Playing with clay is A-OK at new Paxton art studio

PAXTON — The Clay Corner, as owner Tammy Seggebruch says, is not just another paint-your-own pottery shop.

It’s also a place where Seggebruch’s award-winning artistic talents are put on display, with a show room full of her unique pottery creations and watercolor paintings available for purchase. Other artists are also welcome to place their work in the retail shop on a consignment basis.

But there’s much more.

Classes are offered, on an appointment basis, in watercolor and pottery-making. And visiting artists will be leading classes in other subjects — including oil painting and acrylic painting — at least once a month.

Of course, with any paint-your-own pottery shop, there is studio time available, as well, wherein a person can use Seggebruch’s space to pursue any craft project they want, with no instruction.

The Clay Corner, 204 E. Pells St., has been a big hit in the Paxton community since Seggebruch, a rural Onarga resident, officially opened it on Jan. 1. It is the first shop owned and operated by Seggebruch, who has done pottery making and watercolor painting for about 20 years as a hobby, sometimes selling her work at craft shows.

“My kids are all bigger, and I’ve always wanted to do this, so now I have the opportunity because everybody is big, grown up, left home and Grandma’s got time on her hands,” Seggebruch said.

So far, the shop has been used quite a bit. Birthday parties have been held there. And students in Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School’s Art League recently visited the shop, as have local preschoolers.

“It has taken off,” Seggebruch said. “After the preschoolers came in, some of them bugged the (heck) out of their parents until they came back. ... And I see a lot of grandparents come in with their grandkids. It was really kind of cool — I had a bowl back there (that someone constructed) and flipped it over, and it said, ‘Mom and Me’ and the date. That’s what it’s all about, ya know.”

Studio time
The Clay Corner is open for studio time on Wednesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

During studio time, people can make their own pottery and paint it, or they can buy any of the pre-made pottery for sale in the retail side of the shop and paint it. If making their own pottery, people must buy the clay from Seggebruch, as “some clay fires differently than others” and it is important how it reacts in the kiln, Seggebruch said. The clay costs $6 per pound, with the cost covering the firing process and any glazes used.

People can also work with watercolors during studio time, with all supplies provided by Seggebruch. Stencils and stamps are available for use, as well.

“To come in and use the facility, it’s $7,” Seggebruch said.

Course offerings
Seggebruch teaches classes in both pottery making and watercolor painting.

“I do pottery on the wheel, handbuilding pottery and watercolor,” she said, noting the classes are taught on an appointment basis.

To make an appointment, call 815-867-7035 or email

The cost depends on the class. Watercolor classes cost about $45 or $50 per person, while pottery wheel classes cost $25 per person, which includes 2 1/2 pounds of clay and all paint supplies needed. The maximum number of persons in each class is three for the wheel classes — which usually take about two hours per person — and “as many as I can fit in here” for the watercolor classes.

In the classes, Seggebruch demonstrates the proper method for each craft, then asks the student to perform that same task. In the wheel classes, “I’ll sit down and complete a step, and then they’ll sit down and complete that step,” Seggebruch said.

The course offerings might be expanded to include “glass slumping and fusing” in the near future, she said.

“That’s when you take different pieces of glass and fuse them together in a kiln and then you can slump them over a mold and make a bowl or a plate or something like that,” Seggebruch said.

Special classes led by visiting artists are also offered on a monthly basis.

The first such class, an oil painting class taught by Nancy Ford Young of Roodhouse, Ill., begins this weekend. Two sessions will be offered — from 1:30 to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 6, and from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Monday, March 7. The cost is $45 per person and includes all materials.

“So it’s going to be other artists other than me in here,” Seggebruch said. “I wanted to try to get a wide variety of things going on in here, like oil painting, acrylic painting — any kind of activities and stuff where other artists can come in and do things.”

For the love of art
Seggebruch has always enjoyed art, she said, and has always been, “halfway, I think, OK at it.”

“It’s provided relaxation and comfort to me over the years,” she said.

For the most part, she is self-taught.

“I did take a pottery class at Parkland (College) and a watercolor class at Parkland, but that was after I was established as far as that goes,” she said. “When I was taking the watercolor classes at Parkland, I had already won honorable mention, out of 8,000 entries, in (a contest in) the American Artist Magazine. That was probably 16 years ago.

“And then, once I kind of got watercolor mastered, if I’d win money at art events, I would usually buy pottery. So my husband bought me a pottery wheel for Christmas (about 20 years ago), and I just started in (on it).”

Seggebruch said she enjoys sculpting more than watercolor painting because the options are so unlimited.
Working with clay, Seggebruch has sculpted some unique items, including her “face jugs” that she sells on e-Bay.

“They bring hundreds of dollars,” she said. “I’ve sold one for $500; I’ve sold one for $40, so anywhere in between.”

Seggebruch makes “wall pockets,” too, which hang on a wall and are used to hold flowers. She showed one of her creations that looks remarkably like bark from a birch tree.

“I get a kick out of craft shows because people go up and touch them, and they’re like, ‘Is that real wood?’” Seggebruch said with a laugh.


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danny12 wrote on May 05, 2016 at 9:05 am

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