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Ceramics Faculty


Jay Walsh

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


Lake Forest high school was where Jose found clay. After high school, Jose went to study ceramics at Alfred University. He left Alfred 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. He received his MA in studio Ceramics from New Mexico State University in 2009. Jose returned 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


Matt Brej was born in Elk Grove, IL in 1987.  Raised in the northwest suburbs of Chicago in Barrington, IL, music and art have been constant motivations and influences instilled in him since a young age.  After graduating from the Visual and Performing Arts Academy at Larkin High School in 2005, Matt would go on to complete an Associate’s Degree in Fine Arts at Elgin Community College in 2009.  He later would travel to Alfred, NY to complete his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 2011.  After being involved in a nearly fatal car accident on Friday April 13th, 2012, he knew that he had been given a second chance/ renewed sense of life.  In 2018, he became a Master of Fine Arts by completing the graduate program at Northern Illinois University. 


Jonathan Pacheco is a Chicago based ceramic artist making both functional and sculptural work.  He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in Ceramics and Metalsmithing Jewelry.  He has been working as a ceramic artist for the past fifteen years.  He is deeply interested in woodfired ceramic processes and resulting textures.  Time and layering are both important parts of his process.         



After receiving her M.F.A. in 1996 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 classes are heavily influenced by Pinterest and what her students want to try. Her work can be seen and purchased at her etsy shop, and at