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Retired Philadelphia teacher has 1st gallery exhibit at age 80

Retired Philadelphia teacher has 1st gallery exhibit at age 80
Retired Philadelphia teacher has 1st gallery exhibit at age 80 03:47

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Wednesday marks the first day of Black History Month.

A retired school teacher found another passion outside of the classroom.

For years she's created pottery and sculptures bringing to life her artistic creations.

Now at 80 years "young," her work is being displayed in her first-ever art gallery exhibit. 

When Adrean Bailey retired from teaching with the School District of Philadelphia after 32 years, she was looking for something to do, a hobby. Something to occupy her time. 

She found it at a neighborhood senior center. 

"They happened to have pottery and all, and there was macrame, and different classes so I said, 'let me try pottery,'" Bailey said. 

She tried it, loved it and hasn't looked back, creating countless sculptures and pottery ever since.

"My kids would say 'Mom, you know you got so much pottery around here. It's here, everywhere, it's all over the place,'" Bailey said. "Because I would just love to make stuff, which I did." 

The intricacy and care she puts into each piece is evident, with vibrant colors and figures detailing her work. Adrean's love of designing and creating started when she was just a child. 

"I learned how to sew when I was like 5 or 6 years old," Bailey said. "My mom would sew, and I would use the fabric to make doll clothes, then I would make clothing. ... Just the freedom, the freedom of making and creating things."

Now at 80 years old, Adrean is enjoying her first pottery exhibit at the Moody Jones Art Gallery in Glenside, Pa.

"Pottery was like a freedom, you could just do. There was no restrictions on what you did, so it became my passion, and I just work and do the pottery, and do the fabric, and do whatever I could do in my free time," Bailey said.

"I don't feel like I'm 80. I feel like I can get out here, I can dance like everybody else, I can cut it up with the younger folks." 

Her youthful spirit is infectious, and her work is an unbound reflection of her passion and zest for life.

"I'm like a butterfly, I like to be free and move and do those types of things," Bailey said.

"When it comes to pottery you're going to see pieces that are coil, pieces that are cut and slipped on, you're going to see free parts mixed clay," she added.

We asked her: Did you ever think you were going to have your work displayed in a museum? 

"I did not," she said. "This is a blessing, I give it all to God."

Mrs. Bailey has no intention of slowing down. She's feverishly working on more pottery, more clothing and artistic designs. She hopes to inspire not just the younger generation but the older generation as well.

"When they see the pieces they'll say 'Hmm, an 80-year-old person or whatever...I think it's an inspiration for them," Bailey said. "I hope that it inspires them that they can do it too, and that they are not limited." 

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