Thursday, December 22, 2011

You've worked hard -- now finish your pieces.

Each session, there are a lot of pieces that are bisqued or glazed that gets tossed out. A lot of people worked really hard to get clay to those states -- including you, the artists.  So, please take the glazed pieces home and glaze those bisqued pieces so that they can be fired.  The next big toss is December 26.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Visiting Artist Workshops - 2012

The new year is almost upon us and it is time to think about what classes you want to take and what direction to take your work.  What I want to draw your attention to, today, is a wonderful opportunity to learn from artist outside of the instructor community here at Lillstreet.  We have a robust line-up of renowned artists coming through Lillstreet in 2012.  These artists bring with them years of experience and each one is knowledge in their medium of choice, is a wealth of information, and above all else, selfless in their sharing of information, tips and tricks.

Andrew Martin Workshop: Mold Making and Slip Casting -Discovering New Work (5 Days)
Slab Design: Making Pouring Forms with Sam Chung (2 Days)

These workshops take many hours to plan and a lot of effot to coordinate the schedule of the artists with the availability of space at Lillstreet to host them.  Anyone who has been to a workshop will share with you that they had a lot of fun, learned a lot, and that it is worth every penny.  Participants of workshops that is outside of their local area will share that they had to pay a few times more than the prices at Lillstreet to account for accommodation, transportation and food to attend workshops by these artists.  So, take a minute to review the workshop offerings and sign-up for one soon! 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Subscribe to this blog

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Glaze early, glaze often

Made something that you wanted to give out for Christmas?  As the holiday approaches, make sure that you keep up with the collection of your bisqued pieces and glaze them quickly.  There is two more weeks of firing left -- translation: 4 bisque firing and 4 glaze firing.  Check the calendar by the greenware shelves.  If you don't know where the calendar is, ask your instructor or a studio monitor.  I got an email from Lillstreet today:

We use 19 different food-safe and lead free glazes in our ceramics department.  We offer over 600 glaze samples but the possibilities are infinite! Ceramic glazes generally contain silica, which help form a glass-like surface and feldspars, which help the glass to melt.  Combinations of naturally occurring oxides are what help to create the different colors of glaze, such as cobalt blues or copper greens and reds.

Glazing is most important for earthenware vessels, which is the same clay that flower pots are made from, otherwise they would be unsanitary due to the porosity of the type of clay.  Glazing helps to seal the surface of the clay in order to keep liquids in...and bacteria out.  In addition to the functional aspect of glazing, their is also the ability to use glaze like paint and the surface of your pot becomes the canvas.  Glazes offer finshes that range from glossy to matte, and mottled to a solid color. Glazes may also enhance an underlying design or texture which may be either the "natural" texture of the clay or an inscribed, carved or painted design.

This is just a simple interpretation of what actually goes into a glaze forumla.  If you are interested in learning more, there are tons of books out there.  Also, check with your instructor if you have specific questions.

Most of all the work produced by students are fired in one of the two large Baileys in the kiln room.  But we also have a kiln for "atmospheric" firing and Lillstreet offer classes in "atmospheric" firing.  With atmospheric firing, you don't have to glaze the outside of the pots if you don't want to.  Check out the catalog for Winter classes and look for "Soda" classes if you are interested in taking one of those classes.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

All Steamed Up -- Teapot Show

A show titled "All Steamed Up"  will be running in the Cinema Gallery in Urbana, IL from December 3 through January 21.  A lot of the talented artists in Lillstreet will be showing their teapot in the show.  Drop in or make it a field trip if you have time.  It'll will be a good "study" of aesthetic and function with the teapot form.  Hope to see you there.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Introducing Matthew Dercole

Matthew Dercole is the new Artist in Residence for the Ceramics department.  Matthew is the Artist in Residence 2012 for the Ceramics Program and will be a prominent figure for the next 12 months.  Give him a warm welcome if you see him in the hallway.

The Interview
I cornered Matthew towards the end of his class time on a Saturday and took some pictures of the work that he’s working on.  Matthew uses clay in his work but he considers himself a mix-media artist.  “There are not many pieces that I’ve created that are done in all clay,” he says.  I asked him how he got started in clay and he said that he actually went to college to study Computer Science.  He changed his mind during his sophomore year in college because he didn’t want to have to deal with Math.  His was going to change his major to Biology but got side tracked with a sculpting class.  Matthew states that he’s never used the pottery wheel to create his work thus far.  “I see the wheel as a tool, like a brush, I can use it if I need to but, up till now, I haven’t had the need to.”

