SUE GILBERT ABARE studied at Ohio State University & at the Cincinnati Art Museum. She has taught privately and at the Kaleidoscope School of Art in Barrington. Sue exhibits throughout the Midwest & South, has artwork in many private & public collections, and tries to devote most of her time developing her own paintings.
MARGE BLAKE has been teaching children from preschool age to teenagers for over ten years. She is a Girl Scout Leader as well as the Spring River Service Unit Manager. Marge currently serves on the Womanspace Board of Directors and has been the chairperson for our Womanspace Fairy Festival for the past four years. One of the ways that Marge expresses her creativity is by sharing her love of art with children of all ages.
HELEN BOND is a dynamic percussionist, teacher & storyteller who has found music to be an inspiration and source of strength and resiliency since her childhood. Since 2000, Helen has traveled regularly to Guinea, West Africa to study the intricate musical traditions and culture of the Malinke people, whose ancestors created the djembe and dunun drums centuries ago. She also teaches at retreats, local schools, colleges and universities. She is adjunct-faculty at Lake Forest College where she teaches the “West African Drumming Ensemble” class. Helen offers classes in Guinean percussion music, drum facilitation, and gives storytelling performances. medusadrums.com
MARY BOYD, SSSF is a School Sister of St. Francis and just retired from the field of education after 52 years. She has an MA in Art History and was an Art Studio Major at NIU. She currently teaches art history classes at The Fine Line Creative Art Center and other groups.
DELORES BURKHOLDER has delighted people with a variety of sculpture and handbuilt clay art since 1997. As part of the American Kennel Club circuit, her pottery dogs are inspired by actual canines from around the world! Delores is one of our clay studio managers.
BETH CAMPISI is a Licensed Massage Therapist, Reiki Master/Teacher and Certified Chakra Instructor through Bridges of Unity. Her focus is helping others connect on the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual levels to achieve wholeness and well-being using holistic and complementary modalities including working with the chakras.
JEAN KATHRYN CARLSON, M.A., Dream Alchemist, speaker and author, considers it a gift to be alive at this time when we get to challenge traditional beliefs and consciously choose what we hold dear. She intuitively weaves dream interpretation, EFT, Law of Attraction and essential oils to welcome the magic in life that is available to each of us. Jean Kathryn is a certified Dream Group Facilitator, certified ProEFT Coach, and Law of Attraction Life Coach.
JAYME DURKEE is a business coach who specializes in helping women define their business vision, creating a plan to make it happen, and guiding them along every step of the way. She guides her clients through a 5-step process that includes clarifying their dreamy (and achievable) goals that are aligned with their values, creating a plan and implementing the systems and processes that will make it happen, and working through any mindset issues that are blocking the way. She has a JD and is licensed to practice law in Wisconsin. She has three boys who keep her running through creeks and climbing trees, and she enjoys reading, travel, and cooking.
MASHA EROFEEVA is a Masters Level Therapist and a former mental wellness personal coach. As a therapist, women’s work is one of her major interest areas, and she deeply enjoys helping women walk the road of self-exploration and empowerment towards becoming their most genuine self. As a first-generation immigrant and a practicing clinician, Masha offers a holistic perspective on topics such as identity development, assertiveness, communication and other issues integral to women. Masha received her Bachelors in Psychology from Rockford University and her Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ. Additionally, she is level one Gottman Couple’s Counseling Method, trained in the Red Cross Mental Health First Aid, and has two years of experience working under a registered dietitian. On her down time, she enjoys hiking with her dog, practicing yoga, skiing, reading and connecting to her spirituality.
LINDA EWALT & JEAN SCHNACK Linda is a retired art teacher and Jean is a retired classroom teacher. They love clay and working with the fantastic people in the Womanspace clay classes! They look forward to helping students explore and expand their clay experience in a fun environment.
JAYMEE FEDOR graduated from Northern Illinois University in 2015 with a BFA in painting. She splits her time between teaching group art classes for all ages, giving private art lessons, freelancing, and painting. She specializes in creating supportive and inclusive environments where new artists feel comfortable and experienced artists feel inspired.
LIZ FIORENZA, RN is a nurse aromatherapist and owner of Wind Ridge Herb Farm. She has utilized her medical knowledge into creating products to assist with many symptoms and conditions for a healthier, more natural way to stay healthy and heal the body.
