If you’re looking for refuge from the heat (or the rain) look no further than Penguin Foot Pottery. This is not your average pottery painting place for kids (although we love those as well). This is a real potter’s studio on Armitage, where the kids make their own objects out of clay and then return to glaze them. Penguin Foot welcomes kids during their daily kid’s clay hours, which are posted on their website. I recently brought Big, Middle & Little, and we had an absolute blast. The fun started in simply finding the place. The address is 2514 W Armitage, but don’t be fooled, you don’t enter on Armitage. The entrance is on Bingham (which is also where you’ll find street parking). Ring the bell and you’ll be buzzed into the warehouse looking building. The studio is on the first floor.
We were immediately greeted by Chris, the owner. He explained that the kids can choose to work on the pottery wheel which is what we did, or you can choose to hand build. The latter is a great option for those kids that aren’t tall enough or lack the coordination in working the wheel. But let me tell you that the wheel holds a lot of appeal. Little definitely gave it her best shot before settling down at the table to make clay figures by hand.
The boys and I were hysterical with the wheel. Chris sat with us and explained how to prepare the wheel, how to throw the clay down and how to begin to sculpt it. Well, let me just say that while Middle might someday be a professional potter there’s no chance of that happening with Big and me. Chris was unbelievably patient with us and managed to hide his smiles when Big’s pot fell apart for the third time. Middle made a number of fairly impressive pots and bowls. Big even managed, on his 4th attempt, to create a cool looking bowl. Me, I came away with nothing that was worthy of going in the kiln, but I have great memories of laughing away the afternoon with the kids.
Once you’ve made your projects you leave them to be fired and then in two weeks time you can return to glaze them.
If you’re looking for a great way to escape the heat, bond with the kids, and you don’t mind getting dirty (just don’t wear white jeans like I did) then visit Penguin Foot. Afterwards, head down the block to Margie’s Candies for a celebratory ice cream!
- Wheel throwing drop in is $25/hr per person. Each person is able to keep up to two pieces which they’ll fire and you can return to glaze the piece.
- Hand building drop in is typically $22/project. Larger projects may include an added fee for extra material. Projects typically take 45min- hour to complete.
- There will be an instructor on hand to guide and assist new students.
Penguin Foot Pottery 2514 W. Armitage Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647