The students in his class were quick to chime in with follow up questions about his work and inspiration.  When asked, the students were all praise for Matthew. “He is a wealth of knowledge!” said one.  “He is very generous and shares everything he knows,” said another.  A class with Matthew could start with a question about underglazes to brushes and eventually lead into Biology.
In his spare time, Matthew enjoys biking around the city and taking in the sights.  He said, "So far, Chicago has been great.  Everyone here at Lillstreet has been very welcoming and helpful."

Matthew received his BA in Studio Art in Ceramics with a minor in Art History from Bloomsburg University in Bloomsburg PA and an MFA in Ceramics, with minors in Drawing and Metalsmithing from the University of Iowa.

Artist Statement
I develop story lines stemming from the exploration of our relationships with ideas and imagery that are often overlooked, taken for granted, sometimes disturbing, and usually misunderstood. Within these stories, I approach and investigate the dull, banal, and the obvious aspects of everyday life with a new curiosity.
The exploration of the self, the understanding of others, and the dynamics they create are an underlying theme throughout my work. Drawing from a fascination of biology, I create forms based on principles of nature coupled with the experience of thought and feeling. The works become combinations of the natural progression of life, such as growth and decomposition, and the human aspects of reason and ability. I am reacting to the way people think and feel about their identities, how the act of learning and the responsibility of knowledge affect our everyday lives.

I approach my work from the point of view of a story. Thinking of stories and books and how they elicit imagery, I incorporate illustration by means of a narrative series of sculpture. I have been utilizing the written word in the form of short stories and experimenting with bookbinding to add the element of the narrative to the pieces. The sculptures are made with the idea of a more visual approach to storytelling, while the actual writings, or sometimes drawings, are there to compliment the work and give further insight.

Artist in Residence Program
Lillstreet's resident artist program was established to benefit the Lillstreet student community, as well as the Artist in Residence. The residents in each of our 8 departments dedicate time to work with students outside of classes in order to enrich Lillstreet students' experience by seeing and learning from a working artist in their midst. The Artist-in-Residence Program also serves as a resource for our teachers by asking the Artist-in-Residence to assist from time to time with classes and demonstrations. This program is meant to help bolster the vitality of the student community and create relationships with the students. The main focus of this residency is for the artist to be an encouragement and resource for the Lillstreet student community as well as provide an opportunity for the artist to develop their work.  At the end of their residency program, each artist will have the opportunity to showcase their body of work in a solo exhibition in the Lillstreet Gallery.

For more information on the residency program, please visit the Lillstreet website.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011

Up in the air . . . It's a bird? . . . It's a ....

No, not Superman but it's just Mary Drabik.  Many of you may know Mary as the instructor for the First Time Potter classes and works with the kiln.  She is also an amazing handbuilder making gigantic bowls from pinching the clay and a whole series of mugs and vases.  Here she is, hand building a tall vase .... it was so tall that she had to climb on top of the table.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Instructor's Work

Recently, more shelves were added in and around Lillstreet.  The purpose of these shelves is to showcase the work of the Lillstreet instructors.  It gives the student an idea of the type of work that the instructors do and, if you see a technique that you like, you may want to sign up for a class with that instructor so that you too can learn to use that technique!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Student Brag Shelf

Pieces for the week of 10/30 and fired pieces from the One Million Bones Benefit.  Do you see your work?

The work changes with each unloading of the glaze kiln.  Selections are made by the team unloading the kiln and strive to illustrate the various levels of skill at Lillstreet.  We look forward to seeing a piece of your work on the shelf in the near future!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

7th Annual Lillstreet Student Member Show

This year's show got off to a very successful start on 10/10.  We've received positive feedback from the people who had a chance to walk through the show.  Let us know what you think from these photos; or, better yet, come and see for yourself.

Marc Digeros was here

The pieces constructed by the participants of the Marc Digeros workshop have been bisque fired.  Here's a look:

Totem -- in Two Parts

It must have taken weeks, if not more than a month, to complete the two pieces.  She's climbed up stools, chairs, step ladder, tables, etc.  Then she had to climb down.  She's sculpted the torso, the "legs" and the head.  Put them all together and then taken them apart again so it would fit it the kiln.  That's what I call dedication.

One of the two totem.  Standing.

The final fit.
The "dismembered" totem.

The totems completed the glaze firing process on Tuesday, October 4 and were unloaded on October 5.  Here are the pictures post glaze firing.

Out of the kiln.

All assembled and displayed in the gallery!

