Instructor Bios

North Bennet Street School Continuing Education instructors are the finest teachers and makers in their fields. 

Jeff Altepeter

Jeff is the head of the NBSS bookbinding department, a 2003 graduate of the American Academy of Bookbinding, and an alumnus of the NBSS program. After completing the NBSS program in 1999, Jeff worked at Harcourt Bindery and Harvard University's Tozzer Library. He serves as the chair of the New England Chapter of the Guild of Book Workers and operates a bindery in Somerville, Massachusetts specializing in leather bindings and boxes.

Steve Brown

Steve, a 1990 graduate of the program, teaches in both the full-time and Continuing Education programs. Before he came to NBSS full-time, Steve worked with Phil Lowe ’74, Makers of Fine Furniture, in Beverly, MA, making new furniture and restoring antiques. Steve’s work has been shown in galleries and published in the Fine Woodworking Design Book. His restoration work is included in the collections of museums and private clients. Steve lectures throughout the Boston area and has developed several Continuing Education programs for NBSS. He also appears regularly on the Rough Cut Show, hosted by Tommy MacDonald, one of his former students.

Janet Collins

Janet Collins has been a professional woodworker and woodturner since graduating from the Cabinet and Furniture Making program at North Bennet Street School in 1996. She has developed and taught many of the woodworking and woodturning workshops at North Bennet Street School. Currently she teaches woodworking full time at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH.  

Dan Faia

Dan is an instructor and 1994 graduate of the NBSS Cabinet & Furniture Making program. Dan designed the curriculum for several NBSS workshops including the current three-month furniture intensive. Prior to joining the NBSS faculty, he work with master craftsmen Phil Lowe NBSS '74 and Ron Traposso NBSS '69. When Dan isn't teaching or making furniture in his New Hampshire shop, he enjoys writing and has published numerous articles in Fine Woodworking magazine. 

Samuel Feinstein

Samuel trained at the North Bennet Street School and has been in private practice since graduating in June 2012. He specializes in fine bindings, gold finishing, new bindings in period style, and luxury clamshell boxes

Johanna Finnegan-Topitzer

Johanna graduated from the Bookbinding program in 2003. As an artist, she uses the book form to create sculpture. She shows her work in galleries and shows around New England and nationally and has been the Artist-In-Residence at the Grand Canyon. She is a recent recipient of an Artists Finalist Award from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Jeff Fleisher

Jeff is a woodcarver living in Northern Virginia. His work is featured in Wayne Barton’s The Art of Chip Carving: Award Winning Designs, the premier professional chip carver’s book.

Erin Fletcher

Erin was first introduced to the craft of bookbinding while obtaining her BFA at The School of the Art Institute (SAIC) of Chicago. Erin continued her bookbinding training through the full-time program at North Bennet Street School, where she graduated in 2012. Her business, Herringbone Bindery, was established in 2012, creating one-of-a-kind fine bindings along with edition binding and box making. In addition to being a Continuing Education Instructor at NBSS she is also a Middle School Book Arts Instructor.

Nancy Fresella-Lee

Nancy Fresella-Lee studied Fine Arts at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, and the History of Art as a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Cambridge.  To further her interest in the book arts and the history of the book, she completed the bookbinding diploma program at North Bennet Street School.  She now operates her own bindery, and continues to work as an art historian to pursue both her creative and academic curiosity. 

Linda Lembke

Linda Lembke is a hand bookbinder who incorporates traditional and experimental approaches to limited edition binding and boxmaking at her home studio, Green River Bindery, in Guilford, Vermont. She works frequently on bookmaking projects with students, teachers, and artists.

Andy Glenn

Andy currently works for a cabinet and furniture shop in Rockport, Maine.  He's a graduate of the cabinet and furniture program ('08) and taught numerous courses in the workshop program before moving from Boston to Maine in 2013.  Andy loves the challenge of designing a piece of furniture and having the skills needed to complete it.