FREYA (also known as Emily Watson Rice) When Freya took her first bellydance class in 2000 as a way to get in shape for her wedding she was immediately hooked. Over the years she’s had the privilege of studying with some of the world's top dancers including Rachel Brice, Ariella, Sonya Blacker, Zoe Jakes, Jasmin Jahal, Mae the Bellydancer, Christina King and many more. Freya became a semi-professional dancer in 2010 performing with troupes Roe-He, Vagabond and Black Silk Road. As a soloist Freya performed in shows throughout the region including Beast Women, Tribal Revolution, Burning Man Decomp, Angels & Absynth, The Glint, and Chicago Hafal for Humanity which raised money for Syrian refugees. Freya is most well known for her ethereal & powerful veil routines using both Egyptian & Chinese style veils that she custom makes herself. Follow Freya on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BelovedFreya.
DEBORAH GAINES is Program Coordinator for Womanspace. The writing classes she teaches were developed as part of her coursework at the California Institute of Integral Studies. She graduated with her MFA in Writing and Consciousness in 2012. Deb has been a Reiki Practitioner since 2003 and completed her Master Teacher training in 2009. Deb is the chair of the Wild Women Retreat Committee. She loves creating ritual and dancing with wild abandon.
MARSHA GOODHEART is a longtime Womanspace member and mixed media artist who likes to color outside the lines. She has exhibited work locally for many years. Marsha says her work is spirit driven. Like a form of meditation, it comes from her heart.
EVE HARKER is co-owner of Luna Datura’s Curious Gifts with her husband Brian. For over 25 years, she has studied various belief systems and spiritual paths. and ancient methodologies and has a range of knowledge on many spiritual, metaphysical, and old age subjects. She incorporates many of these various methodologies in her business and healing work to be as inclusive as she can in all her dealings. She believes that our peace and serenity as a race is to reconnect with the old ways and remember to love, honor, and respect all living things.
CHERIE HECK loves to play with art and has a serious addiction to art supplies. She teaches a number of art classes at Womanspace where she is also Art Program & Volunteer Coordinator. Her artistic talents are many and her beautiful creations have appeared in many of our art exhibits and fundraisers.
ELAINE HIRSCHENBERGER is the Executive Director and CoFounder of Womanspace and has years of experience of practicing mindfulness and attentiveness. She received her degree in English from Alverno College and pursued further studies in art and design at College of DuPage, Rockford University and NIU. She is an active member of School Sisters of Saint Francis.
RUTH ORA JACKSON, MS, ND, CNHP has a doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine and offers psychological and health counseling in her private practice. A member of Womanspace for over 25 years, Ruth has been president of the board and received the Womanspirit Founders Award.
JENNIE JOHNSON SIC enjoys every opportunity to throw on the wheel! Jennie has taken college level classes in Minnesota & Oak Park, IL, as well as, been mentored by a potter in Antigua, Guatemala. Jennie is so thankful to have found Womanspace, a place to throw, be inspired and teach.
NORM KNOTT is a recycling artist and works with a variety of themes and images from around the world as well as collections of nostalgia and American culture. He enjoys preserving the past in color and textures that soar as a visionary. Norm is a well-known artist in the Rockford Region and has exhibited his work locally, nationally and has international patrons.
KERI KNUTSON, Official Yoga Teacher of the Rockford IceHogs, Certified Advanced Yoga Nidra teacher, Rockford Native, and 20 year practitioner of yoga. Keri is trained in and currently teaches Vinyasa Flow yoga, Traditional Hatha Yoga, Restorative, Chair/Adaptive yoga, and Yoga Nidra in the Rockford area. She also teaches several workshops and events throughout the year and specializes in Yoga for Athletes, Yoga Nidra (a conscious relaxation practice), and working with those who live with chronic conditions, injury, illness, and/or disease. Keri, a nature and animal lover, enjoys spending her free time outdoors, reading, devoting time to her own yoga practice, and traveling.
KARLA LOMBARDO holds an Associates of Arts degree from Rock Valley College and Bachelor’s of Education with a focus in Arts from Rockford University. She has exhibited and sold her artwork on commission and through various local galleries, seasonal artist fairs and online. Karla’s painterly style transforms commonplace into luminous conversation pieces on canvas, furniture and even murals. Her art is a visual representation of her magnetic personality and freespirited outlook on life.
