Clayworkers' Guild of Illinois A dedicated group of ceramic clay artists and artisans.

                     

Apologies for the photos, but a nice story by Anne Eickstadt.


By Anne Eickstadt CORRESPONDENT
One of the most artistic and popular displays of its kind, the ClayWorkers’ Guild Holiday Art Pottery Sale has been a popular shopping destination for the past 10 years. The CWG annual sale is located in the Old Courthouse Arts Center on the historic Woodstock Square. Members of the ClayWorkers’ Guild of Illinois join together every November and December to offer beautifully handcrafted, artisan works of ceramic art for both display and everyday use. You can surround your home with art and use it in your everyday lives. There are fifteen CWG Illinois members on display this year for the Annual Holiday Sale. “You can’t find that anywhere else,” says Ben Rosenfield of Frog Hollow Pottery. “We are already at double the sales this year. People see and understand that they can use art in their lives every day. There are a lot of accomplished artists that are new to the guild. Some of these clay workers are people that you would have to go to Chicago or elsewhere to see.” Clay workers on display at the Holiday Sale this year include: Susan Clough, Susan Galloway, Cyndi Hicks, Jill Munger, Frank Richards, Ben Rosenfield, Patricia Volkammer, Hironobu Nishitateno, Marylou Mateja, Mary Paul Garland, John Garland, Socoyro ‘Coco’ Medina, Ann Marie Whitmore Lenzini, Jim Losh, and Lena Wells. The day I visited the display, it was being attended by Ben Rosenfield and Jill Unger. Between them, they told me a great deal about each of the artists participating in the Holiday Sale. Here is a very little of what I heard:
 Jill Munger was one of only two students at McHenry County College chosen to have pottery items placed on display in Springfield, Illinois for a year. Marylou Mateja is a sculptor whose pottery animals are so lifelike that children will come up to pet the rabbit and the crow. Ann Marie Whitmore makes beautiful impressions in her pottery pieces by pressing antique lace into the clay. “You can make a family heirloom by asking her to use a piece of your great-grandmother’s antique lace. The lace will be fine. Different pieces of lace will make different designs,” Munger tells me. Susan Galloway of Blue Eagle Ceramics started the Clay Working program at McHenry County College. Hironobu ‘Nishi’ Nishitateno was born and raised in Japan. He has a degree in economics and studied pottery at the Kagoshima Technical Arts Center. He immigrated to the United States and established Nanten Pottery in Illinois. He has been selected to contribute pieces to national exhibitions and has been honored with several awards of ‘Best in Show’ and ‘First Place in Ceramics.’ Ben Rosenfield grew up in Pleasant Ridge outside of Cincinnati, Ohio. “My grandmother was known for her baking. You will find baking items such as mixing spoons, bowls and sugar frogs in my work.” I learned much more about each of the artists displaying their work. “We’re not going to favor any artist over another,” Rosenfield tells me. A number of artists have brought different cultural influences such as German, Japanese, Mexican, Scottish/Irish, into their work. You can learn more about these artists and bring their artwork into your everyday life or give items as gifts at the Clayworkers' Guild of Illinois Annual Holiday Sale. The display will be open daily until January 7, from 11:00 am until 5:00 pm, Saturdays from 10:00 am – 7:00 pm and Sundays 10:00 am until 5:00 pm. The show will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. www.clayworkersguild.com or on Facebook at Clayworkers’ Guild of Illinois. •