Pierre is an artist with a background in marketing and design, focusing on brand and product development. His most recent brand, Xoxocabana, is a DIY company that was launched to foster creativity, originality and inspire everyone to create original pieces of everyday use. Their philosophy is that the personal process of creating something will “represent who you are—every day!”
Sara Bookspan, a Bay Area native, and recent west coast transplant, discovered her love of clay at a very young age. Her love of art led her to pursue a Bachelor of Art Education with emphasis in ceramics from Humboldt State University. Working with her mentor, Joel Magen of Dark Horse Pottery, she honed her skills in wheel thrown and hand built production pottery. It was there that she developed a deeper understanding of the meditative process of working with clay. Looking to pair her passion for education and ceramics, Sara went on to receive a Master of Special Education and two teaching credentials from Portland State University with the goal of becoming an art therapist.
Knowing that art truly has the power to change the human experience, Sara brought this same passion to her work in the Peace Corps where she started several small income-generating projects in her host country, Kenya. Her projects were focused on expansion of local arts within the Deaf community which included beadwork, textiles, and of course ceramics. Taking art and education to the next level, Sara became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, and uses art as part of her method to teach life skills to individuals with special needs. She founded a ceramics program at Victory Academy, a school for children with autism located right outside of Portland, Oregon. Through this program students learned the foundations of working with clay and its relation to accomplishing daily living skills while simultaneously exploring their creativity.
Now in Florida, she is actively working as a behavior analyst with the special needs community. In her free time, she continues to pursue her love of ceramics by creating primary altered wheel thrown forms that resemble components of the natural environment. She is extremely excited to be working with The Armory and cannot wait to explore the wild world of clay with her new learners. What’s to be expected in a class with Sara? Learner’s will enhance mindfulness and artistic independence through learning the basics of handbuilding techniques, glazing, fundamentals of wheel throwing, while of course learning to become artistic clay rebels!
Shani Simpson is a first-generation Caribbean-American with Jamaican and Vincentian roots. She firmly believes that her ability to create art is a gift from God. Working in painting, photography, and mixed media, Shani creates abstract, colorful, and densely patterned works that are then transferred onto textiles. Her inspiration comes from the Bible and her Christian faith, her various travels, and the natural and manmade environment in which she lives. Her work has been exhibited in South Florida and Washington, D.C. Shani received her Master’s in Non-Profit Management from Florida Atlantic University, has a B.A. in International Studies from the University of Miami and did capstone coursework in Australian Studies at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia. She is also a proud alumna of the Dreyfoos School of the Arts where she concentrated in Visual Arts and Spanish. Over the years, Shani has worked at the Armory as a summer camp instructor, registrar, and volunteer. She enjoys imparting arts knowledge to children and seeing their world expand. She is looking forward to managing the esteemed 2-D department at the Armory Art Center. In her spare time, Shani enjoys reading, going to the beach, traveling, being a foodie, and helping students obtain scholarship money for college.
Vishan Seenath is a graduate of Dreyfoos School of the Arts and earned a BA in studio art at FSU. He attended West Dean College, in the UK, to earn a MFA in painting and drawing from the University of Sussex. Vishan is an arts educator in Palm Beach County.