Winter Workshops at Turtle Ridge

Ellison Bay’s Turtle Ridge Gallery is back with a cabin-fever cure: a series of art workshops set to run through February. 

These intimate six- to eight-person sessions are led by Turtle Ridge’s own Asta Zukauskiene and Mary Ellen Sisulak, who will help attendees get creative with leather, water-soluble encaustics, materials from the outdoors and more.

The gallery is planning to host additional workshops in March, April and possibly May, Zukauskiene said. But before those are announced, here are the highlights from February’s class list.

The Best Bet for Beginners: All of Turtle Ridge’s classes are beginner-friendly, but the gallery’s “short and sweet” small-bag workshops are especially good for students with no prior art experience, according to Zukauskiene. They’re also some of her favorites to teach.

One such class is a workshop on Feb 2, 11 am, where participants can make small, color-blocked bags with a cowhide strap that allows the finished product to be used as a fanny pack, a shoulder bag or a crossbody bag.

A Fan Favorite: Turtle Ridge’s embellishment class is one of the gallery’s more popular offerings, according to Zukauskiene. During the session on Feb. 17, 11 am, artists can create a shoulder bag with a flap of their own design. Past participants have brought their own elements to incorporate into the bag, adding items like exotic furs, semi-precious stones and old pieces of jewelry.

“We encourage people to bring in sentimental things they had sitting in a drawer,” Zukauskiene said. “Then we figure out how to incorporate that into the design. It makes the bag that much more special.”

New This Year: Two of the gallery’s newest class offerings are a hostess gift class on Feb. 6, 11 am, and a nature mobile class on Feb. 19, 11 am, both of which draw from Zukauskiene’s experience with floral design.

The hostess gift class will overview useful flower-arrangement tips as participants decorate wine bottles, while the mobile class will guide artists through making a mobile with materials found in nature, like twigs and greenery. 

A Comeback Class: In previous years, gallery owner Mary Ellen Sisulak taught a workshop on water-soluble encaustics. That class is back on the docket for 2024, this time on Feb. 9, 11 am. The ancient medium only regained popularity recently, so the class is often attended by painters looking to try something new, Zukauskiene said.

One For the Introverts: If you’d rather attend a class with just your own inner circle – or if you can’t make it to the scheduled dates on Turtle Ridge’s calendar – ask the gallery about available times to book a private art camp for four to six people. They can be reached at [email protected] and 920.854.4839.

To view the full class list and register for your pick, visit There is no registration deadline. Classes range in length and prices range from $45-365. 

Frostbite Party Jan. 26

Turtle Ridge Gallery is hosting its annual Frostbite Party Jan. 26, 4-7 pm. Guests can peruse a new mixed-media animal art series by Mary Ellen Sisulak in the gallery, and deals on natural fiber clothing and handmade leather bags in the boutique.

Festive refreshments will be served and Turtle Ridge staff will be on-hand to answer questions about the gallery’s workshop series.

Turtle Ridge Gallery is located at 11736 Mink River Road in Ellison Bay.

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