Creative Counselors


CELESTE BECK: Celeste Beck moved to the Fort White area from West Palm Beach in 2007. She has her doctorate in Educational Leadership and is retired as Provost from Palm Beach State College. She is a member of the American Sewing Guild, Florida Sew Society, Gainesville Fiber Art Bee and Fiber Muse, an artist fiber group from Lake City, Florida.

COOTIE COO CREATIONS: Cootie Coo Creations is located in High Springs, Florida, and has been open for business for almost six years. The quaint and cluttered shop is a mecca for crafters and artists in the area because of its small town hominess and the abundance of supplies and treasures tucked away throughout the shop. The owner, Sharon Kantor, is determined to make the “Coo” the place to go if you are looking for rubber stamps. The shop also carries scrapbooking supplies, mixed media and fine arts supplies and a little bit of everything else that is art or craft related. The shop has a monthly calendar of classes, $5.00 Make N Takes on the first Friday and Saturday of each month and its annual Cootie Coo Craziness event over Columbus Day weekend. It is well worth the drive to visit the shop!

GOATFEATHERS STUDIO: Goatfeathers Studio is a mixed media and fiber arts space dedicated to both the creation and sharing of a love for textiles. The purpose of the studio is to offer a space where artists can come to learn new and exciting ways to work with textiles. The owners, Celeste Beck and her sister, Merri  McKenzie, have had a lifelong interest in textiles. Both sisters grew up sewing and went on to enjoy careers in education. Now retired, the sisters have joined forces to share their enthusiasm for their love of textiles and mixed media. The studio is located in Fort White, Florida, conveniently accessible from I-75. The workshops are limited in size so that each participant can explore the techniques, process or project that is being offered. The sisters believe that a small group setting allows independent discovery for each student to explore their creative boundaries.

LOUISE DAMON: Louise Damon is a native New Englander but has claimed Florida as her home since 1986. She is a busy lady, juggling her personal life and professional interests. During the day she is a Nurse Supervisor at the Department of Veterans Affairs. But she has most fun exploring her creative side after work. She is an avid scrapbooker (for over 17 years), card maker and mini album designer. She has experience with many techniques and papercrafting supplies. You will be challenged in her classes, learn a lot and appreciate her calm nature and patience during class. She is a wealth of information and loves to share her experience and expertise with students at all levels.

SHEILA HISS: Sheila Hiss is an evolving fabric artist. She has sewn since she was a young teenager, but she has taken up sewing with a vengeance since retiring as a community college library director in 2009. Her past is dotted with bouts of weaving, basketry and spinning, some more serious than others. She is a member of American Sewing Guild, Fiber Muse and Cootie Coo Tuesday Morning Mixed Media Group.

ALEXANDRA HUERTAS was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador. She, along with her husband and daughter, recently moved to the United States and now they now reside in Gainesville, Florida. For the past 5 years they have lived and worked abroad in countries such as Kyrgyzstan, Europe, the Bahamas and South America. She received her MBA in Barcelona, Spain. While living in these different countries, Alex has seen and learned many things about different methods and ideas of crafting. She began dabbling in home crafts 4 years ago and fell in love with scrapbooking. It is now her full time job and allows her to design and create many different creative designs. She is currently working on her website which will offer many types of scrapbooks and she will be expanding her business by offering classes locally in order to teach other people the fun and exciting art of scrapbooking. She believes that, "The designs and options are unlimited; all you have to do is add your own creativity to make something special and yours." 

SHARON KANTOR: A former professional student, Sharon has several degrees including a Masters in Industrial Arts Education. She has had a lifetime love affair with ink, paper, printing, stamping, lettering, coloring and rulers, so it just seems fitting that after retiring from the school system that she would open a shop that is centered about just those things. She has her own line of rubber stamps, KantorKards, and has recently begun dabbling in mixed media and the Zentangle method, her new loves – whoop whoop!

