Claire Willis is an artist and educator living in Deerfield, IL. Her devotion to pottery first emerged when she attended a teen workshop at the Rochester Folk Art Guild at the age of sixteen. Her subsequent experience working as an apprentice with Annie Schliffer sparked her interest in local materials and traditions, and led her to work with potters in Alabama, Mexico, and Massachusetts.
The birth of her son in 2009 propelled her to delve into Montessori education and attain her Early Childhood certification and work as a classroom teacher. Her pottery work during this time ranged from facilitating sensory clay exploration for young toddlers, designing a clay curriculum for early childhood children, and later building a pottery studio from the ground up with adolescents as part of their farm business operations. During this time she also taught occasional adult pottery classes at her local community center.
In January 2021, Claire embarked on a new adventure bringing her experience in Montessori education together with her love of pottery with the creation of her own studio business in the back patio of her suburban home, Claire Willis Pottery LLC. Through this venture, she is able to offer lessons and workshops for all ages, as well as opportunities to work and learn through apprenticeship.
I have a deep appreciation of the rich traditions of pottery and their relationship to spontaneous, individual expression. I am inspired by the serenity of nature and the rhythms of life inherent in the process of creating with clay, and look to pass on this joy and appreciation to my students and those who use my pottery pieces in their daily lives.
Interested in commissioning a custom piece? Get in touch with me through our Contact form.
Meet our studio assistant
Molly Block is a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago studying weaving, drawing, film, and education. As an intern with the Studio in the fall of 2021, she learned about the processes of pottery and was exposed to an interdisciplinary approach to teaching in the arts. Since completing the internship, Molly has taught multiple programs at the Chicago Academy for the Arts. In the spring of 2022, Molly took a natural dyes course at the SAIC and began studying horticulture at the College of Lake County. These experiences have inspired Molly to incorporate more raw materials in her practice and deeply consider the relationship between materials and contemporary art making.
Molly will teach alongside Claire this fall and continue to expose students to the joy of pottery and its rich traditions.
Apart from her artistic practice, Molly enjoys cooking, spending time outdoors, crochet/knitting, and birdwatching.