taught mixed media artist from the Midwest. Her work frequently includes people and pet portraiture, using colored pencil and strict eye for detail. She works as a Registered Nurse in Rockford, but can be found most any other time making her art. You can find her work for sale at local shops around Rockford and online.

NANCY O'NEILL is a self proclaimed clay and glaze addict! She enjoys sharing creative pottery ideas and creating many wonderful wheel thrown and handbuilt pieces. Nancy is excited to be able to try her hand at instructing a class and share time in the clay studio with other like minded clay addicts!

MELISSA PALUZZI is a Master Hypnotic Coach, Board Certified and Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Lymphedema Therapist, Healer and Intuitive. She has always been a Seeker of All Things Interesting, and uses her accumulated knowledge, intuitive Knowings and Collective Unconscious to move through life.

MICHELE RAE is a Transformational Coach and Spiritual Teacher. She is the founder of The Center Within, LLC, author of Living From the Center Within: Co-Creating Who You Are Becoming, and graduate faculty at the University of Minnesota in 3 colleges. As an intuitive, Michele provides guidance navigating the transformative shift we are individually and collectively engaged in as we expand our access to higher consciousness. Her passion is supporting individuals and service groups choosing timelines that have the most positive outcomes for themselves and the greater collective. She delights as clients and students step more fully into their power and release what no longer serves while creating a life they love personally and professionally.

SHANNON REDDEN, M.H., is a master herbalist and works as a holistic health practitioner. She studied beneficial herbs for endurance athletes for her thesis project. Shannon enjoys trail running, mountain biking, camping, and kayaking in her free time.

CINDY ROWE is a mother, business owner and trauma survivor. In three words Cindy is bubbly, magnetic and real. She has endured several traumas in her, life yet chooses to live her life with positivity and kindness. Even through, all those hardships, Cindy continues to rise. Using brave determination to become the best version of herself, Cindy has a passion to help others.

SICA SCHMITZ is a sustainable stylist, energy healer, grief guide, soul writer, and transformation teacher. She has spent almost two decades in the fashion industry — from retail to fashion design to costume design. She creates an intersection between what we wear and who we are by combining Reiki, yoga, the Akashic Records, and veganism with fashion. She has worked with O-The Oprah Magazine, ABC's hit show Castle, and hundreds of ethical fashion brands. Her past creations include Impact Fashion and Bead & Reel, and her current creation is the healing collective The Rewoven, which offers classes, workshops, meditations, and private sessions to heal our relationship with our fashion (and ourselves). Learn more about Sica on her website, www.therewoven.com.

TERRY STOLZ is a graduate of the Masters of Written Communication Program at National Louis University. August 23,2017 his poem, “Stranger in Church” was published in Z Publishing’s book: “Illinois’ Best Emerging Poets.” Terry Stolz was fortunate and grateful for the opportunity to share his memoir, "Seeking the Silver Lining in Grief" on September 13, 2017, in the Grief Digest magazine. Grief Digest publishes a quarterly print magazine, and they chose to include "Seeking the Silver Lining in Grief" in their spring April 2018 issue #3, Volume 14. POETRY PACIFIC a literary e. zine showcased his poem, “Into the Night', in their spring issue, on the 5th of May 2018. On October 24, 2018, National Louis University featured Terry's short story, “Summer of ‘57” in their 2017-2018 Mosaic Literary Publication. November 16, 2018, The Write City Magazine published his poem: "Summertime." Terry’s essay, "A Snapshot of The Life of a Rough Rider" was published in the Mosaic, a literary magazine published by National Louis University on October 28, 2019, issue XIV, 2019.

USHA SUNDARAM, AIA is a Registered Architect owns anArchitectural firm. She came to the U.S. from India as a young bride along with her husband, a student at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. She moved to Rockford with her family later where she has lived for over 25 years. Apart from her passion for Architecture, she has excellent culinary skills. She loves to tryout a wide variety of “fusion cuisine” which are not only healthy but very tasty.

