Jay Walsh, Department Chair
I am a teacher and ceramic artist. My primary focus is on classical forms and combined pieces which incorporate traditional oriental glazes. I am influenced by traditional Chinese and Japanese forms as well as the Arts and Crafts movement styles. My attempts are to use these forms and glazes in more non-traditional methods.
Jose Avalos, was raised in the Northern Suburb of Lake Bluff, IL. Jose knew that ceramics was going to be part of his life at the young age of 7. He was watching the “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood” PBS show which featured a ceramic artist couple. It was not until his time at Lake Forest high school when Jose would have his opportunity to get involved with clay. After high school, Jose went to study ceramics at the internationally renowned college for ceramics, Alfred University. He left Alfred University to help his family and then enrolled at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago where he received his BFA in ceramics in 2002. Soon after he moved to California (because of a girl, who would become his wife); Where he taught high school ceramics for 5 years. Jose felt the need to go to graduate school, so he could accomplish his dream of becoming a college professor. He received his MA in studio Ceramics from New Mexico State University in 2009. Jose return home to Illinois to continue his studies at Northern Illinois University where he received his MFA in Ceramics in 2012. His passion is to teach ceramics at every and any level and show his students what a wonderful material clay can be. See more of Jose’s work at joseravalosjr.com.
Jack’s first experience with clay was at McHenry County College. After graduating from Northern Illinois University with a BFA in ceramics, he realized that helping fellow students understand and apply concepts was one of the most enjoyable pieces of his education. Teaching for him is a simple extension of that. Jack’s body of work currently deals with the thrown and altered vessel (as a metaphor for the human body) and the way line is skewed when subject to a 3-dimensional surface. He has a strong background in wheel throwing, and acknowledges it as his strength, but pursues all available methods for the creation of clay artwork. Students will find that Jack is friendly, patient, and truly interested in sharing his knowledge with his students.
CJ Niehaus began her ceramic career in 1988 after finishing her undergrad degree at Xavier University in Cincinnati. Twelve years of doing art fairs and wholesale work led her to the Fine Line to further explore clay. With the support of staff, CJ began teaching classes in throwing and design. She left in 2010 to pursue her MFA in ceramics from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. After graduation, she was the resident artist and adjunct for the Paducah School of Art and Design until August of 2014. She returns to the area, excited to share her experiences with the creation of meaningful objects and various surface designs. A juried member of Illinois Artisans, CJ sells mainly through exhibitions. For more information, please visit her website: www.cjniehaus.com
Jodi is a maker. Her primary love is stylized, figurative ceramic sculpture but put any interesting materials in front of her and something will be made, built or sculpted. After receiving her M.F.A. in 1996, in ceramics, from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Jodi began her teaching career and has taught throwing and handbuilding at area community colleges, high schools, community centers and private colleges. Jodi’s throwing is heavily influenced by pinterest and what her students want to try, while her sculptural mentors are Adrian Arleo, Wesley Andregg and Sergei Isopov, to name a few. Her work can also be seen and purchased at her etsy shop, www.jlyoungloveceramics.etsy.com and at www.jodiyounglove.com