Shooting with Spates

Charles Clark Mott St. Chicago

Charles Clark, the head bartender at Mott Street, was kind enough to let us into the bar on his day off to feature a classic cocktail in our Zac Spates whiskey shots. The Zac Spates cups that we feature in the Lillstreet Gallery are all versatile and vary in size and coloring, but his shots offer the perfect size for whiskey “shots,” or 5 ounce pours (a standard shot is around 1.25 ounces). Or, if you’re feeling classy, you can stick with Spates’ purple color scheme and whip up an Aviation.

An Aviation

2 oz gin
3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur
1/8 oz Creme de Violette
*Add a handful of square cubes to an aluminum shaker and shake vigorously until cold (your hand should stick to the side of the shaker slightly).

Thirsting for more? You can ride out the dry, boozy trend that was set with the Aviation and try out a Last Word as well.

A Last Word

3/4 oz gin
3/4 oz Green Chartreuse
3/4 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur
3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
*Add a handful of square cubes to an aluminum shaker and shake vigorously until cold (your hand should stick to the side of the shaker slightly).

More and more, restaurants are calling on ceramic artists to help them give their guests an even more unique dining experience. Mott Street uses ceramic mugs made by Lillstreet artist Kevin Shannon, a special treat for their weekend brunch-goers, and their sister restaurant, Ruxbin, did a complete overhaul of their serving vessels so they could feature the work of ceramic artist Annemarie Martens. With our constantly evolving online shop, you too can curate a dining experience that goes beyond the dishes you create and extends to the vessels in which you serve your company.

Bottoms up!

– Michelle, a Mott Street regular and Lillstreet Gallery Website Coordinator


Handmade Ceramic Whiskey Cups Zac Spates

Handmade Brush Workshop

Add Saturday, May 30th to your calendar if you are interested in learning about and making handmade brushes with Troy Bungart, who sees “potential in a paint brush” as not just a tool, but another living and integral part of the pottery making process.




You can learn more about Troy Bungart and his process at, but be sure to sign up for this workshop before it fills up.  This and  future visiting artist workshops are being set up through the time and effort of our own Joe Kraft.  Thanks, Joe, for bringing talented and dedicated artists to Lillstreet Art Center to share their work!

“Show-Off Shelf”

If you are searching the carts for your glaze work and you just cannot find it—take a second and look up at the set of shelves located above the black couches.  This space, informally known as the “show-off shelves,” is for recently unloaded work that has struck the eye of the monitor unloading glaze work.


Even if you are not searching for your work, take a moment to see these new pots, fresh from the fire.  And if one is yours, thank you for the share.  It is week four of ten, so keep making, glazing, and enjoying ceramics at Lillstreet.


Remember, the studio is open for your use from 10 am to 10 pm each and every day of the week, included with the price of your class.  (What a deal!) So come on over and enjoy your time with clay!

Empty Bowls this Friday, April 17

It is not too late to donate a bowl or two (or three!) to the Empty Bowls fundraiser held at Lillstreet this Friday, April 17.  Find the carts near the greenware shelves and drop of your donations.

It is not too late to donate!
Moving toward reaching our goal!

A shout out to our department’s #1 donor, David Bromley. David makes and donates MANY pots (think: three digits) each year, so while we thank all donors equally, David’s vast contributions deserve a special shout out.  THANK YOU!

David Bromley, on a bowl making binge!

Finally, COME TO EMPTY BOWLS—see your creations and select another’s person’s bowl in order to support the fight against hunger.

Find more event details and RSVP on Facebook



Spring Clean and Welcome Back!

Spring classes start today and run from April 6 through June 14.  Welcome and welcome back to all students. Please note our freshly cleaned classrooms in the clay department.  Special thanks to our monitors who work tirelessly to keep the ceramics department running!

Wheel C is ready, take it for a spin (but don't forget to help keep it clean)

What will you make next in your regular (or new) class? Ware boards await your work—come in for open studio Mon-Sun, 10am-10pm, to create.

Grab a board and make it happen.

Finding your glazed pieces might be a bit of a challenge as we ran out of carts…check any cart with glaze ware on it, even on the greenware shelves.

Glazed work IS around, just be patient and look around.

Keep in mind that we cannot hold on to work left in the studio indefinitely. TOSS DATE is posted, so please find your precious pieces.

'nuff said!

Of course, do not forget about EMPTY BOWLS—we are still accepting donations for this upcoming event. Donate some bowls and come support this important fundraiser!

We are working to get bowls fired in time for Empty Bowls on Friday, April 17.

Again, welcome to first-time potters and welcome back to returning students. You are the reason Lillstreet Art Center is such a fabulous place!

Art Doll as Muse

Making art dolls is not quite the same as playing with dolls. Art dolls, by definition, are objects of art, not children’s toys.  Art dolls can utilize a wide range of styles and media, and may include found objects, manufactured parts or wholly original works.