CHRISTINE SWANBERG is the first official Poet Laureate of Rockford, IL. She has published many collections with various national presses, most recently WILD FRUITION: SONNETS, SPELLS, and OTHER INCANTATIONS from Puddin’head Press. About 600 of her poems appear in about 80 national journals, often as a regular. Her major awards include City of Rockford Community Impact Award (for teaching, writing, and mentoring), YWCA Leader Luncheon Award for the Arts, and many poetry awards. Now retired from teaching, she has created a sanctuary in her yard.

SABRINA TASSONI is a visual artist who has been creating for as long as she can remember. She has dabbled with many mediums over the years but finally found her passion for pottery after taking classes in college. Now, she works out of her home pottery studio developing her skills in throwing and surface decoration. She enjoys being able to encourage others to make art a bigger part of their lives and working every day to do the same in her own.

SHIRAZ TATA came to the U.S. from India to get a doctorate in Counseling Psychology from SIU-C and then just kept moving up the state of Illinois to Rockford where she has lived for over 20 years! She is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in private practice where she creates a safe space for people to share whatever may be weighing on their minds or hearts. She loves to facilitate discussions on diversity and all topics multicultural. She also enjoys teaching mindfulness and meditation classes.

JULIE THOMPSON is a retired social worker who was born and raised in Rockford. Her career was spent working in various mental health settings including DCFS, adoption, grief work and private practice. She is mother of 4 wonderful daughters, 8 grandchildren.

RHONDA TOROSSIAN, owner of Pure Simple Self – A Health and Wellness Company, is a certified Digestive Wellness Specialist from The Food Enzyme Institute in Madison Wisconsin. Certified Holistic Health Coach from The Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York, Certified Raw Food Educator from the Raw Food Institute, Certified Nutritional Live Blood Cell Technician from NBA Research Group in Florida. She is also a graduate from Northern Prairie School of Massage and studied Holistic Nutrition at Clayton College. Rhonda has helped many people with chronic health issues reverse their symptoms and return to having health and vitality. Her passion is in educating others on simple ways to improve one’s health. She loves to teach cooking lessons to adults as well as children. Her expertise is in gut health and fermented foods. She has an office located in Rockford that she shares with a Naturopathy Doctor as well as a Therapist that specializes in Autism.

EMILY WATSON RICE of Gossamer Arts has been working in the Chicago art world for over 20 years. Beginning her career as the teaching artist at the Museum of Contemporary Art she went on to become the Manager of the Marshall Field’s Fine Art Gallery and eventually the Director & Curator of Atlas Galleries. She is a talented artist in her own right and is passionate about sharing all she has learned to help other artists succeed.

RAFAELA WICKSTRUM enjoys teaching others to express themselves through sculpture and painting. Rae was self-employed for over 3 decades owning a printing business and a folk art gallery. She is listed in the International Sculptors Digest and has won state awards for “most creative.” She has also developed gift lines for two companies. “Most days I don’t know whether to pick up clay or a paint brush as my compulsion to create is overwhelming.”

SANDY WILLIAMS, LMT, CST-T, LCSW, has been in the health care field in Rockford for over 30 years.  As a certified and advanced practitioner of CranioSacral Therapy (a form of bodywork), Sandy facilitates healing and integration of mind, body, and spirit with her clients. With her social work background, she has a unique perspective providing CranioSacral Therapy and other wellness therapies.  She is a certified practitioner and presenter of Healing from the Core, pioneered by Suzanne Scurlock; Sandy incorporates these skills into her client's sessions and teaches others how to have full body presence.  Sandy has a passion for holding a sacred and therapeutic space to help individuals overcome physical pain and emotional trauma so they can be more in the present moment and use their whole body and soul to live healthier lives.  She provides these healing arts in the warm surroundings of her private practice.


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