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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. 

Meet Jeny at Slowfire


Jeny, a nursing student at Dominican University with a minor in sculpture, has a passion for ceramics showcased in high school art shows. While enjoying hand-building, she's recently embraced using the wheel. Eager to improve her throwing skills, Jeny is particularly excited about crafting functional pieces like teapots. Outside the studio, she indulges in crocheting and exploring new foods with friends. Working at Loyola allows her to maintain her connection to nursing, combining two loves she's grateful to pursue.

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.



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. 



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


Kristi has been baking custom designed cakes and cookies out of her home for the Oak Park community for over 15 years. She loves to bring science and art together for creating new desserts in the kitchen. Kristi specializes in buttercream and fondant techniques, taking in ideas and sketches and turning them into unique works of art.

Meet Carrie


Carrie has been studying ceramics intensively for the last three years! She enjoys throwing, handbuilding, and experimenting in different pottery techniques. She has studied human development and approaches to therapy through her Masters of Social Work degree. Outside of the pottery studio, she loves playing tennis and being a mom of two teenagers. It’s her life goal to always be learning new things. 

Meet Erin at Slowfire


Erin Hayden is an interdisciplinary artist predominantly working in painting, performance, poetry, video, installation and ceramics. Her work has been exhibited in various cities across the US and abroad including at Stony Island Arts Bank, and Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea Torino and the Museum of Contemporary art Chicago. She has taught all ages from, preschool, elementary, middle school, high school, college and adult and senior focused art classes at various schools and universities around the Chicagoland area. She received her BFA in Painting and BS in Art Education at Illinois State University, and an MFA in Art Theory and Practice at Northwestern University and is currently living and working in Oak Park.

Meet our teacher Natalie


Natalie is currently a baker at Broken Tart, where she exercises her passion in baking and cookie and cake decorating. She holds an Associates degree in Baking and Pastry from Kendall College and runs her own small baking business called The Sweet’Inn on her spare time.

Meet Theresa at Slowfire


Theresa holds a BS in biochemistry and behavioral neuroscience from Dominican University. Outside of the sciences, one of her favorite things to do is make pottery. To Theresa, there is nothing more satisfying than throwing on the wheel carving or carving. Working with others has been a key part of Theresa's experience in ceramics, as this has contributed to her curiosity for exploring new styles. 

Meet Camryn at Slowfire


Camryn holds a BA in Art History and Ceramics from Kalamazoo College. She enjoys exploring textures in surface design, and her favorite form is mugs. Cam is also passionate about photography, collaging, and video montages.

Meet Veronica at Slowfire


Veronica's lifelong pursuit of "learning to see" led her through diverse artistic paths, from metals and ceramics at OPRFHS to studies at Columbia College and SAIC. She honed her skills in painting, photography, and sculpture, collaborating with artists and exhibiting nationally. With over 20 years of teaching jewelry and metals, she fostered small studio relationships. Despite success, she closed her business to explore collage, clay, and prop-making for TV. Veronica's recreations for photographer Sandro Miller garnered international acclaim. Post-Covid, she refocused on ceramics, combining hand-building and throwing techniques, influenced by nature. Often found in Oak Park, she gathers inspiration for her ongoing projects.

Meet Metzli at Slowfire


Metzli is an undergraduate studying Graphic Design and Painting at Dominican University. She also works as a Teacher’s Assistant with fellow undergraduates to guide them through through their Drawing and Painting classes. Outside of her school work, she works with clients to produce commissions as well as personal pieces. She is very passionate about all arts and the impact she can make on the world with her creative works. 

Meet Joey at Slowfire


Joey Depakakibo, also known as Joey D., is a Chicago-born Filipino American artist, animator, and muralist. He earned his BFA in Animation and Illustration from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and maintains a diverse career that spans marketing & advertising to creating murals and product art. Joey has exhibited in galleries nationwide since the early 2000s. When he’s not creating art, he is busy nurturing his two young sons and instilling in them a deep appreciation for creativity.
 You can see his work on Instagram @joeyd76.

Meet James at Slowfire


Having dedicated years to serving in the Army, and traveling around the world, James, now a retired veteran, is pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in graphic design and painting, James brings over a decade of valuable experience as a freelance graphic designer and traditional artist across various mediums.

James is motivated by a deep desire to help fellow veterans heal. He plans to use art as a therapeutic tool to address the emotional wounds caused by their military service. James trains service dogs for theWarDogs making it Home Service dog organization and is the graphic designer/photographer for the Chicago Warriors disabled hockey team.

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