NANCY MAYHEW is a Personal Trainer, Wellness Coordinator, Qigong and Tai Chi instructor. She has a passion for working with people to “turn back the clock” in the area of fitness. After retiring from the School District of Beloit as the Human Resource Manager, she went back to school to get her certification as a Wellness Manager and Personal Trainer. While teaching fitness to seniors, she decided to become certified as a Tai Chi Instructor training under Dr. Paul Lam. Nancy is currently a Qigong apprentice under Master Michael Leone, owner of Zen Wellness in Arizona, a student of Master Lisa O’Shea, owner of the Rochester Qigong Institute in Rochester, NY and Master Bruce Frantzis, owner of Energy Arts. She is also on a panel along with 12 other international expert Qigong instructors to develop Guidelines for Structure and Delivery of Qigong Exercise for Cancer Care Programming. She lives in Beloit, WI with her husband of 46 years and teaches Qigong and Tai Chi at the Beloit Cancer Center, the Beloit Ironworks YMCA, New Zion Church in Beloit, Basics Foods, Janesville, WI and The Gathering Place, Milton, WI.
KIM McIVER is an internationally-published, award-winning Ojibwa author and speaker. Her family is from White Earth Reservation in MN. Kim’s Ojibwa name, “Bekaadiziikwe” means, “Quiet Woman.” The creative writing side of her includes 15 years of newspaper and photo-journalistic work. The genres she works in include romance, children’s picture books, plays, and Native American non-fiction, and fiction writing. A hybrid author, she’s traditionally published and self-published, and is the Commissioning Editor for McIver Publishing. She’s presented Native American programs at venues all across the Midwest, and is a member of the Illinois Humanities Road Scholar Speaker Bureau.
ANNETTE MCLEAN, LCPC, CEDS is an experienced licensed psychotherapist, teacher and trainer. She is a recognized expert in the field of eating disorders and issues related to women. Annette is passionate about helping women to find their inner voice and live more authentic lives. She is also an artist who enjoys doing all types of art including collage, acrylic, repurposing found objects and assemblage.
CONNIE MESSINA has been a school counselor for over twenty years in three different school districts in San Diego county. She was the interim Director of the School Counseling program at San Diego State University and is a past president of the California School Counselor Association. Connie was twice selected as the “Counselor of the Year” for San Diego county and is a recipient of the Human Rights Award from the California Counseling Association. She is the author of Brain friendly Guidance Activities to Build Emotional Intelligence and is the producer/director of the documentary film From the Outside Looking In, the crisis of illiteracy in America. Connie’s high energy presentations are enjoyed by audiences of all ages. Facebook.com/eqforsuccess
PETREA MEIER started using and sharing essential oils three years ago for occasional foot pain. She had tried many forms of traditional medicine, but they just weren’t cutting it. Right away, Petrea experienced the power of essential oils and was impressed. She set off on a path to take control of daily health needs without toxins, drugs, copays, AND full of choices! She is excited to empower others to do the same. Petrea offers many learning opportunities and support to make your oil journey great!
KATHY MOEHLING, RN is a Board Certified Holistic RN, Traditional Naturopath, Holistic Health & Life Coach, energy work practitioner in Therapeutic & Healing Touch, and a Massage Therapist with over 40 years experience. In addition to teaching teleclasses in holistic coaching with Wisdom of the Whole (formerly Bark Coaching Institute), Kathy maintains a private practice in her home and at Womanspace.
KIM MORHARDT really enjoys the process of learning new things. She likes being able to share and teach what she has learned so that you too can be inspired to step out and try new things. While living in Freeport she owned her own business called Heavenly Desserts, where she showcased her love of baking. She has many hobbies, which include baking, soap making, stained glass, pottery and gardening. She loves spending time with her family and teaching her grandchildren how to bake and other fun things.
ANYA NELSON is a full time high school teacher who fell in love with clay when she allowed her college counselor to randomly pick an elective class for her that ended up being ceramics. She was so happy when she found Womanspace. It gave her an opportunity to reconnect with her passion and meet an amazing, creative, and supportive group of artists.
ANGIE NOFSINGER is a self-taught mixed media artist from the Midwest. Her work frequently includes people and pet portraiture, using colored pencil and strict eye for detail. She works as a Registered Nurse in Rockford, but can be found most any other time making her art. You can find her work for sale at local shops around Rockford and online.
KATHY O'DIERNO creates from her soul. Whether it is one of her beautiful paintings on canvas, a piece of jewelry, or a healing balm, each rendition is essentially a part of her soul. She finds creating art healing and restorative by completely immersing herself in it. She has taught several classes in the area and has exhibited her art at many area galleries and art shows.