Peter Galbert

Before specializing in chairs, Peter Galbert worked as a cabinet and furniture maker in New York City. In 2001 he moved to Upstate New York to concentrate on making chairs from green wood. He recently moved to Central Massachusetts where he makes chairs and teaches in his workshop, as well as at woodworking schools here and abroad. He’s been featured in numerous magazines and has written articles on chair-making for various publications, including Fine Woodworking and American Woodturner. He also writes the Chair Notes Blog ( )and produces tools for chair making. His first book “Chairmaker’s Notebook” is available from Lost Art Press,

Paula Garbarino

Paula Garbarino is a 1988 grad of NBSS furniture and former instructor in that program. She is a professional furniture maker specializing in marquetry. Her work has appeared in a number of periodicals and she exhibits regularly in trade shows.

Maryanne Grebenstein

Maryanne is a calligrapher, graphic designer, and book artist. She is the owner of The Abbey Studio in Hingham, Massachusetts. Maryanne studied under Sheila Waters and Jeanyee Wong and at Parsons School of Design and Hood College. She is the author of Calligraphy: a Course in Hand Lettering. 

Fionnuala Hart Gerrity

Fionnuala is a 2011 graduate of the Bookbinding program at North Bennet Street School. She holds a degree in Printmaking from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where she also studied life painting and animal drawing. She works in book conservation.

Bill Hanscom

Bill Hanscom is a special collections conservation technician for Harvard Library at the Weissman Preservation Center in Cambridge, MA; coordinator and instructor for the Book Arts BFA program at Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, MA; and an independent workshop instructor. He is a 2008 graduate of the Book Arts/Printmaking MFA program at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. His essay on traditional Ethiopian book satchels will be included in Volume 3 of theSuave Mechanicals: Essays on the History of Bookbinding series to be published by The Legacy Press in 2016, followed by a larger essay on Ethiopian bookbinding practices and techniques in Volume 4 of the same series.

Judith Hanson

Judith is a 1994 graduate of the NBSS Cabinet and Furniture Making program and in 2005 she received a BA in Sculpture from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She is a Studio Manager of the MassArt Woodshop and has her own shop space in West Concord, MA.  She also teaches the Fine Art of Furniture I and II for the Furniture Design Certificate Program, a unique collaboration between NBSS and MassArt. 

Leslie Hartwell

Leslie Hartwell earned a teaching degree from Framingham State College and graduated from the NBSS Jewelry Making and Repair program in 2006. Her extensive background in graphic design and textiles informs her designs and a love of pottery inspires her hollow form making. Leslie’s years of experience teaching at NBSS, Metalwerx, The Lexington Metalworkers Guild and other craft venues, together with her repair services and commission work, make up her full-time career as a craftsperson.

David Hawthorne

David is a maker of bows for stringed instruments and a frequent guest teacher in the violin department. His shop is in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He began bow making with William Salchow and later studied with Stephane Thomachot in Paris. He headed the bow department at Reuning and Sons in Boston for eight years. His formal education includes a Bachelor of Music from Berklee College of Music, and two Masters of Music (Jazz Guitar and Composition) from New England Conservatory. He is a member of the American Federation of Violin and Bowmakers and the Violin Society of America. His work on both modern and baroque bows has received numerous awards and praise from internationally acclaimed musicians. David is a regular guest instructor in the Violin program and leads bowmaking workshops at North Bennet Street School. 

Ellen Kaspern

Ellen Kaspern has been a custom furniture maker since graduating from the NBSS Cabinet & Furniture Making program in 2003. She owns Ellen Kaspern Design and is a member of the cooperative Fort Point Cabinetmakers in Boston. In addition to designing and building custom furniture, she demonstrates woodworking techniques throughout the New England area. Her skills have been presented at Old Sturbridge Village, Peabody Essex Museum, Concord Museum, Plymouth Plantation, Hancock Shaker Village as well as other institutions in the Boston area. 

Martha Kearsley

Martha is a 1995 graduate and current instructor in the NBSS Bookbinding program. She runs Strong Arm Bindery, repairing and restoring old, well-loved books. She also designs and builds stationery pieces. 

