top of page


Connie Noyes

"The unknown is full of infinite possibilities and life itself the fundamental guide that propels creative thought. In my work, something always comes from nothing. Good Mourning Cafe began in emptiness, was cultivated through stillness and grief. while unraveling the impact of traumatic loss to (re)discover a new normal. In the end love is all that remains.​"

Connie Noyes, born in Washington, DC, received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and MA in psychology and art therapy from Notre Dame de Namur University, Belmont, California.Her work is an immersion in mourning research. Two-years ago when her father and husband died within days of each other, the fundamental drives of her practice changed radically. Raised in a culture where the delicate and complicated process of mourning was rushed, clearing the way to move on or “get back to normal”, this stoic posturing left no room for ritual or its importance in healing the complex emotional experience of grief. As this research has expanded, mourning rituals based on personal loss have given way to increased focus on the socio-political climate of the moment. Due to an escalation of violence and disparity, the collective felt experience of grief is palpable. Regardless of our differences grief is a common ground. By acknowledging this commonality, her work engages with individuals and communities in intimate, creative and regenerative spaces for healing. She founded Good Mourning Cafe in 2016.

Debi Buzil

Debi Buzil learned Sanskrit chanting from her mother at a young age. Debi is the co-founder of Devi 2000, Chicago’s premier kirtan group. Their three albums — “Devotional,” “Prepare Your Soul to Dance,” and “Kum Kum” — are rooted in Bhakti Yoga, the path of love. Debi has studied music in the motherlands of Brazil, India and the U.S. At present, she is the music editor at Yoga Chicago. Debi has been blessed to have taught yoga to adults, kids. homeless teens and the ladies in her neighborhood’s women’s shelter. A longtime devotee of Amma, the “hugging saint,” Debi laughs with her kids every day. Her two children have proven to be her greatest teachers. Debi is a firm believer in love.


Corinne D. Peterson

For me, artmaking is a force for developing connections between the past and present, between opposing forces of nature, between the intellect and subconscious and between me and my artistic materials.  I have stripped away much of the overt symbolism of my earlier art to work mainly with the forms of architecture and nature. In my newest work, I use openings to explore elusive inner life, its shifts and mysteries, as it relates to outer life. 

Working with nature and clay connects me to my early roots of growing up on a Minnesota farm. Cracks, fissures, scars and pools of glaze are all part of my personal artistic vocabulary. The colors I use come primarily from rocks, leaves, and other bits of nature I’ve collected and studied since childhood.  I use layers and layers of color and fill the cracks with dark tones for a sense of history. I intend for each work to expose the evidence of its own past, much as a person reveals an accumulation of his or her experiences.

Cathi Schwalbe

Cathi was born and raised in a 130 year old stone house in Wisconsin and describes "most" of her family of nine as being comfortable using their hands. She moved to Chicago thirty years ago as a volunteer in a local nursing home during high school and “never left.” She is currently an Artist, Recreation Therapist and Consultant with Quality Care Consulting Services and a farmer wannabe.

As an artist, Cathi understands her social practice as an overlap with her recreation therapy practice which she developed from her need to engage people using art. Her driving philosophy; “The distinction between Art and Life is irrelevant.”  

Cathi's studio is at Lillstreet Art Center and in her home where she creates sculptures, functional pottery and installations using mixed media - found objects, plant material,  bronze & iron. Art happens where the artist is.


Susan Messer McBride

Hands touching clay, I am truly alive. Soul, spirit, body, connected.  I appreciate how hand made clay forms speak to us as we eat, drink, and view the world around us. This inspires me, at the wheel, where I am centered and connected to Earth through clay, to create functional vessels that live and breathe. This is a sacred place for me and I am inspired to share a piece of this through the tangible forms I can create. The opportunity to teach and share and nurture others at the wheel and with clay gives me purpose and peace.

bottom of page