REBECCA DOWNING PELLEY is an award-winning art educator and watercolor painter. For 46 years, she helped foster curiosity, nurture critical thinking, and reward creativity in Rockford public and private schools. She's led Advanced Placement College level courses in Studio Art, 2D Design, and Art History. Pelley received the Mayor’s Art Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Rockford Area Arts Council, the Golden Apple Award for exceptional teaching, and 13 Commendations from the National Scholastic Art Awards program. In 2017, she received the Northern Illinois University College of Visual and Performing Arts Outstanding Alumni Award for a lifetime of contributions to the visual arts in our region. An avid watercolorist, artist and writer, Pelley regularly exhibits her artwork and has published poems in the Rockford Review and Korone: Women’s Voices. Pelley’s watercolors and drawings have won awards and been selected for national, state and local exhibitions and are found in Midwest collections, such as at the Illinois State Museum, Rockford Art Museum and corporate locations. Pelley sees infinite potential in each student and has always enthusiastically embraced the responsibilities and challenges of her profession: “Exceptional teaching is marked by a teacher’s unquenchable fire and a fervent belief that she has the power to transform. She knows that her work is not merely essential, but always and ever a sacred trust.” The synergy of teaching is a source of endless excitement for her.
GLORIA PEREZ enjoys listening to people tell stories. She especially likes to hear the stories of another's life experiences and deeply believes that these stories are told by an inner spiritual voice. Her training as a spiritual guide has provided her with the skills to support and invite another to explore the relationship between the storyteller and their experience of what is spiritual to them.
KIMBERLY PLUMB has had a lifelong interest in astrology and has studied it intently the last 3 years. She has learned from several master astrologers and schools in a wide spectrum of areas and this culminates in her eclectic blend. Kim has also spent the last 20 years experiencing and learning about all types of holistic healing modalities as she tries to live her best life with her chronic health conditions. She has worked in a couple of holistic health facilities for 15 years as well as over 15 years working in the financial world. This gives her a unique blend of a practical and grounded perspective mixed with a compassionate and intuitive spirit. Kim loved her 13 years of mentoring and leading girls from age 5–18 and now puts this passion into helping others navigate through their life transitions and cycles of life.
ELIZABETH PRILLER is a Registered Nurse and Certified Health Coach for licensed professionals through the National Society of Health Coaches, an AFFA Certified Group Fitness Instructor, and pursuing training with the National Academy of Sports Medicine as a Certified Personal Trainer. She helps people achieve their greatest state of wellness by using her 20 years of healthcare experience in public health, critical care, wound care, health education, and chronic disease management through the use of preventative lifestyle interventions. Elizabeth’s passion and calling is to work with people with chronic diseases that need guidance in reaching their fitness, nutrition, and whole wellness goals to live their best life. Diagnosed with an autoimmune condition at the age of 19, managing migraines and chronic pain for over 25 years, and healing from a severe back injury, Elizabeth understands the impact of health and illness on one’s state of wellness. As an award-winning public speaker and educator specializing in health and wellness education, leadership, and what it is to be human, Elizabeth loves sharing her experiences and knowledge to spark a fire of change and positivity in those around her.
KATHY RASMUS is a retired art teacher. After 38 years teaching art to children, she is excited to share her love of fiber arts with adults. Her love of 3-d art forms has gotten her back into creating baskets and pottery. The baskets she has created use a variety of techniques, embellishments and combining with clay. She loves retirement and getting to be an artist again and teaching adults.s a retired art teacher. After 38 years teaching art to children, she is excited to share her love of fiber arts with adults. Her love of 3-d art forms has gotten her back into creating baskets and pottery. The baskets she has created use a variety of techniques, embellishments and combining with clay. She loves retirement and getting to be an artist again and teaching adults.s a retired art teacher. After 38 years teaching art to children, she is excited to share her love of fiber arts with adults. Her love of 3-d art forms has gotten her back into creating baskets and pottery. The baskets she has created use a variety of techniques, embellishments and combining with clay. She loves retirement and getting to be an artist again and teaching adults.
SHANNON REDDEN, M.H., is a master herbalist and works as a holistic health practitioner. She studied beneficial herbs for endurance athletes for her thesis project. Shannon enjoys trail running, mountain biking, camping, and kayaking in her free time.
DR. ELISHA ROBINSON, MD is a Board-Certified General Surgeon, Fellowship Trained Breast Surgeon, and Natural Health and Holistic Nutrition Practitioner. She currently runs her own medical practice, Integrative Healing Center, LLC which is her labor of love. She specializes in treating the whole body and works tirelessly to help her patients achieve their best spiritual and physical self.
CHRISTI RUSSELL is a self-taught multi-disciplinary artist who enjoys leaning and playing with new creative techniques in multi-media arts and enjoys sharing her creative skills with others. Christi is also a certified Holistic Health Coach who focuses on natural healing and personal change. Christi studied nutrition at the Institute for Integrative Wellness after learning how to naturally heal her body from digestive disorders and caring for her brother, who recently healed from cancer. Christi believes in intuitively connecting to our bodies to establish healthy eating habits that lead to nourishing relationships with food.
