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Ceramic arts center relocates to Lisle, hosts grand reopening

Published: Friday, Oct. 4, 2013 2:17 p.m. CST

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LISLE – Lisle residents will now have the opportunity to use their hands to create cups, plates, sculptures and other ceramics at a new art center.

Previously located in Warrenville, ClaySpace Ceramic Arts Center will host its grand opening celebration this weekend at its new location, 740 Front St. in Lisle. 

“We are not a paint-your-pot type of place,” said Lee Ristow, director of development and a resident artist with ClaySpace since 2007. “If you really wanted to try ceramics, this is the place to try it. There is such a wide variety of styles and techniques, if you can’t find something you like, I’d be amazed.”

According to clayspace.net, ClaySpace is a nonprofit organization created to develop, sustain and promote an art-centered community that provides educational, artistic and collaborative programs in the ceramic arts to its resident artists and to the general public.

The organization was created in 2006 by 20 clay artists who were taking continuing education classes, but desired a studio where they could work and study free of the constraints of the traditional college model. 

ClaySpace’s grand opening celebration will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Residents who attend will have the opportunity to tour the studio and watch a classical music performance. 

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, adults and children will be able to participate in hands-on activities. Adults will decorate and glaze Mayolica tiles while children will create clay critters, Ristow said. Fees are $5 for adults and $2 for children. There also will be demonstrations by several ceramic artists, food and beverages and a ceramics sale. 

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, depending on the availability of supplies, residents will again be able to participate in activities, Ristow said. A ceramics sale also will continue. 

Throughout the weekend, residents can participate in a raffle. About 40 pieces of ceramic art will be available, and tickets are $1 each. 

“It’s a good opportunity for the community to visit their newest neighbors and see what we are all about,” Ristow said. 

Ristow said one of the reasons ClaySpace decided to change locations was to allow more resident artists to join.

Resident artists pay a quarterly fee to use ClaySpace’s space and equipment to create ceramics, and also help run the organization on a volunteer basis. Individuals interested in becoming a resident artist must submit their work for review and interview with board members, Ristow said.

The organization also needed more space.

The new building is more than twice the size of its previous location, Ristow said, and also features a gallery three times the size of the previous gallery where resident artists can display their work. There are also five private studios that resident artists have currently rented for the year.

ClaySpace offers a variety of classes to children and adults throughout the year. Ristow said there are not more than 10 students in a class so each student can work at his or her own pace. Classes usually are taught by resident artists who have degrees in ceramics or who have previous teaching experience, Ristow said. 

“We have everything from people who have not touched clay in their life to people who just want to get back into it to those with years of experience,” Ristow said. “Once you get your hands in mud, there is no going back.”

Internships, workshops and continuing education courses are also available. Residents can also set up private classes for group events such as birthday parties, Boy Scout or Girl Scout activities and more. 

Lisa Domagala, marketing manager and one of the founding resident artists of ClaySpace, said the artwork that resident artists and students create ranges from functional ware, which includes glasses, mugs, bowls and jars, to sculptures. 

“It’s just fantastic that you can see exactly what the person had in mind through clay,” Domagala said. “It is important for people to see the value of handmade ceramics: It is made by someone’s hands and is different than everything else.”

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