ClaySpace welcomes inventive and creative people of all ages to its new Lisle location. Patrons will want to check out the artistic business regularly to take pottery classes, view its art gallery or purchase a piece of ceramics.
The nonprofit ceramic studio recently celebrated its grand opening at 740 Front St., Lisle. Curious visitors were able to meet artists, see their work and tour the new studio space. The community of artists is enthusiastic about ceramics and fused glass.
"The sky is almost the limit in our new facilities," said artist Sue Borghesi, marketing chairman. "All are welcome to the creative process."
The process starts with an idea, to which a moldable clay material gives it form. The object then dries in a kiln for firing at 1,900 degrees for approximately seven hours. Then glazes, under glazes and layer colors are added and fired again to seal. The idea, form, glazing and artistic techniques are all variables.
Lisle resident Paul Buti first took ClaySpace pottery classes at its former Warrenville location. He was drawn to the medium's versatility.
Buti now is among the 50 resident artists in the organization and enjoys bringing an attention to detail in each piece he creates. At the new location, the artist rents one of the five private studios, where he has his own pottery wheel designed to use from a standing position.
Naperville resident Karen Musgrave also began classes at ClaySpace and is now a resident artist at the studio. Internationally, she also teaches a variety of quilting and mixed media classes.
"ClaySpace has a diverse community of artists, from dabblers to professionals," Musgrave said. "For me, being around people who create differently than me opens my eyes to many new experiences."
Like the others, Lombard resident Pauline Ares began with ClaySpace classes and moved on to become a resident artist. She now teaches special classes at the ceramic arts studio.
"I find ceramics, or pottery, straddles both art and craft," Ares said "My morning mug is an art piece that brings beauty to my day. There is something intimate about functional ceramics."
Ares likes to start with a soft slab of clay and forms each piece by manipulation. Using leather and paper crafting tools used on other crafts, she creates her miniature fairy garden pieces.
"Many people come (to classes) with the conception that they cannot do something, and yet by teaching a step-by-step program, the person learns and the results are good," Ares said.
ClaySpace offers pottery classes in beginning, wheel and advanced ceramics as well as in glass fusing and ceramic sculpture. It regularly offers workshops conducted by professionals.
In 2005, 20 artists and hobbyists began ClaySpace united by a shared passion for clay. The group longed for an independent state-of-the-art ceramic center. The new facility provides 6,000 square feet, almost double its previous size, and offers well-lit private and shared studios. Separate areas provide room for classes in clay, glass fusing, ceramic sculpture and children's programs.
Special events are available for Scout troops, schools, birthday parties and adult gatherings.
The Lisle location is within walking distance of the Lisle Metra station, across from the Lisle Library, and close to exits on I-88 and I-355. Organizers hope to attract artists, students and customers from across the Western suburbs.
The convenient site will allow for an increase in class offerings, resident artist memberships and, for the first time, Gallery 107, to rotate featured work of resident artists, interns and students.
The new facility was redesigned to accommodate ClaySpace's increased needs. Organizers are most appreciative of the new pottery wheels and other equipment donated by Shimpo, a distributor of clay equipment, as well as having all its new space both air conditioned and heated.
ClaySpace now has special kilns for bisque, raku, glass, gas and electric applications.
There are two separate spray booths, slab rollers, wedging tables and special student- and resident-artist shelving. A separate glass fusion classroom offers individualized and safe space for grinding and shelving glass. A popular end product of glass fusion is jewelry.
Today's ceramics offers unlimited color options and lead-free products.
"We are still thinking of all the areas we can grow with this new space," said Education Director Dawn Lagerstedt. "We hope to offer our last-Saturday-of-the-month sale all year now that we have a new interior space."
Dedicated to community outreach, ClaySpace volunteers raise money for local food pantries through the annual Empty Bowl campaign, Lagerstedt said. Members and students donate their work to be sold in the fundraiser, with proceeds going to help fight hunger.
At the end of February, ClaySpace will host the Clay3 National Juried Ceramics Exhibition and workshop series featuring well-known clay artists Cory McCory and Fong Choo. Clay artists are invited to submit original art for exhibition and judging. The exhibition will be at the Warrenville Public Library. Check clayspace.net for details as they become available.
The mission of ClaySpace is simply to offer exceptional educational, artistic and collaborative programs in the ceramic and glass fusion arts to resident artists and the general public.
"More than everything we have to offer, everybody shares ideas, knowledge and something they learned," Ares said. "It is really an amazing place because we all help each other grow."
For details on ClaySpace, call (630) 393-2529, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit [URL]clayspace.net;[URL]. [/URL]