USHA SUNDARAM, AIA is a Registered Architect owns anArchitectural firm. She came to the U.S. from India as a young bride along with her husband, a student at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. She moved to Rockford with her family later where she has lived for over 25 years. Apart from her passion for Architecture, she has excellent culinary skills. She loves to tryout a wide variety of “fusion cuisine” which are not only healthy but very tasty.
EAMONN TALKINGTON attended art school at Columbia College, Chicago. As a jazz musician, he gained a deep appreciation for improvisation in high school. Later in life, he developed a fascination with momentary awareness and effortless action. When he discovered abstract expressionism, it felt like music, a kind of planned improvisation where the moment is captured in a medium like jazz. It was art for art's sake, which can be quite freeing in a world where we have a seemingly incessant need to find meaning in everything. Eamonn also taught abstract art, as well as organized live art nights in Carbondale, IL.
SABRINA TASSONI is a visual artist who has been creating for as long as she can remember. She has dabbled with many mediums over the years but finally found her passion for pottery after taking classes in college. Now, she works out of her home pottery studio developing her skills in throwing and surface decoration. She enjoys being able to encourage others to make art a bigger part of their lives and working every day to do the same in her own.
SHIRAZ TATA came to the U.S. from India to get a doctorate in Counseling Psychology from SIU-C and then just kept moving up the state of Illinois to Rockford where she has lived for over 20 years! She is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in private practice where she creates a safe space for people to share whatever may be weighing on their minds or hearts. She loves to facilitate discussions on diversity and all topics multicultural. She also enjoys teaching mindfulness and meditation classes.
TRES TESTOLIN is a self taught artist and avid equestrian. Currently obsessed with fluid painting and glitch photography. Tres loves the pouring processes; mixing, moving and developing the paint.
JULIE THOMPSON is a retired social worker who was born and raised in Rockford. Her career was spent working in various mental health settings including DCFS, adoption, grief work and private practice. She is mother of 4 wonderful daughters, 8 grandchildren.
ANNALEA WALKER studied ceramics under the direction of Professor Lyn Fischer at Rock Valley College, where her love for pottery was born. After college, she worked as an apprentice with Tom Guirl of Beaver Creek Pottery for 3 years. Anna uses art as a modality for therapy in everyday life along with cooking, spending time in nature, communing with loved ones and listening to music.
EMILY WATSON RICE of Gossamer Arts has been working in the Chicago art world for over 20 years. Beginning her career as the teaching artist at the Museum of Contemporary Art she went on to become the Manager of the Marshall Field’s Fine Art Gallery and eventually the Director & Curator of Atlas Galleries. She is a talented artist in her own right and is passionate about sharing all she has learned to help other artists succeed.
RAFAELA WICKSTRUM enjoys teaching others to express themselves through sculpture and painting. Rae was self-employed for over 3 decades owning a printing business and a folk art gallery. She is listed in the International Sculptors Digest and has won state awards for “most creative.” She has also developed gift lines for two companies. “Most days I don’t know whether to pick up clay or a paint brush as my compulsion to create is overwhelming.”
SANDY WILLIAMS, LMT, CST-T, LCSW, has been in the health care field in Rockford for over 30 years. As a certified and advanced practitioner of CranioSacral Therapy (a form of bodywork), Sandy facilitates healing and integration of mind, body, and spirit with her clients. With her social work background, she has a unique perspective providing CranioSacral Therapy and other wellness therapies. She is a certified practitioner and presenter of Healing from the Core, pioneered by Suzanne Scurlock; Sandy incorporates these skills into her client's sessions and teaches others how to have full body presence. Sandy has a passion for holding a sacred and therapeutic space to help individuals overcome physical pain and emotional trauma so they can be more in the present moment and use their whole body and soul to live healthier lives. She provides these healing arts in the warm surroundings of her private practice.
HANNAH WARREN loves empowering women through enhancing creativity and fostering community. Driven by this passion and by a core belief in the mission of Womanspace, she is excited to join the team and help broaden awareness of Womanspace programs within and beyond the local community. In 2008, Hannah founded Jhoole, a social enterprise in Maheshwar, India that employs women in garment manufacturing so that they can gain economic independence, invest in education and break the cycle of poverty. When she is not doing her direct Womanspace work, she continues to serve as Executive Director of Jhoole. Hannah is a devout believer that strong women, working together, can transform the world. Working at Womanspace gives her a welcome opportunity to continue this mission both here and abroad.