For instructor images and bios, click on the instructor’s name
Daemond Arrindell is a multi-genre writer, educator, and equity consultant. He has taught at Seattle University, and was faculty member of TAT Lab, the Washington State Teaching Artist Training Lab as well as Freehold Theatre, leading poetry and theatre residencies at Washington State’s Monroe Correctional Complex since 2006. His work has appeared in City Arts, Specter, Crosscut, Poetry NorthWest, Seattle Review of Books and The Pitkin Review. In 2019, he performed his first one-man show, “Frozen Borders,” a performative exploration in imagery, poetry and emotion on the subject of the United States’ southern border. In 2022, Daemond graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College.
Duncan Berry lived on Vashon for 30 years. He now lives in the United Nations Biosphere Reserve at Cascade Head on the central Oregon Coast, which he describes as “life on the wild edge of a continent, where 3500 miles of the North American land mass meets 5000 miles of open ocean.” Duncan’s current artwork is focused on channeling the beauty and power of Cascade Head and to show what is possible when we care for the last great places. His chosen medium is Gyotaku (fish rubbing), a Japanese folk-art originating in 18th century and nature printing, which originated in 10th century Europe and is mostly focused on botanicals.
Derek Churchill is a forest ecologist who focuses on applying ecological knowledge to on-the-ground forest management challenges across the Pacific Northwest. He has lived on Vashon for 24 years and has worked extensively with the Vashon Forest Stewards, Vashon-Maury Island Land Trust, and King County to steward forests at Island Center Forest, Agren Park, other public forests, and on many individual ownerships. He is currently a senior forest health scientist with the WA Department of Natural Resources where he works on statewide forest climate adaptation and wildfire risk reduction strategies. Prior to DNR, he ran a forestry consulting company for 10 years that specialized in ecological forestry and forest collaboration in Washington, Oregon, and California. He has a PhD in forest ecology and management from the University of Washington, where he also worked as research scientist for 5 years. Before his career in forestry, he worked for Outward Bound and ran a wilderness youth program in Seattle.
Gabriel Dawson is an actor, singer, dancer, and educator. He has been involved with education programs at Vashon Center for the Arts since 2016 and is excited to be back at the Blue Heron in an educator position after completing his musical theater degree at The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts!
Gaye Detzer has lived and taught violin on Vashon Island for more than 40 years. She learned about the Suzuki method after graduating from Pomona College and starting her family. After meeting Dr. Suzuki and being inspired by the young violinists that he taught, she studied to become a teacher and raised four children with the Suzuki method (violin, cello, and piano). She is on the faculty of the Japan-Seattle Institute and the Vivace! Chamber Music camp (summer programs in Seattle).
Alex Drissell is a singer, actor, and teacher. She holds a Masters in Teaching from Seattle University, studied musical theatre at Missouri State University, and performs regionally in the midwest and Puget Sound area. She currently teaches preschool at Vashon Maury Cooperative Preschool and previously taught at Chautauqua Elementary School before having her two children, Wren and Fiona. She is passionate about sharing the theatre arts with young people and is thrilled to return to teaching at the VCA!
- Elise Ericksen grew up on Vashon immersed in dance and theatre. She received a B.A. in Dance with a concentration in Arts Management and an emphasis on Choreography from St. Olaf College. After college Elise taught ballet in Portland, OR for 10 years, choreographing and directing nine original ballets with students ages 3 to 18. In 2010 she co-founded PDX Dance Collective and continued to dance and choreograph with the contemporary dance group for five years. Since moving back to Vashon in 2016 she has been working with VCA’s education program directing, stage managing, costuming and choreographing musical theatre productions.
Marita Ericksen has helped hundreds of students learn vocal technique in her twenty-three years as the music director of VCA’s Youth Musical Theatre Program. Marita has directed many youth and adult productions as well as a variety of choral groups over the years, including Vashon Chorale. Marita also started the senior musical theatre program at VCA; their inaugural performance of Fiddler on the Roof in summer of 2023 received rave reviews from audiences.
Joy Ghigleri grew up on Vashon Island and earned her BFA in Acting and Directing from Pacific Lutheran University in 2020. She has worked on over 50 theatre, dance, and film productions as an actor, dancer, director, lighting designer, and crew member. While studying at PLU, Joy found her passion in arts education and began teaching at VCA in 2017. In addition to her current role as the Blue Heron Education Center’s Registrar and Office Manager, Joy is a director in VCA’s musical theatre program and teaches classes, camps, and workshops in acting, Tap dance, stage makeup, and more.
Jeff Good began painting while a student of architecture at the University of Kansas in the mid 1970’s. His favorite medium is watercolor for its transparency, fluidity and the pure pleasure of letting the pigment and water create effects on paper in a spontaneous and rapid manner. Jeff retired as a Principal of GFF Architects in 2016 and currently spends a great deal of time in his Vashon studio. Jeff enjoys entering juried shows and his work has been shown around the US, Europe and Asia.
