Meet Our Instructors
Learn more about our talented instructors and staff.
Carrie is a professional botanical and landscape artist that has worked for over 20 years with national parks, botanical gardens, and environmental conservation organizations around the world to expand knowledge and appreciation of native ecosystems in the public with dedication to intertwine the two fields of environmental education and the arts.
GRAPHIC NOVEL ILLUSTRATION
GOUCHE AND WATERCOLOR
James Beihl is a Commercial Science Fiction / Fantasy Artist and Art Educator based in Burlington, Vermont. In addition to producing Science Fiction and Fantasy book covers, James also produces Holiday Art, Cards, and is an accomplished Pumpkin Sculptor.
James graduated from Pratt Institute in 2011 and worked as a graphic designer for Limited Brands before transitioning into Comic Book work. From 2013-2017 James worked exclusively in Comics. In 2015 through 2017, James worked for the Glasshouse Graphics Talent Agency doing comics work and getting pitches greenlit for companies like Markosia Comics. From 2017 to the present James has been doing Pumpkin Sculpting for Rise of the Jackolanterns out of their studio in Westchester, NY every fall season as well as having produced various sci-, and fantasy artworks.
Kathy Carpenter has always loved making things by hand. She took her first pottery class at Frog Hollow in the 70’s and got hooked on clay. She earned a BS in Studio Art at Nazareth College in Rochester, NY with a concentration in ceramics, and has since taken classes at Shelburne Craft School, Truro Center for the Arts, UVM, and Middlebury Studio School. As a teacher, she hopes to share the magic of transforming the most elemental of materials into unique and beautiful objects.
CLAY: Handbuilding & Wheel
Kathy Clarke has over 25 years of experience with clay; both as a working artist and instructor of children and adults. Most of her pottery education has come through master-level workshops and instruction from resident potters at Frog Hollow Craft Center. She believes that handmade objects can have a positive impact on people’s lives…that the “love of making” can be mysteriously injected into the piece and stays there for centuries.
Phoebe de Noronha
DRAWING & PAINTING
I’ve always been a creative person, and always knew I would go into an artistic field. Growing up in a very rural area with a lot of wooded lands to explore and animals to explore it with, I developed a grand appreciation for both.
Most of my work focuses on the many animals in my life, both past and present. These are both house pets, farm pets, and those just passing through onto their home. I love the excuse to look, touch, and get to know each of these subjects in order to render them as accurately as I can. I do this with clients who ask me to paint or draw their beloved pets as well.
In my obsessive need to document my love of my pets, as well as my classical studio training at Green Mountain College, where I graduated with both a BA and a BFA, I also strive to pass on my passion and love for creative pursuits through teaching. With a K-12 certification to teach both art and theater, I also strive to pass on my knowledge through classes and private lessons.
Award winning Artist Sean Dye, received his MFA from Pratt Institute. He teaches painting at the University of Vermont, conducts popular workshops throughout North America. His work has appeared in The Artists Magazine, Pastel Artist International, International Artist, and The Pastel Journal. He is a member of Pastel Society of America and Vermont Pastel Society (founder) and has judged several import exhibitions. His works hang in many private and corporate collections as well as commercial galleries. His wrote The Mixed-Media Sourcebook and Painting with Water Soluble Oils. Many of his paintings are featured in Caroline Jasper’s book Powercolor. His work also appears in North Light’s book Painting the Elements: Weather Effects in Oil, Acrylic and Watercolor. Look for his DVD’s, Palette Knife Landscape and Sean Dye’s Easy Steps to Oil Painting. He released a new series of DVD’s in 2014 on Pastel and Mixed-media. In November he opened Sean Dye Studio and Gallery in downtown Vergennes.
Kelly Gearwar is a self-taught acrylic artist who has lived in Vermont since she was 11, living in the Pittsford/Brandon area. Growing up in Vermont has been what has inspired her creativity and passion for art. Her first experience with painting came when her parents brought an acrylic painting set when she was a kid, and she has been in love with the medium ever since. Vermont has no shortage of inspiration, with the amazing nature the state has to offer. Her painting style uses bright and vibrant colors with layers of paint to build her paintings.
