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Playing with clay at the Lincoln Square Pottery Studio

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There are lots of art centers in Chicago, many of which host a diverse amount of classes and workshops that teach different modes of creative expression.

There is something, however, to be said for specialized locations and arts studios. Chicago Northside residents who want to learn to make and bake pottery should check out the Lincoln Square Pottery Studio, a marvelous location on 4150 N. Lincoln Ave that possesses all the tools, instructors, and clay they'd need.

The Lincoln Square Pottery Studio's 11th anniversery came and went, and it's members and students are keeping busy. As you walk in, you notice the main workshop space is blank white, lacking in any wood or wallpaper decorations. Yet at the same time you can't help but observe that it's well lit, clean, and soothing; little details, such as artwork hanging from the walls, a dog bowl by the entrance, and a tea table in the corner, make the place homely and welcoming. The workshop space, in a sense, is almost like clay itself, unbaked, unworked and full of potential.

By the row of pottery wheels, you'll often see volunteers, instructors and studio members hard at work, shaping clay into bowls and cups, and in the case of chalice-like vessels, peeling excess clay off the side with tools that resemble over-sized potato peelers. On a nearby work table, you might see another studio member working with spun out clay vessels, etching and molding delicate designs, such as a honeypot with a lid shapped to resemble and overflowing stripf of honey-comb, with a bee crawling on top of it.

There's many opportunities to meet and socialize with these talented artists at Lincoln Square Pottery Studio, as well as many opportunities to learn from them. Each Saturday and Sunday, from 1-6pm, is Open Studio time, where ongoing students can make use of the equipment and work on their long-term projects.

At other times throughout the week, the studio hosts long term courses, weekend workshops, and mini-sessions; the Beginning Wheelthrowing and Handbuilding courses, which cost $300 for eight weeks, teach the basis of shaping clay with wheels and by hand. The Intermediate/Advanced Wheelthrowing courses teach students how to make more complex 'vessel' shapes and apply decorative surface treatments. The Children's class, which takes place each Saturday morning, provide an education enviornment for elementary and middle school students who want to shape clay by hand. The Independent Study, Mini Session, and Weekend Workshop events teach specialized techniques, and provide a cheaper, more flexibly scheduled venues for students to learn at.

The Lincoln Square Pottery Studio is not-for-profit and staffed by volunteers. You only have to take a peak inside the studio to see how passionate said volunteers are about their work, and about educating visitors and students on the craft of ceramics.

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