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Best DIY Pottery In Chicago

You don't have to be going to school to take a pottery class or chaperoning a birthday party to paint a bowl. Age doesn't matter. Young or old, just give yourself permission to be creative, learn a new skill or merely have fun working with clay or painting ceramics that have been fired (bisque) and are ready to be glazed. There are studios and centers in the Chicago area that welcome adults and youngsters to hands-on pottery experiences. They offer semester classes, one day sessions and group events (think bridal or birthday parties). Some places are good as a rainy-day drop-in activity. When ready to try your hand, check out these do-it-yourself pottery places.
Lincoln Square Pottery Studio Learning Center
(Photo Credit: Lincoln Square Pottery Studio Learning Center's Facebook)

Lill Street Studios
4401 N. Ravenswood Ave.
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 769-4226

Lill Street Studios has been encouraging the artisan side of the brain for 40 years.The instructors understand that creating something from clay is satisfying. They are patient with students of all skill levels and helpful about suggesting new techniques. Along with beginning, intermediate and advanced classes, Lill Street also has sessions that are just for fun and will do adult and kids parties. The challenge when thinking about a class is deciding whether to learn how to build by hand or do wheel throwing. (No, you are not literally throwing clay at a wheel that is spinning. Making something from clay such as a pot using a potter's wheel is called throwing.) You really do need a class for this because there clay preparation, determining the size of the dome (wide, narrow, tall short) on which you will be shaping your object and much more to know. Among the things you learn in hand-building are different techniques such as coil, pinch and slab and how to add decorations and handles. Then there are the fun glazes to use once the object has been fired. The colors, textures and various techniques using different glazes can perfect that final product.

Lincoln Square Pottery Studio-Learning Center
4150 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 248-4430

The best clue that Lincoln Square Pottery Studio is a fun learning center is its url link to its classes. Yes, you are invited to play with clay, even if you are an adult. Learning pottery skills has become so popular that the center has grown substantially since opening in 2003. A not-for-profit school and studio, the center has added classes and wheels to accommodate increasing demand. Classes are offered to adults and youngsters, but there are also mini session for folks who just want to see what pottery making is like and if they want to learn more. Even professional potters use the studio.

(Photo Credit:

Glazed Expressions
717 W. Armitage Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 867-1792

You have possibly passed a storefront where you see pottery in the shape of tea kettles, figurines and mugs, but they are all white and not shiny. They are waiting for you to let you use your imagination and fit them to your style. Be flamboyant, funny, serious or a Picasso wannabe. Anything flies at Keith Usedom's Glazed Expressions in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. The place also allows food and beverages, so arrange a pottery painting party. Click here for Glazed Expressions in Downer's Grove.

Related:  Best Kids Art Classes In Chicago

Thrown Elements Pottery
260 N. Evergreen Ave.
Arlington Heights, IL 60004
(847) 818-1313

When not sure what you want to try, stop by Thrown Elements Pottery. They do everything from classes in hand-building and wheel throwing to painting bisque pottery. Just stopping by is OK, because the place welcomes drop-ins who want to paint pottery or hand build an object (wheel throwing would be in a class). It's all part of owner Andi Ruhl's philosophy of having a place where people can try things, make art and have fun.

Terra Incognito Studios & Gallery
246 Chicago Ave.
Oak Park, IL 60302
(708) 383-6228

Terra Incognito is a ceramic arts center opened in 2000 by noted potter and teacher David Toan. It has several options for adults and youngsters. There are classes for adults and preteens, after school sessions called KidsClay for ages 5-9, Saturday classes for children age 4-9 called Kids Clay and Sunday classes for families called Family Clay that allow parents and children to work side by side.

Related: Best Art Classes For Adults In Chicago

Jodie Jacobs is a veteran journalist who loves writing about Chicago, art, theater, museums and travel. Her work can be found on
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