Come see Mary's completed Totem at the Lillstreet Student Member Show.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

One Million Bones . . .

In Spring of 2013, one million bones - made by artists, activists, and students - will flood our nation's capital.

One Million Bones is a collaborative art installation designed to recognize the millions of victims and survivors who have been killed or displaced by ongoing genocides and mass atrocities in Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Burma.
The Mission of One Million Bones is to create a visible movement that will increase global awareness of these atrocities while raising the critical funds needed to protect and aid displaced and vulnerable survivors.
For One Million Bones to realize its vision, we need people to create and donate bones for this event
Lillstreet is also participating in this event -- go here for more information on how Lillstreet will be contributing to this effort.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Marc Digeros at Lillstreet

Marc Digeros conducted a two-day workshop on Handbuilding with Soft Slabs at Lillstreet on September 24th and 25th.  Soft slabs are difficult to maneuver in that it does not want to stay upright or keep its shape.  The natural tendency for soft slab is to collapse in on itself.  During this workshop, Marc showed the participants that there are many desirable qualities gained when building with soft slabs.  Marc used a combination of paper patterns, templates and drop molds to make predominantly functional forms.  During these two days, Marc spent a large part of the day on demos.  On Saturday, September 24th, March also presented a slide show on his career and shared with the artist community at Lillstreet about his inspiration and process.

Paper Pattern

Other than construction techniques, Marc will also focus on surface decoration considerations and discuss the aesthetic of the slab built form.

Some of the workshop participants:

Marc Digeros received his MFA from the University of Washington and his BFA from the University of Minnesota. He has taught at schools in the Los Angeles area including CSU (California State University) Northridge, CSU Long Beach, as well as the University of Southern California.  To see more of Marc’s work, please visit his website

Workshop work in progress:

Completed piece:

Other work by Marc:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Coming up... Visiting Artist Workshop

Kensuke Yamada: Figuring Out

During this two-day workshop we will create unique, original, story-telling figurative works. Stories can come from childhood tales, comic books, movies, and your own personal experience. Kensuke will show his hand-building techniques to make figurative forms. We will start this workshop with your stories and drawings, then transform them into ceramic figurative sculpture. Kensuke will demonstrate basic hand building techniques and work with students to make a ceramic figure in their own unique way. Some hand building experience is necessary and figure drawing experience helpful, but all levels are welcome.

Artist Bio:
Kensuke Yamada was born in Kamakura, Kanagawa, Japan and received his MFA at the University of Montana. He received his BA at Evergreen State College in Washington. Kensuke’s exaggerated playful figurative work has been exhibited nationally and he most recently received the 2009-2010 MJD Archie Bray Foundation Fellowship Award.

Saturday, August 06, 2011 to Sunday, August 07, 2011

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Gallery Talks with Artists in Residence

Come and hear the Lillstreet Artists-in-Residence talk about their work. Feel free to ask questions about their techniques, processes and thoughts behind the work they make!

This Saturday July 16th, 1:00 - 4:30pm in the Lillstreet Gallery

1:00 - Ashely Gilreath; Metalsmithing & Jewelry
1:20 - Gabriella D'Italia; Textiles

1:40 - Sontra Stala; Artist at Large

2:00 - Jess Riva Cooper; Ceramics


3:00 - Kristina Paabus; Painting & Drawing

3:20 - Dobrila Pintar; Glass

3:40 - Joe Panizzo; Digital Arts & Photography

4:00 - Michelle Sallemi; Metalsmithing & Jewelry

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Monday, June 6, 2011

Spotlight on Scuplture

Just before spring classes started we had a chance to sit down with Sergio Ceron's Figure Sculpture class and the Self Portrait in Clay class taught by Robin Power.

Sergio has been a part of the Lillstreet Art Center community for years, having studying fine Arts at the Academy of San Carlos in Mexico City. When asked to describe the class students said "Sergio gives positive feedback, never negative criticism" and that the class works well because "there is no competition, all cooperation." When asked: why sculpture? the answer came easily - "In the end, it's learning to see."

Robin's background is in classic figure sculpture and anatomy having studies at the School of the Art Institute. Her students raved about the positive learning environment, fresh perspective, and opportunities for self discovery that Robin presented to them.

Summer classes start tomorrow! Consider expanding your horizons by taking a four week sculpture class- Figure Sculpture with Sergio Ceron, or Bas Relief with Robin Power. Come July take and eight week Figure Sculpture class with Sergio or a Figure in Costume class with Robin. Maybe a one day workshop is a better fit for your summer schedule? Check out Robin's August 13 Hand Study Workshop.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Call for Artists (That's You!)

