3D Faculty




NEIL ANDERSON; Department CO-Chair - Fine Jewelry

 Neil didn’t get involved in metal arts until taking a beginning jewelry class to fulfill a requirement for a BFA degree in 1973. His professor and mentor Lee Peck had a blacksmithing workshop that Neil attended. This started him on the path to a MFA in metalsmithing and jewelry design, completed at NIU in 1977. Since then, Neil has been a self employed blacksmith/metalsmith and wood worker, doing mostly custom commissions. 

LINDA BINGLE; Polymer clay 
 I have always thought of myself as an artist all my life, no matter what other jobs I have been working. I grew up surrounded by my father’s paintings and my mother’s craft projects, and have always had a love for design, color, and texture. I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts in the area of painting from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and have also studied pastels, jewelry and metalworking, printmaking, fiber arts, collage, and creativity. I consider myself a multi-media artist, but my current passion is polymer clay because of its playful versatility.
Dan Caldwell
DAN CALDWELL; Blacksmithing 
Dan has been creating custom knives, swords, and axes for over 20 years. Each piece is unique and meticulously crafted. His eye for detail sets him apart. Many years ago he began creating custom exterior iron art for high end landscape contractors, that has lead to many different wrought iron projects. Dan has created custom gates, fireplace covers, grates and accessories He graduated from NIU with a BS in Design. 


RON DILLER; Woodworking 

Ron’s personnel likes include carving subjects such as caricatures, songbirds and stylized animals. He also carves functional items such as whistles, bowls, spoons and pins. Ron is mostly a self-taught carver but gives credit to what he’s learned from peers and master carvers while observing and taking classes over the years. Ron has taught and mentored members of the North Suburban and Batavia Carvers, of which he is a member. 

 Claudia Engle-Rush

CLAUDIA ENGEL-RUSH; Department CO-Chair-Fine Jewelry 

Born in Europe into a family of artists, Claudia was surrounded by an array of art mediums, from the visual arts to music. After moving to Illinois, she discovered the metals and jewelry program at NIU, where she graduated with a BFA and MFA. When creating a piece, whether it is organic, geometric or abstract, Claudia builds on the interplay between form and function. 



Dean started collecting rocks when he was 3 years old. His mother had to check his pockets before putting his pants into the washer. This fascination with rocks was the gateway to tumblers and tumbling. And as he got older he acquired a slab saw which led to a trim saw which led to a polisher to cut cabachons. After years of creating beautiful cabs, he began taking metalsmithing/jewelry classes at the Fine Line. And now, he’s part of our staff teaching Lapidary Arts.

NANCY KRAHN; Fine Jewelry  

Nancy is a self employed jewelry artist, exhibiting in national and regional Fine Art Fairs for the past 35 years.  Her designs are inspired by nature-her pieces often include floral and botanical elements. Art Nouveau, Art Deco and the Arts and Crafts movement influence her work. Hand fabricating techniques, attention to detail, and craftsmanship are her specialty.  She has exhibited at Uncommon Threads, Christmastime at the Fine Line , and the Fox Valley Ramble, and is excited to join the Fine Line faculty in 2020. Her work can be seen at: www.NancyKrahnJewelryDesign.com 




Although Marianne’s original field of study in college was clothing design, she obtained her degrees in computer science and then spent the next 35 years as an engineer. Throughout her working career she explored many forms of wearable art as a hobby and as a diversion. Marianne has been making jewelry for about 20 years and started enameling to introduce color into her jewelry designs. She has taken many workshops on enameling including several at the Carpenter Foundation, a non-profit associated with Thompson Enamel. Marianne, now retired, is committed to continuously explore the art of enameling and share these discoveries in her enameling classes at the Fine Line.


 ALAN SHONTZ; Glass Blowing

 My passion for glass was nurtured and developed over twenty years as a student of Lance Friedman in Chicago and also inspired by workshops with artists Michael Schunke and Kait Rhoads. As a glass artist my interest is to continue exploring Venetian patterning techniques (cane and murrine) with both functional and non-functional forms.  Glassblowing demands your undivided attention. It engages you both physically and mentally. Its reward is not just the tangible object but the entire creative experience.  There is nothing like the glow of hot glass being shaped and worked. I enjoy sharing my passion for glass through teaching.


AMY SIMPSON; Fused Glass 

This complex and compelling art form first captured my attention in 2006,when, after repeated recommendations from fellow artists, I enrolled in a class at my local community college. Though I have a background in painting and metalsmithing, fused glass has become my medium of choice. The infinite possibilities presented by glass fusing keep me intrigued and challenged.  


Katherine Steinbring has been playing with creative stuff for almost 60 years and remembers paper dolls, cloth-loop potholders and lanyards as some of her favorites. She has a degree in art from Illinois State and one in education from NIU. Retired after teaching high school (both art and English) for 32 years, she discovered metal clay one Saturday at Fine Line and has been obsessed with it ever since. She takes classes with whatever masters are giving workshops and is certified in metal clay through art clay Silver Clay Aida.