Years of holding, kneading, centering and guiding clay into desired shapes have molded Jodi Younglove into more than a talented artist; she is also a phenomenal teacher.
Already in demand, with waiting lists for her classes, Younglove began teaching ceramics classes at Fine Line Creative Arts Center in St. Charles in June of this year. Formerly, she has taught ceramics at Lillstreet Art Center, Moraine Valley Community College, College of DuPage, Lake Forest College, Barat College, Gallery Park West, and Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart (high school).
With this wealth of experiences teaching in a variety of settings, Younglove said, "What sets Fine Line apart is that the classes are geared for adults. That gives it a certain level of seriousness. The students here are very dedicated to what they do. They have also made lifelong friendships and have a great place to bounce ideas off of others, not only artistically, but ideas about life."
Currently, Younglove teaches beginners through advanced ceramics classes, and she is available for private instruction at Fine Line, as well as in her home studio in Wheaton.
"One thing that sets our (Fine Line) studio apart from some others is our fantastic facility," she said. "I don't know of any other ceramics studio in the area, other than Lillstreet, that has such a large gas kiln. Cone 10 reduction is considered the best, or best quality firing, you can achieve and we can do that at Fine Line. The grounds are also very beautiful. It is a great place to come to and take a deep breath."
In addition to her wheel throwing and hand building skills as an artist and as a ceramics teacher, Younglove is experienced in making cone 6 and cone 10 glazes, porcelain and stoneware clays, and even terra sigillata, an ultra refined clay slip, historically used by ancient Greeks and Romans in lieu of glazes. When able, she does make these glazes and slips for her students.
"I have been teaching beginners for almost 20 years, and I have learned, from watching my students, what works best for them," she said. "Most importantly is to have a good time and relax. If you are feeling uptight about throwing, the clay can feel that and it will be conveyed into your pot, and not in a good way. I always tell my beginners to take a deep breath, center themselves and it will be much easier to center their clay."
Younglove took her first pottery class as a college freshman, just to check it out, and discovered "ceramics made me feel like I could make something, finely crafted, of lasting value to enjoy with those around me. I changed majors, changed schools, and started on a journey that led me to an M.F.A. in ceramics (in 1996) at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago."
A classically trained ceramic artist, Younglove has been working as a professional artist for almost 20 years. Her primary focus is on creating stylized, figurative ceramic sculpture, but put any interesting materials in front of her and something will be made, built or sculpted.
Finding a balance between ceramics and textiles, Younglove also works with fabric and yarns in her home studio, "where everything that comes into my brain can come out my hands."
Younglove's pottery is heavily influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement, while her sculptural mentors are Adrian Arleo, Wesley Andregg and Daisy Youngblood, to name a few.
She is a member of the DuPage Art League and shows there regularly. Her work can also be seen and purchased at Fine Line's Dempsey Gallery and at the annual faculty show in Fine Line's Kavanagh Gallery.
To learn more about classes, guest artist workshops and gallery events at Fine Line Creative Arts Studio, visit www.fineline.org.