Visit Kelly’s Etsy Shop, Sludge Fox Prints
My inspiration is steeped in the wonders of nature. I am both an artist and activist for nature. My current body of work consists of a series of pastels and oil paintings that spotlight creatures that are negatively affected by the warming planet. Although the subject is grave, the art accentuates the colors, shapes and forms, and unique beauty of each living organism.
My Studio is located in Ripton, Vermont. It is alive with art-making throughout the week! In addition to the Climate Series, I rejuvenate paintings and other art objects that are in need of restoration, and enjoy bringing these pieces “back to life”. Private commissions are a meaningful aspect to my work, as I work with clients to “illustrate” something they have always wanted in a painting.
Each Wednesday afternoon my studio becomes an “Art Studio Annex” for the Middlebury Studio School with a variety of active online classes for all ages. From landscape paintings to magic wands and happy sloths, there is always a fun class offered. The online classes give families who wish to choose this type of venue a fun way to get together and simply make art during this challenging time of social isolation. I enjoy “sprinkling in” fun facts about the subject matter during the lesson to instill a sense of wonder. For me, the classes bring happiness and peace and provide students with creative methods that can be extended beyond each class!
I am a licensed art educator and passionate about living my art in just about everything I do! I currently work as an art specialist with the Addison Central School District, and teach art classes in both Ripton and Salisbury Schools. Our projects reach out to world communities and empower young people to know they can make a positive difference through art.
Josh Hummel is a professional hobbyist photographer who specializes in adventure and landscape photography. He is a published photographer in Runner’s World, Colorado State Vacation Guide, and Vermont Sports. Local events that he has photographed include the Middlebury Maple Run Half Marathon, Tour de Farms, and MALT’s TAM Trek. Josh teaches elementary art at the Bridge School and is currently in the process of earning his K-12 art education license from Champlain College. He enjoys talking with other photographers and learning about qualities of light. He is a native of Massachusetts and has resided in Addison County for 7 years.
To learn more about Josh, visit adventurewithjosh.com
Steven Jupiter is originally from New York City. He studied studio art at Brandeis University in Massachusetts and at L’Ecole Normale Superieure des Arts Decoratifs in Paris. In fact, he bought his first set of watercolors in Paris in 1988 and has been hooked ever since. His work encompasses many styles, from the abstract to the realistic, and many themes, with a special fondness for mythology and history. He taught math in New York for 15 years before moving to Vermont with his husband, David, in 2014. He ran the Steven Jupiter Gallery in Middlebury from 2015 to 2020 and has been featured several times in Seven Days. He and David now live in Brandon.
POTTERY: Wheel & Hand Building
Jen Labie is an artist who works in graphic design, clay and batik. She creates pottery and batiks at the Leaning Tree Studio in Ferrisburgh, Vermont.
Natural materials such as leaves, herbs and flowers are used for texture in her pottery. Her work consists of silk batiks, functional, elegant tableware, as well as custom pieces such as belly bowls for pregnant women.
Jen has been a dedicated teacher for over 20 years. Her clay classes range in style from wheel & hand building, to specialty classes such as tile and surface design. She enjoys being involved in the local arts community as an Art Education Coordinator at Middlebury Studio School.
Laura Leigh is a fine artist and maker of organic watercolor paints based in New Paltz, NY. Laura blends the line between abstraction and landscape in her plein air oil paintings. After completing her BFA in Painting and Drawing from SUNY New Paltz in 2014, she has completed several artist’s residency programs, many in national parks. Laura has created her own earth pigment library made from minerals and clay from around the country, and now spends most of her time during the pandemic teaching online classes. She believes that painting is therapeutic and wants to help heal and connect people during these turbulent times.
Fred Lower is an artist living and working in Middlebury, Vermont. His work has been featured in galleries in New York, Montana and Vermont. Lower taught painting and drawing for more than three decades at the Dalton School in NYC and Rutland Public High School in Vermont. Lower studied painting at UC Berkeley, and received his MFA from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.