Susan Gross works in many types of mixed-media including paste paper, collage, printmaking, book arts, textiles and more. Most recently she is experimenting with paste paper collages, ceramics, textiles and digitally enhanced pattern designs. Susan has illustrated many projects, including a card deck for Deepak Chopra for Hay House, the book “Heal Your Body A-Z,” by Louise Hay, journals for Marcel Schurman, and products such as pajamas for Joe Boxer. She has a BFA from Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, and has taught at California College of the Arts in San Francisco, Mendocino College and Mendocino Art Center in Northern California.
Stephanie Johnson Blomgren
Stephanie Johnson Blomgren has written for print and radio on behalf of local and national businesses and charities. But it wasn’t until she returned to graduate school in 2003 that she discovered her home voice through the art of the essay. This past spring she introduced her daughter to the writing life through the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference in Seattle–jumping back into a conversation around writing that has continued to challenge and feed her passion for books. Stephanie is excited to continue that conversation and experimentation with island-writers here at home!
Rachel Keil has been a knitter for over 30 years and might be one of the few islanders who doesn’t mind ferry delays (for the opportunity to knit). She knits hats (and more hats), fingerless mittens, socks, shawls, sweaters of all sizes, dolls, scarves and more. Rachel enjoys teaching others to knit; particularly watching beginner students get the hang of the needles and yarn moving through their hands.
Linda Moore has been fascinated by piecing images and words together through cut and paste and block print, since they began their relationship with “artful activism” in the late eighties. They’re especially fond of the design process inspired by weaving stories of connection and place. Linda has taught block printing since 1999 in Seattle and Vashon.
Yoshi Nakagawa is a visual artist based in Tacoma. Specializing in printmaking since 1999, she pulled her first print at the University of Puget Sound, and continued her craft in Seattle and Oaxaca, Mexico. Her artwork is influenced by patterns of the natural world and Japanese textiles, along with her experiences living in Oaxaca and Japan. She has exhibited and taught workshops in the US, Mexico, Canada, Japan, South Africa and Honduras.
Teruko Nimura received her BFA from San Francisco Art Institute and her MFA from UT Austin. She has exhibited in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. She was an OX-Bow School of Art Fellow a mentee artist in the City of Austin’s Launchpad program for emerging public artists, featured in the TXBiennial, and one of five Austin artists invited to create work for New York City Highline’s multi-city exhibition “New Monuments for New Cities”. Since moving from Austin she was a City of Tacoma Public Art Reaching Community artist and featured in the Bellwether Arts Festival in Bellevue, completed two community engagement projects for Tacoma, and will be featured in the upcoming 2023 Bainbridge Island Museum’s Juried Exhibition and a group show at Vashon Center for the Arts. Teruko Nimura | Visual Artist (terukonimuraart.net)
Lisa Peretti is the artistic director of Drama Dock Theatre Co. since 2021. She is a trained actor and director, and playwright composer with professional experience in the US and Europe. She holds a postgraduate degree in Acting and Musical Theatre from Mountview Theatre Academy in London, and an MA in Performance Studies from King’s College and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Lisa is the playwright-composer of an exciting new musical, Winghaven Park, that played to sold out audiences in 2022.
Ray Pfortner has worked in photography for over 20 years – as an educator, agent, editor, and photographer, in New York City, California and Washington. He teaches youth, adults and seniors with partners like the University of Washington, Bellevue College’s Tombolo Institute, Bellevue Botanical Garden,Seattle Central College, Seattle Public Library, Seattle Chinese Garden and Vashon Center for the Arts. He is a Fellow and Board Member of the North American Nature Photography Association and received its Kinne Award for sharing his expertise. His photography, which is most often used to advance conservation and environmental issues, is represented by Getty Images. He received theVashon-Maury Island Land Trust’s Emma Award for a decade of supportingconservation on the Island. Ray’s passion for photography is exceeded only by his passion for teaching- and for sharing his photography to make a difference. See Ray’s work:
Laurie Thorpe focuses on hand building in her studio practice, utilizing coil, slab, and carving techniques. She started out by taking classes with Vashon’s beloved Liz Lewis and will forever be grateful for her instruction. She is inspired by vintage Danish ceramics, and the colors and textures she finds on her adventures in the mountains.
Allison Crain Trundle
Allison Crain Trundle is a multidisciplinary artist who draws inspiration from the island’s natural beauty. Her educational journey led her to The College of Fine Arts at University of New Mexico, where she focused on figure drawing, landscape painting, and Flamenco dance. As an art educator at Blue Heron and Vashon Artists in the Schools, she has dedicated nine years to nurturing creativity. Embracing the belief that a life enriched by creativity is a life well-lived, she derives profound joy from sharing her expertise in traditional bookmaking and various other art forms with students of all ages. Her work can be found at:
Katie Underwood has worked with kids in a variety of capacities for over 20 years. Her interest in art was sparked by some inspiring teachers in her youth and she is happy to be able to pass that inspiration on to her students. Katie studied art at Western Washington University and her current creative passions are painting, gardening and songwriting.
Monica Wilson is a creative mother of 3, textile artist, maker and natural dyer. She is a lifelong learner who entered the world of natural dyes a few years ago and hasn’t looked back. Combining her love of textiles, sewing, gardening and simple living, natural dyeing continues to inspire and teach her as well as offering an outlet for her creative passion. She looks forward to sharing her knowledge and artistic journey with others.