3D Faculty

NEIL ANDERSON; Department CO-Chair-Fine Jewelry 

Neil got involved in metal arts by taking a beginning jewelry class at NIU to fulfill a requirement for a BFA degree in design.  Neil was then encouraged to pursue an MFA in metalsmithing and jewelry design, which was completed at NIU in 1977.  Neil was a self employed blacksmith and metalsmith, wood worker and jeweler, for many years, doing mostly custom commission works.  He’s also participated in many well known art fairs around the Midwest during that time.  In 1994 Neil returned to teach at NIU with his former professor Peck, as an adjunct professor in the metalsmithing/jewelry area of art department. Neil began teaching at the Fine Line Creative Arts Center in 1999, helping to build that program and continues to enjoy teaching creative jewelry and metalwork to the present time.


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. 

DAN CALDWELL; Blacksmithing

Dan started out painting and drawing, was classically training in mostly 2D art at NIU.   Dan always had a love of sculpture, welding and shaping metal by hand, so in the Mid 1990s, he  decided to go more into 3D art and never looked back.  Dan’s mostly a self taught  blacksmith, metal artist and custom knife maker creating art for over 35 years.  Dan started teaching blacksmithing, knife making, welding and metal arts at Fine Line in 2006.

RON DILLER; Wood Carving

I’ve been making “Wood Creations” as a hobby since 2008 when I started carving about 2 hours a day after work.  I’ve always enjoyed doing some form of art since childhood and as I grew older found my passion in wood. My work includes carving, scroll sawing, and turning wood into practical usable creations and/or creations just to admire. I’ve taken various carving and woodworking classes to gain experience throughout the years and, along with gaining experience through classes, I belong to the Batavia Wood Carving Club and North Suburban Carvers where I continue to learn from various members.

JO DRESDEN; Hydraulic Press, Wire Wrapping

Jo Dresden became interested in rocks and jewelry as a child. She attended college to become a teacher and took enough art and design courses to teach art. Jo has taught wire wrapping at several Bead Stores in IL and Texas. Jo has entered several design contests and placed in all of them. In 2011 she won the Sarah Palmer award (Best of show) from the Turners National cultural competition. She entered the Sandwich State Fair twice and won Best in Class for jewelry. 


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 


Susan Lokaj has been working with metal clay since 2014. Her work is inspired by nature and her love of the ocean, and often incorporates themes of water, beaches, shells and sea creatures. Her background is in graphic design and corporate training. A self-proclaimed “jewelry class junkie”, she loves learning new skills and techniques, and brings that love of learning to her classroom. Susan is a Senior Certifying Art Clay Instructor. She is also a CampPMC Certified Instructor. 

 MARIANNE PICHA; Enameling, Wire Wrapping

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.