Check out three great opportunites!

RAW SPACE – A Pop-up Gallery Show
Theme: Inside Outside
A Ravenswood ArtWalk/RAWednesday Event
Open to Chicago area residents working in any medium.
Location: Prak-sis Gallery 1917 Irving Park Road
Exhibition: May 18th – June 1st
Opening Reception: Wednesday, May 18th 5:00 - 8:00 PM
Closing Reception: Friday, June 3rd 5:00 - 8:00 PM
Submission Deadline: May 15th
Send up to 5 images (JPEG, 1MB or less per image) titled with your name, “johndoe1”, “johndoe2”. Email must include:
Artist Name / Title / Size / Medium / Price / Phone /Email
Notification: May 15th by email or phone of which works are accepted.
Drop-off: May 16th 1:00 - 7:00 PM or May 17th 9:00 - 11:00 AM at Prak-sis Gallery 1917 Irving Park Road
Installation: May 17th starting at noon. Call Bill Moran at 773-543-9256 if you are interested in assisting with installation.
Installation Fee: $20 for first piece / $15 each additional piece.
Limit 3 works. Fee due at drop-off. Checks made payable to Ravenswood ArtWalk.
Commission: 90% artist 10% RAW donation suggested

Pick-up: June 6th
Curator: Bill Moran

Lillstreet's Fourth Annual International Exhibition: Below the Surface
We are accepting applications for all functional vessels and vessels referencing function that pay special attention to surface treatment.

The exhibition will run from August 26th - September 18th.

All Applications must be received by July 15th!
To apply, please submit a maximum of 3 images and a $35 application fee to:
This years Juror is Matthew Metz:
Matthew Metz has been a making his living as a studio potter for the last 20 years. He shares a home and studio in Alfred Station, NY with potter/educator Linda Sikora. Awards he has received include a NEA Crafts Fellowship, and two McKnight Fellowships. He shows and sells his pottery throughout the U.S. and internationally- including the St. Croix Potter’s tour, the Old Church Pottery Show, and the Philadelphia Craft Show.

musing about mud: Call for submissions - 500 Prints on Clay:

Lark Ceramics is publishing an exciting new ceramics book in our 500 series, and we would like you to submit images for consideration. ...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Gary Jackson and a Glimps of Soda

Gary Jackson, ceramics teacher and Lillstreet studio member extraordinaire, recently fired up the soda kiln at Lillstreet. He did a great job documenting the experience and it seemed only right to share it.

Glaze. Wad. Load.

Electrical Hiatus

It Worked...


Monday, April 25, 2011

Celebrate Lillstreet Art Center's 35th Year

and Benefit ArtReach this Saturday!

Children are admitted free and can enjoy art programs from 6-7:30pm!

1 Adult: $35
2 Adults: $65
3 Adults: $90
4 Adults: $110

Tickets Available Online or Call 773-769-4226

-Live music by Jessica Robbins and Nelken on the first floor, plus dancing with DJs from CHIRP Radio

-Children's Programs with ArtReach teachers from 6-7:30pm

-Food and drinks provided by First Slice, Angel Food Bakery, Drew's Eatery,
Spacca Napoli, John's Place, Roong Petch , and more

-Enter the raffle to win a weekend getaway at Lakeside, complete with an art workshop, food, lodging, and activities (paddle boats!)

-Bid on auction items from these businesses:
Provenance Food & Wine, Rare Bird Preserves, Pastoral Food & Wine, CHEW Fitness, Scrumptious Pantry, The Art Institute of Chicago, mk, Jo Snow Syrups, KCL Financial Coaching, BeSpoke Cuisine, Third Coast Surf Shop, Lakeside Inn, Salon 1800, Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa, The Bliss Spa, Four Hands Massage, Merz Apothecary, Fountainhead Restaurant, Prairie Moon, The Nevica Project, KIND Healthy Snacks
And these Artists:
Richard Notkin, Doug Casebeer, Ron Meyers, Bob Briscoe, Jayson Lawfer, AJ Argentina, Sam Scott, Emily Schroeder, David Bromley, Jay Strommen, Wally Bivens, Mike Jabbur, Katie Biderbost, Corinne D. Peterson, Rebecca Zemans, Bebeka, Ann Chikahisa, Richard Hunt, Laurie Rubin, Neha Vedpathak, Karen Appleton, Billy Bob Beamer, Fabiana Glazer, David Gillanders, Cathi Bouzide, and more!