Fox Valley Ceramics Expert Shares Talents Her Classes Teach, Provide Valuable Social Interaction

Article excerpt

Leona Richards has been turning out ceramic masterpieces for nearly two decades, but hardly any of the one-of-a-kind works decorate her home.

"I don't have the pieces very long before one of my children or grandchildren says they just have to have it," she said. "They snap them up pretty quickly."

Richards hand-paints and glazes ceramic pieces of all shapes and sizes - everything from pheasants to angels to vases and planters at the Dundee Township Senior Center every Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon.

Guided by former ceramics store owner Marie Jessogne, even students who have never dabbled in art create professional-looking pieces at the weekly sessions.

"It's a nice class," said Pat Ford of Carpentersville. "It's relaxing and you get to see a finished product when you're done. It's a lot of fun. And Marie's a good teacher. She's very patient."

Jessogne has a lot of experience being both patient and artistic. She's a mother to 11 children between the ages of 20 and 40 years old and she owned Midwest Ceramics in Carpentersville for many years. She later moved the store to Elgin and eventually closed it, but she never gave up the art of ceramics.

Six weeks of Jessogne's classes cost just $12 and the ceramic pieces, which Jessogne pours into molds and fires herself, range in price from 50 cents to $20. The price for firing the piece is half the cost of the item. The glazes and paints are paid for by the park district. …