I’ve always been curious about the building on the corner of Washington and Persimmon, across the street from the old Fleming Potter building that has the sign, “The Mill” hanging on it. I’ve driven by it many times and I’ve always meant to investigate what was in there, but I’d go get a sandwich, then I’d check my email, change my socks, trim my fingernails and before you knew it, months had gone by and I still didn’t know what was going on in that damned building! I knew it wasn’t operating as The Mill anymore and recently I found out at least one business that’s in operation in there and it’s the Wheel Art Pottery Studios. I just trimmed my fingernails yesterday and I changed my socks about three hours ago, so I now have plenty of time to go and check that out, so let’s go take a look at it. Shall we? We shall...we shall! Well, whatever...let’s go.
This building with the sign that says, “The Mill.” I called yesterday and was told that the Wheel Art Pottery Studios are located in the back of the building, so we’ll go up the sidewalk and check it out, there’s a sign telling us to turn left. That’s pretty handy, but then there’s another one saying to go this way and now I’m a little dizzy, but we’ll continue down this alley and see what we find down here...
Wow, look at it in here! It’s all lit-up and magical looking! There’s the co-owner of Wheel Art Pottery studios, Jacob with Cleo, The Wonder Pup! Jacob’s a ceramic artist and potter and he’s been in business here since 2012. He co-owns and runs the business with his wife, Mercy and they have three kids that help out as well. In addition to being able to buy really great, one-of-a-kind pottery and ceramic creations in here, there’s a lot more going on and we’ll find out about that as we move along, so let’s keep going!
These are the kilns that the ceramics and pottery are fired up in. The cylinders are electric and the brick fireplace looking one operates on gas. Jacob explained a lot more to me, but I didn’t write it down and now I can’t remember all of it. Hey, if you want to find out how this stuff works, you go ask him, do I always have to do all the work? Sheesh!
All the art, ceramics and pottery are really amazing and beautiful in here, let’s take a look at some of it on display in the front showroom here.
This work is really impressive. If you’re interested in creating art like this, there’s workshops, classes and memberships available here at Wheel Art Pottery. There’s also date nights that you can sign up for, you can have birthday parties and other events in here and there’s the monthly First Friday celebration in here this week. Jacob was one of the pioneers in the whole Peoria First Friday phenomenon, so you should really stop by and at least thank him for getting that going here in P-town!
Here’s a table devoted to the work of Jocelyn Follis, a 14-year-old artist who attends Dunlap High School. Jocelyn has been studying pottery and art for seven years and is also a photographer. Very cool that Jacob is shining the spotlight on her work in the front space!
This is a shot from the back of the front room, I thought this was the whole place, but Jacob told me there’s more to see in here...
Right beyond this door marked, “Studio.” But before we go through there, let’s take a moment and let Cleo take a look at my newly clipped fingernails. Okay, she’s suitably impressed, so let’s continue this tour!
Wow, this is the studio and work area and it’s huge back here! The workshops and classes take place in this space and if you’re a member you can come in and work back here.
I love the murals on the walls back here! Jacob said he outlined the work and artists and summer camp kids painted it. And check out that mosaic in the bathroom, Mercy did that one and it’s so cool!
Artists also have studios in here and this is one of them. Very nice space, in fact it’s bigger than my apartment, I may look into moving the whole MBIP World Headquarters down here! All I need is some paintbrushes!
This is Jacob’s work area, where he creates his art. In addition to running Wheel Art Pottery with his wife Mercy, he also creates art for private and business installations. He’s installed his art in Disney World in Florida, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington D.C. and this ceramic butterfly is going to be put up in Fondulac Library in East Peoria in the next couple of weeks.
Well, it looks like Cleo has grown weary of my fingernails and my visit, so I’ll take that hint and hit the road. You definitely should check out Wheel Art Pottery Studios and the perfect time to do that would be this week’s First Friday event, you can read more about that here. Thanks to Jacob and Cleo for a fun tour! We’ll see you all tomorrow!
Wheel Art Pottery Studios
1101 SW Washington Street (In the back of the building, look for the signs or call for directions)