If drawn to handmade pottery, expand your knowledge of what artists are doing in the field by visiting an art gallery that carries ceramics. Some galleries specialize in American artists, while others represent artists from all over the world. The pieces make excellent gifts for collectors of such items as tea pots or mugs. Think of it as a fun outing. If visiting a gallery for its pottery, you are likely to be going somewhere you haven’t checked out before. And you might find a fun whimsical, conversation piece or a vase which brings together other colors in a room while filling an empty spot on a buffet or coffee table.
4401 N. Ravenswood Ave.
Chicago, IL 60640
Lillstreet is known for pottery and other craft classes. However, what some folks might not know is that it has an outstanding store that sells really fine ceramics. Some are by Lillstreet instructors and artists in residence, but most of them are done by potters across the country, according to gallery curator Brian Malnassy. Ranging from boxes and vases to bowls, mugs and sculptures, the ceramic pieces represent the works of about 80 artists.
The Leigh Gallery
3306 N. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60657
Walk into The Leigh Gallery in Lakeview, and you are bound to stop at a huge, two-tiered burl table. It is the gallery’s setting for gorgeous pottery. Expect it to take time to decide among the delightful handcrafted animals and exceptional vases and bowls. Don’t be surprised if some of the ceramics are by Wisconsin potters. Owner Jean Leigh, an award winning artist, has a home up in Door County, a summer vacation spot known for its pottery, galleries and artists. While there, look for pieces by Mark Kolinski, Ryan Pederson, Becky Griffin and Shawn Barbagallo to see how different artists have created wonderful works that are totally different in style.
Salt Creek Pottery
48 S. Villa Ave.
Villa Park, IL 60181
The long-time Elmhurst art studio of Robert Reckers, Salt Creek Pottery moved to Villa Park, the next suburb west, about a year ago for more studio and gallery space. You will see Reckers’ functional and decorative pieces in the gallery, but while browsing, you can also glance into the studio where he works and holds classes. Maybe you will be tempted to sign up for one.
Related: Best Art Galleries In Chicago
The Nevica Project
3717 N. Ravenswood Ave., Suite 115W
Chicago, IL 60613
Owner Jayson Lawfer says he chose the word Nevica because it is beautiful and also means snow, which might foretell how his gallery and art consulting business, or project will grow. What you should know is that Lawfer represents top artists and sells works from good collections. The ceramics you find here are from all over the world including Japan and New Zealand. He also has an excellent wall of mugs. The gallery is in one of Ravenswood’s former warehouses that now is part of the neighborhood’s growing art community.
Vale Craft Gallery
230 W. Superior St.
Chicago, IL 60654
Vale Craft Gallery, owned by Peter Vale, sits in the popular gallery area of the River North neighborhood west of Michigan Avenue. His ceramic pieces range from the whimsical and innovative, such as birch vases by Lenore Lampi and stoneware clay birdhouses by Mary Alexis Fox to gorgeous carved clay works by Karen Swilden and terra cotta tea pots by Joe Klingler Jr.
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Jodie Jacobs is a veteran journalist who loves writing about Chicago, art, theater, museums and travel. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.