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Slowfire Art Studio FAQ's

  • What do we teach?
    We offer classes in mediums such as painting, drawing, fibers, ceramics, wheel throwing and digital fabrication.
  • What ages do we teach?
    3-100! We teach art to all ages!
  • Where are you located?
    We have a 1000 sq ft studio at 907 S Lombard Avenue, Oak Park and we have an 800 sq ft studio at 634 Carpenter Avenue, Oak Park. 634 Carpenter: The Carpenter studio is the built out art studio at Noelle's home. It has its own entrance and there is no access to the house from the studio. Carpenter is ages 10+ ceramics only. Carpenter has 8 wheels, a large slab roller, extruder, variety of tools, shelving, kiln, dedicated utility sink with trap, and a dedicated bathroom. 907 S Lombard: Lombard hosts a variety of classes as well as our events and parties. Lombard has 10 wheels, a slab roller, kiln, an extruder, a printing press, easels, a variety of tools, and more! It is next door to Buzz Cafe.
  • Do you teach art at any other locations?
    We teach art classes at many schools in the area, such as Mann, The Children’s School, Whittier, Beye, Lincoln River Forest, and Willard River Forest. We teach ceramics at Brookdale Senior Center in Oak Park. We offer free senior art classes at Oak Park Township.
  • What do classes cover?
    We teach real art fundamentals and help students learn or develop their chosen medium. We refine technique and encourage creative and conceptual thinking.
  • What level should I enroll in?
    Feel free to contact us if you are unsure. Typically, we have such small class sizes that Beginner-Intermediate covers a wide range of abilities.
  • When/what age can my child begin to learn the ceramics wheel?
    We start teaching students the wheel around ages 9-10. The wheel requires a person to be big enough to sit at it and reach, as well as engage the pedal correctly. You can easily break a finger on a wheel; it is not a toy. It requires significant coordination and the ability to follow a lot of directions. Please don’t send your child to a class designated 9/10+ if they are not yet that age. A wheel is also a very expensive piece of machinery and needs to be treated with respect.
  • Do you offer ceramics memberships?
    We have a pilot program starting in March and then will have a more robust program starting in September!
  • Do you offer a drop in studio time?
    No, we do not. We offer 6-8 week classes.
  • Do you offer paint-your-own bisque drop in hours?
    No, we do not. We are an art education center, not a craft center.
  • How can I find information for enrollment?
    All of our available classes and camps are posted online! If you have questions after looking at our online listings, please feel free to email us
  • Can you host my party, event, girl scouts troop, block party, or team building event?
    Absolutely! Check out our Art Parties page. We can even bring the party to you in our very own Slowfire mobile art van. You can also fill out this request form:
  • Do you offer private lessons?
    If we have teacher availability and space, we can offer a private lesson. Please reach out to us to inquire about pricing and teacher availability.
  • What do I need to bring to class at Slowfire Art Studio?
    An open mind! Ceramics students should bring an apron and towel. All other materials will be provided at the studio unless otherwise noted.
  • Why are ceramics so expensive?
    Ceramics require a significant amount of machinery and equipment (wheels, slab roller, extruder, pug mill, and kilns). It also requires a significant amount of outside labor beyond the instructional time. Some of our outside duties include the following: Curriculum planning Setting up the classroom and cleaning thoroughly (typically takes 45 min to clean up after a class) Recycling all the clay that doesn’t get processed through the kilns Loading and unloading kilns ( this is a careful process whereby we stack shelves each time we load the kiln and then break it down to unload it) Each piece gets fired at least twice. Monitoring work drying and ensuring it doesn’t crack Electricity for the kilns Cost of clay, tools, equipment and glaze chemistry Making our own custom glazes ( a 5 gallon bucket of glaze can cost upwards of $300)
  • What is the Slowfire Art Foundation?
    We believe in art for all! We provide scholarships to folks in need of economic assistance to take our classes and we provide free programming for senior citizens. Feel free to submit a scholarship application. Please also consider a donation via our website. We are a 501c3 organization.
  • Why Slowfire?
    Noelle coined this term because making art is typically a slow, meditative process and a lifelong journey. The fire refers to the spark that lights the creative process, as well as the practical application of firing ceramics in a kiln.
  • What makes Slowfire Art Studio special?
    We stay dedicated to small class sizes and low student to teacher ratios. We strive hard to create community and a safe, supportive learning environment for all. We are an LGBTQIA+ space and we support neurodivergent learners.
  • How did Slowfire Art Studio begin?
    Slowfire began as private art lessons by Noelle Allen in 2020 in her home art studio.
  • Who is Noelle?
    Noelle is a tenured professor of sculpture and ceramics at Dominican University in River Forest and the chair of the Art Department and has been teaching at the college level since 2005. Noelle has two sons and a supportive husband. Originally from California, Noelle holds a degree from Smith College and an MFA from School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
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