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Margaret Arraj • Rug Hooking

Margaret is a rug hooking artist with a passion for creating rugs that have been inspired from ethnic and historic designs. Her rugs are made in the traditional style using a wooden handled hook. Margaret’s rugs pay homage to traditions of a variety of countries. Margaret’s active rug hooking studio is located in Florence, MA, where she teaches and designs among her vintage fabrics and rug wool yarns. Her work has been exhibited at a number of venues and visitors are always welcome online at

Jim Barrett • Woodcarving

Jim Barrett spent most of his teaching career as a woodcarving teacher eventually becoming an industrial arts teacher. He has done woodcarving for fun and for profit for approximately 30 years. He's experienced in relief carving, lettering (sign carving), caricatures and carving in the round.
Jim graduated from UMass with a degree in History and he spent his beginning career teaching that subject. 
Now retired, Jim is able to continue with his love of the art full time. 
We are very happy to add him to our staff this semester.

Miguel Bonilla • Sewing

Miguel has been a haberdasher for four years. He started sewing so that he could design clothes his way. He designs and sews custom boxing uniforms, and upcycles game-worn jerseys into shorts. And with a little instruction you can learn to make custom clothing and other soft goods for yourself and others!

Gary Clarke • Upholstery

Gary completed his apprenticeship in upholstery at Dove & Distaff in Rhode Island. He served as the Assistant Vocational Manager at Pioneer Upholstery (teaching upholstery to mentally challenged adults), which was a program at the Center for Human Development (CHD) for close to 30 years. This program had specialized in building institutional furniture for colleges and businesses. Instruction is open studio style, beginner’s are quite welcome, as are students of all ages and ability levels. All necessary tools are provided. Students are encouraged to send Gary pictures of their project prior to class for evaluation. Don’t have a project? He has a number of “class” projects on which you can build skills and the projects are auctioned off at some point during the year. Gary is proficient in custom upholstery, window treatments, drapes and specialty sewing and teaches these skills as well.

Pam Hiser • Fiber Arts

Pam has been quilting for more than 30 years, and instructing for at least half of that time, both at Southampton Quilts and The Yellow Quilt Shop. She commands a variety of fiber arts besides quilting: crochet, knit, weave, spin, felt (wet and needle-flat and 3-D work). Pam is also affectionately known as the “Gadget Guru”. She enjoys seeking tools to make a job easier or more efficient, and is eager to share her discoveries with others. “Helping people with their own creations is really fun for me; seeing bits and pieces evolve into a finished product is really rewarding. I’m looking forward to continuing this process at the HCAC!”


Kathy MacLean • Chair Caning

Kathy has been teaching caning for over 25 years. Her caning also led her to a hobby in making Nantucket baskets. She has been teaching at the Center for over 20 years. This is also an open studio style of instruction, Kathy teaches beginners to more advanced students. Kathy encourages a new student to stop in with their project a few weeks prior to class so that they may order all necessary supplies. She teaches caning, shaker tape, and woven/rush styles.

Joanne Tryba • Quilting

Joanne is a traditional quilter and has been quilting for over 40 years. She has been teaching classes for 17 of those years, beginning at Genesis Spiritual Center in Westfield. She now holds classes at three different senior centers in Western Mass, and recently started teaching at "The Spare Room", a new shop in Westfield. She loves hand applique and hand quilting. Joanne enjoys teaching, sharing her ideas with others, and watching their joy as they complete a project.