Catherine Mangold’s pottery journey started in high school but she put the wheel aside to work as a journalist. From 1980 to 2000 she moved around the world covering wars, environmental degradation, politics and international relations for The New York Times, Newsweek and the Philadelphia Inquirer. For her, the joy of creativity was evident in every corner of the globe, like an engine forever humming in the background. She answered the call of that hum herself in 2010 while teaching and writing her second book. Putting her hands back in clay after such a long absence felt like a homecoming. She has been with MSS since 2014. Catherine’s interest in porcelain, glazes and functional forms results in stunning art work. You can see more of her work at Bridporthill.com
Mary McKay Lower
Mary McKay Lower received a B.S. in Studio Art and a M.A. in Art Education from New York University. In New York City, she taught middle and high school at The Dalton School and then The Chapin School. Also, she taught adult drawing for The Dalton Evening Arts Program and the Saturday Children’s Drawing Workshop at the National Academy Museum and School. In Vermont, she has taught art to all ages in a variety of venues including Frog Hollow, public and independent schools, and Middlebury Studio School. Her paintings have been exhibited in New York, New Jersey, Montana, China and Vermont.
POTTERY: Alternative Firing, Hand Building & Wheel
David has been making pottery off and on since his college days. As a business major, he spent every free moment in the art building, working on sculpture, pottery, and participating in firings.
During a career in business and real estate, Dave still found time to work in the studio. He continued to work on wheel projects, while creating large pots, using experimental and soda firings and developing his Raku skills. Currently, he now enjoys helping others have fun and learn about the unexpected results from Raku, slip resistance Raku, pit firings, and more.
PAINTING & FIBER ARTS
Barbara Nelson has been a professional jeweler for more than 34 years. After working for many years as Education Coordinator and jewelry instructor at Frog Hollow Craft Center, she helped to found The Middlebury Studio School.
CLAY: Handbuilding & Wheel
Saisorn Peemanao was born in Thailand and lives in Middlebury, Vermont. She has been a studio assistant at MSS for the past 7 years. She began to take pottery classes in 2012, and by 2013, she became a studio assistant. Saisorn enjoys sharing her passion for clay with others. Her belief is that all can benefit by using their hands to create something special. In 2018, Saisorn began teaching young children’s and, ultimately, adult classes after a while. In addition to pottery, she practices yoga and gives Thai yoga massage.
Jane Ploughman has been making books and prints for more than a decade. She began learning the craft of book binding, book arts, paper and print making by attending many workshops and through self-directed study. Teaching others is both a way for Jane to share what she feels fortunate to be able to do as well as a way for her to continue learning and exploring the art and craft of handmade books and printmaking.
Growing up on a farm in Cornwall Vermont I was lucky enough to also grow up studying pottery with Kathy Clarke and the resident potters at Frog Hollow Art. I went on to get a BFA in Studio Art from Johnson State College, now Northern Vermont University.
I love to work with my hands and have built gardens, houses, and stone walls, while also working in finer things like fiber, fabric and food, knitting hats and sweaters, sewing clothes and costumes, and creating cakes and chocolates.
I love all stages of making pottery, I have come to realize that I enjoy the process as much as the finished product.
Find my art @jennymadevt on Instagram
Originally from South Jersey, I grew up as an ocean girl but fell in love with the mountains. I moved to Vermont in 2014 to earn a degree in professional baking and pastry. I was mainly a watercolor & ink artist until finding pottery as an outlet in October 2020, when I took my first wheel throwing class. Sure enough, I fell in love with the studio, craft and pottery community, and became a studio assistant in August 2021. Currently, I’m in the process of earning a BFA in Studio Arts. My parents always hoped I would become an art teacher, and after trying many different things, I came to find they were right all along.
Ying-lei Zhang lives in Middlebury, Vermont. Ying-lei has a BA in Chinese language and literature, an advanced certificate in Chinese classical literature, and a Masters in Education. She began teaching at Frog Hollow in 1999. She has taught Chinese painting at Williams College, Middlebury College, Saint Michael’s College, Middlebury-Monterey Language Academy, and many institutes in New England.