Alan Lacer

Alan has been involved in the wood turning field for more than 35 years as a turner, teacher, writer, exhibition coordinator, expert witness, demonstrator and past president of the American Association of Woodturners. His work has appeared in a number of regional and national exhibitions.

John Lagattuta

John, owner of Northwest Corner Woodworks in Torrington Connecticut, specializes in the making of furniture representing styles of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries using traditional methods and techniques and restoring antiques. His firm has been employed by several historical organizations, including the Litchfield and Torrington historical societies.

Amy Lapidow

Amy graduated from the NBSS Bookbinding program in 1995 and is a founding member of The Three Ring Binders in Somerville, Massachusetts. Amy's interests include modernizing historic bindings working with artists to help them translate their visions into book form. 

Jack Mauch

Originally from the White Mountains of New Hampshire, Jack Mauch studied at the Maine College of Art in Portland, ME, where in 2006 he earned a BFA in Ceramics. After college he moved to Cambridge, MA where he worked for the exhibitions department at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and taught woodworking at Harvard’s Eliot House. In 2011 he obtained a two-year core fellowship at the Penland School of Crafts where he undertook a broad study of material and process. His work has been exhibited at SOFA Chicago and the Penland Gallery, and has been featured in American Craft Magazine. He currently makes furniture and metalware in his studio in Allston, MA.

Brian McQuay

Brian is a 2004 graduate of the NBSS Cabinet & Furniture Making program and is a self-employed furnituremaker and restorer in Boston.

Ryan Messier

Ryan is a fine furniture and chairmaker located in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Formal training at the North Bennet Street School provided a wide skill-set which, blended with his artistic talents, has enabled him to create beautiful and intricate custom pieces. Ryan enjoys solving the challenges involved in the planning, designing and building of beautiful furniture.

John O’Regan

John is a 1997 graduate of the bookbinding program at North Bennet Street School. He spent 5 years doing Collections Conservation at the Harvard College Library and 2 years at he MIT Libraries in Special Collections Conservation. He currently has a private practice in book repair and conservation in Somerville, Mass.

Jamey Pope

Jamey is a 2006 graduate of the NBSS Cabinet & Furniture Making program. Before becoming a custom furnituremaker, Jamey was a general contractor.

Bill Rainford

Bill is a graduate of the Preservation Carpentry program at NBSS. A long time woodworker, Bill currently works on commissioned pieces from his own workshop, site projects, and gives personalized instruction. Before woodworking, Bill was a software development engineer. 

James Reid-Cunningham

James studied bookbinding at the North Bennet Street School and received the distinguished alumni award from NBSS in 2006. He spent thirty years as a conservator at Harvard University and the Boston Athenaeum. He is a conservator in private practice in Cambridge, MA.

Steve Smithers

Steve has, for over thirty years, researched and practiced the classic art of silversmithing. Though the process of restoring early metal objects, Steve has gained an intuitive sense of the original methods used which has influenced the design, construction, and craftsmanship of his own pieces. His years of experience in the field include presentations and demonstrations at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Winterthur Museum, Historic Deerfield,and the Paul Revere House, among others. 

Brian Vogt

Brian is a 1994 graduate of the North Bennet Street School Preservation Carpentry program, Brian worked for some of Boston’s finest cabinetry and architectural millwork shops before opening his shop, Vogt and Company, in 1998. 

Matt Wajda

Matt is a 2000 graduate of the NBSS Cabinet & Furniture Making program. His custom furniture making business, Piscataqua Design, LLC, is in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He is active in commission and design work and has clients througout the east coast. Matt's work is often exhibited in galleries in Portsmouth and Boston.

Bradley Wolcott

After graduating from Dartmouth College in 2006, Brad joined the US Army and served as a cavalry officer for four years. After completing his service he enrolled at NBSS and graduated from the Cabinet and Furniture Program in 2012. Today Brad works as a self-employed studio furniture maker in Hardwick, Massachusetts.