LIZ LAZO: Liz Lazo graduated from high school in Miami at the tender age of 16. She had her heart set on going to Miami Dade Community College and becoming an art teacher. Liz attended Miami Dade for one year and then, as fate would have her, she fell in love, learned that art teachers were being laid off and consequently her life took a turn. She married the love of her life and started working, but her love of art never died. Liz lived in West Palm Beach for 15 years and has been working in the Stock Market for the past 17 years. She got hooked on mixed media when she transferred to Gainesville from south Florida and was given several Somerset Studio magazines as a going away gift. She was instantly smitten. She went to the website and bought approximately 80 back issues and her life took another turn. She owned an antique shop in High Springs, Florida, and has taught several mixed media and jewelry classes at Cootie Coo Creations. An avid yard sale and estate sale junkie, Liz loves using and sharing with her students the wide array of objects that she has amassed through the years.

MERRI MCKENZIE: Merri McKenzie has lived in White Springs, Florida, since the early 70s. She was with the Florida Folklife Program at Stephen Foster Center for many years and is a retired teacher. She is a member of the American Sewing Guild and Fiber Muse.

SUE MONAGHAN:  I have always doodled and painted since I was a little girl. In kindergarten I got in trouble for doodling on the envelope that my report card was being sent home in. Lucky for me my mother was also creative and it did not make a difference to her. I grew up painting with water colors, making paper dolls and sewing. I attended a high school in upstate New York that had an amazing art program that, to this day, I am grateful for. The classes were more like college classes and this gave me a strong background in color and drawing. For years I did a lot of photography and wanted to integrate in my paintings what I was shooting with the camera. This all lead me to mixed media and back to drawing. I have been featured in Somerset Studio magazine and have had other art work published in Somerset Gallery. I have painted live for Orlando Fashion Week.

I am an artist who is trying to engage with the world and let my art tell a story. I think we all have many stories to tell and through my art I am trying to tell my story and yours. I like that people like to touch and try to see what is under all the layers of my paintings. As an artist, I want to share what I know so you, in turn, can tell your stories.
Terry Peattie hails from Lacrosse, Florida, and is a hopeless art addict. Over the years, Terry rarely has had a moment without some artsy project in the works. She first ventured into the mixed media world through artist trading cards several years ago and it was instant LOVE…She has shared her love of ATCs, art journaling and mixed media with school groups and homeschoolers, as well as being a regular instructor at Cootie Coo Creations. Terry leads a monthly Journal jam at Cootie Coo where art journalers gather and create personal works of art.

SUE RUDA: “I am at a pivotal point in my creative journey, recently retired and able to devote time to my passion with color, fabric and texture.”
I fell in love with silkpainting in the late nineties and worked independently for the first five years. As a result, this collection has been some of my most interesting pieces, as I experimented, plaed and persevered. Eventually I began a study of the medium with Master Silkpainter Susan Moyer and an intensive course at Penland School of Crafts, Asheville, North Carolina.
“When the brush, filled with bright, liquid color touched the silk, my design began to have a life of its own. Most of my pieces are quite spontaneous, never ending as planned. Always a pleasant surprise.”
Because of their uniqueness, tropical flair and pure joyfulness, my silkworks have received a great reception. Since moving to North Florida, I have joined the demonstration program for the Stephen Foster Cultural center and The fabric Art Shop, Lake City, Florida, where I teach fabric painting and indigo dyeing.

Jeannette Runyon

SARAH WHITMIRE: Sarah Whitmire has been creative for as long as she can remember. In 2008 she created Soul Journaling and quit her day job to pursue art full time. This was a good thing. Her work has been published internationally in several magazines and most recently in the book “The Pulse of Mixed-media: Secrets and Passions of 100 Artists Revealed” by Seth Apter published by North Light books. She currently lives in Alachua, Florida and is an active member of Gainesville Fine Art Association.  To learn more about her complete line of works, visit her Web site at

“As an artist I am always evolving, trying to find my clearest voice. Most recently my work has taken on a life of it's own exploring conscious connection to the source through the creative process while battling darker forces such as conditioned thoughts, behavior, and the ego. I make use of my hands often in the process. Painting layers upon layers of memory, thoughts, and dreams, ever seeking the truth and my creative calling.”