Susan Gredell sculpture

The art doll can inspire and direct an artist’s vision—just ask Pam Rogalski from Robin Power’s Tuesday night class “Small Sculptures, Figurines and Dolls.”  Rogalski has spent years taking workshops and classes in a variety of areas—fiber, fabric, metals, book binding, and painting, to name a few, and found that making art dolls helped pull together her knowledge in these areas.  In making art dolls, Rogalski once used found objects (old doll heads and hands, for example) but turned to clay as a way to make components that reflected her artistic vision.

Pam Rogalski sculpture

Another student of Power’s, Norbert Greenwood-White found his way to “Small Sculptures, Figurines and Dolls” as a way to expand his clay skill set, and through his interest in doll collecting.  Greenwood-White’s expansive collection of Barbie dolls and their over the top fashions (think mermaid costumes and Neptune themes designed by Bob Mackie) was similar to art doll making in that it allowed the same kind of fantastical artistic license:  Moving away from the structure of the wheel to sculpture and the creative freedom offered by making art dolls.

Norbert Greenwood-White sculpts a hand

“There is an anamorphic aspect to dolls since proportions do not need to be the same,” explains Power.  Another amazing aspect of art doll making involves the making of jointed pieces that allow the doll to move.  Through art doll making (and sculpture in general!) there is much freedom for the maker, the work of art produced, and the art doll aficionado.

Solomon Ross sculpture

Looking for freedom and more expression with your clay work?  Consider adding some sculpture to your clay repertoire!

Catching AIR time with Molly and Kyle

Have you taken time to connect with Molly Bishop and Kyle Hendrix, our Artists in Residence (AIR)?

Molly Bishop

Molly makes low-fire, handbuilt earthenware pieces, mostly functional, often with sgraffito drawings and text. Her own drawings and sketchbooks inform her ceramics, and Molly infuses a sense of humor into her work. Even her forms lend themselves to connecting with people—Molly is less concerned with being finicky or precise, enjoying a piece for its “wonkiness,” emphasizing forms more humble in nature:

“It’s what I enjoy about my art. I like to make it relatable and approachable and it’s my way of connecting with people. I like to draw on pots because when drawings exist on a pot it’s a nice surprise…a sort of subversive way to relate.”

molly work

Approachable and open to developing her identity as an artist, Molly also comes to Lillstreet with experience, having earned a BFA in Ceramics from VCU in Richmond, as well as a residency at Red Lodge Clay Center in Montana.

Currently (during Winter Session) Molly teaches Advanced Handbuilding on Wednesdays from 10 to 1, and Intermediate Handbuilding on Thursdays from 7 to 10 pm. Catch some AIR time with Molly Bishop during the upcoming Spring Session (April 6 to June 14) by taking one of her classes, or stopping to talk about clay with her. “I am always trying to learn more…it’s why I am excited to work in a community studio. I’m super excited to be here.” During Spring Session Molly will teach The Low-Fire Handbuilt Surface on Monday evenings from 7-10, and Intermediate Handbuilding on Thursday evenings from 7-10.

Kyle focuses on wheel thrown, altered, soda fired work, also functional.

Also a functional potter, Kyle takes a different direction with clay and focuses on wheelthrown, altered, soda-fired work. He tends to make things in a series—say 20 cups, then on to bowls and new forms—and is currently working on teapots and combined vase forms. He does not consider himself a production potter, however, and is drawn to the unique individuality of each piece, especially with cups:

kyle work

“I really enjoy making cup forms, they tend to be the favorite ceramic object that I like to collect and use the most from other artists…it is a cool way to see the style of the artist. The little cup can say a lot.”

Another area of focus for Kyle is in the soda program, introducing a new method of adding soda (spraying) during firings. Hendrix, a committed and enthusiastic educator, earned his undergraduate degree from UW Whitewater, and came to Lillstreet with teaching experiences that ranged from middle and high schools to assisting at Anderson Ranch in Snowmass, CO. Just before arriving at Lillstreet this past September, Kyle was an artist in residence at Cub Creek Foundation in Appomattox, VA. Catch AIR time with Kyle during Spring session (April 6 to June 14) by signing up for Beginning/Advanced Beginning Wheelthrowing on Thursday evenings from 6:30 to 9:30, Altering the Thrown Form on Tuesday evenings from 7-10, or Simply Soda:  Beginning Soda on Wednesday afternoons from noon to 3.


Techniques — Handbuilt “Slab” Tumblers by Charan Sachar

I know I post mostly wheel throwing techniques but here’s one for you handbuilders out there.  My take away from this demonstration are:

1. Use templates for consistency in size and shape.

2. Use support for moving slabs — I guess this is even more important when the slabs are softer.  Use anything at your disposal that is close to the shape or the size of what you are making.

3. Pre-decorate the slabs when they are still flat as much as possible and minimize fussing once they slab is “assembled” into their final shapes.  Give your work time to firm up before you have to handle it again.