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Teachers at Slowfire

Noelle Allen


Noelle Allen is a full-time, tenured professor of sculpture and ceramics at Dominican University, with over 15 years of experience teaching at the college level. Noelle holds a BA from Smith College and an MFA from School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Alice Arreola


Alice Arreola graduated with honors from Dominican University with degrees in art history and sculpture. Alice has been teaching children art classes through the Oak Park Park District since 2018 and has been working at Slowfire since summer 2020.

Josslyn Baron


Josslyn Baron holds a BA in both Painting/Drawing and Psychology from Dominican University. Josslyn was a Teaching Assistant to Professor Jeffery Cote de Luna in the Painting Department and a Writing Tutor for the Academic Success Center. 

Evelyn Arreola


Evelyn Arreola graduated in 2018 with honors from Dominican University with a degree in Psychology and minor in Painting/Drawing. Evelyn has 5 years experience working with ages 3-12 in a therapeutic school program in Chicago. Evelyn loves working in different mediums of art and is excited to head our new preschool programming at Slowfire Studios!

Brie Maldondo-Cruz


Brie Maldonado-Cruz holds a BA degree from University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. At UWM her focus was in ceramics and painting. She worked at the beautiful Milwaukee Art Museum prior to moving to Oak Park. Always creating since childhood, she is the artist and maker behind The Periwinkle Peacock here in Oak Park.  Brie enjoys many art mediums, and loves to share her passion for making with others.

Salma Jimenez


Salma Jimenez holds a BA in graphic design from Dominican University. Salma has worked as a studio assistant for Noelle Allen in ceramics and interned for the University Ministry Office, designing and creating content for print and digital publishing.

Tyler Yocum


Tyler Yocum holds a BFA from Alfred University specializing in ceramics. He works diversely between wheel throwing and hand building while trying to find new ways to intermingle them. Tyler also enjoys the chemistry behind the clays and glazes that makes ceramics tick.



Kyle holds a BFA in ceramics from Truman State University. She has taught pottery, along with artforms including drawing, painting and glass fusing since 2013. She currently enjoys being a production potter and has been immersing herself fully in the festival circuit since 2019. She enjoys spreading knowledge and appreciation for the medium through both the show and teaching communities.



 Cesar started his artistic  journey at an early age; he now holds an AFA from Morton College and is currently pursuing his BA at Dominican University. Cesar is a multimedia artist proficient in painting, drawing,block printing and sculptural welding. Art is his passion and he loves to teach and inspire the youth.

Lauren lliss


Lauren teaches human-centered design at Northwestern University, and loves to make at the intersection of handmade and machine-made. She received her Masters in Education from the University of Illinois, where she studied knowledge acquisition and inclusive educational theory through the lens of usability and technology. She's thrifting somewhere right now, looking for vintage crafting materials to repurpose.





Laura is a passionate student and teacher of fiber arts. She’s interested in the various ways humans have turned plant or animal fluff into useful and beautiful objects.  Her classes include knitting, crochet, braiding, weaving, and felting. Laura teaches at Triton College. 

Ashley is a trained chef and professional baker. She holds degrees with high honors in Culinary Arts and Culinary Arts Management from Joliet College. After culinary school, Ashley worked as a chef lab assistant and also taught cooking classes at JJC. She was a pastry chef and baker at Spiaggia, West Town Bakery, and Somerset (Boka) in Chicago. Ashley owns Petal & Moon Pastry, a cottage food business in Oak Park. Ashley proudly sources locally grown ingredients, and grows her own edible flowers, fruits, and vegetables to use in her recipes. Having a deep appreciation for nature, she believes using locally grown ingredients helps connect us to the land and allows us to nourish ourselves sustainably. Ashley has loved both art and cooking for as long as she can remember, and enjoys teaching others what she has learned along the way.



Maliya is a teaching artist who recently moved from NYC. She has been an art educator for K-5 age groups since 2019, and her art disciplines are illustration and painting. Maliya's favorite mediums to work with are clay and oil paint! In the classroom, she loves encouraging kids to embrace self-expression and learn from happy mistakes through art projects.

Kristi Oltman