Jacqueline Roller

Owner

Pottery became a therapeutic and creative outlet for me during a dark time in my life in 2005. It was in the studio that I could find my sanctuary away from the painful parts of my life; a space for me to process my emotions with my hands. I found belonging there.

I graduated from North Central College in 2012 with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Studio Art. By that time pottery had become more than just a creative outlet, but an identifying part of who I was. After college I lost access to a studio until 2017, when I took a part-time job at a local park district near where I lived at the time teaching pottery classes when I wasn't working full-time and pursuing my Life Coaching Certification. This moment in time brought me so much joy; to work once again with the medium that helped me best express myself and to be deepening an understanding of who I was and how to help others connect deeply with themselves as well.

Taking a new full-time job a few months later meant my schedule had less flexibility. I painfully had to say goodbye to pottery once again. The dream of opening my own community studio became more persistent. After many passionate conversations, my dad agreed to help me build the studio as long as I wrote the business plan. When he suddenly passed away in August of 2018, grief took over for a long time.

At the encouragement of my partner I enrolled in a 6-week pottery class at the same park district I'd previously taught at in the spring of 2022. A few weeks later his mom and step-dad generously agreed to allow me to build a pottery studio in one of their barns. We promptly got to work clearing space and researching equipment. By August I had my very own modest pottery studio in Ottawa, IL. Six months later I quit my full-time job to focus all my energy on bringing my dream to life.

Grateful Clay represents the gratitude I have towards an art form that has repeatedly allowed me to thrive when I thought I'd be consumed by darkness. It also represents the gratitude I have to those who have believed in my dream alongside me, and have done all they could to support me in bringing it to life.

One year after I threw my first pot in the barn, our humble pottery studio now has seven wheels and the doors have been opened for classes and events. We are still working hard as ever to create more space and more opportunities for people of all ages to come together to find community, foster healing, and explore their creativity through clay.