Stacey Pottery Studio

"A fun place to play and learn!"

About Us

The "Potter in Charge", Stacey McDonald, came to Rockford in 2006, and settled in Davis IL in 2008. She was a First Aid/CPR instructor for 20 years before coming to IL. It is her community teaching experience and her love of clay that have combined to make her a successful pottery instructor in the Rockford area.  She is grateful to Scott McDonald for sharing his business acumen and giving her the time and space to develop her clay hobby into a passion and subsequently into a business.

She discovered Womanspace in Rockford IL shortly after arriving in the area. Stacey became a regular nuisance around the ceramic studio until Elaine Hirshenberger let her recycle clay and teach beginner pottery classes. That relationship continues today albeit with more teaching and less clay recycling.  Womanspace has been the primary inspiration for Stacey to open her own teaching studio.

In 2012, Stacey took a class from Nishi on making Japanese style teapots and bought her first wheel so she could repeatedly fail in private.  

Nishi" NishitatenoHironobu "Nishi" NishitaHironobu "Nishi" NishitatenoHironobu "Nish" Niishitatenoteno


In 2015 and 2016, she took Ceramics I and II from Lynn Fischer at Rock Valley College. She has been a continuing education pottery instructor at RVC since 2016.

Stacey also teaches the Lifelong Learning pottery class at Highland Community College in Freeport IL. 

She is always learning, attending workshops, reading and watching online videos to improve her craft. While primarily a functional potter, she also has competency in sculptural and tile work with clay. Her focus is on teaching, but she does do small runs of studio pottery for sale and occasionally does a craft sale when the opportunity arises.

Stacey could not do what she does without her partner, Tony Gray, doing what he does. Tony has many titles, "Carrier of Heavy Things", "Potter Care and Feeding", "Pottery Wrangler", "Salesman", and"Navigator Gray". He's the hippie dude you will see but likely will not hear around the studio, he quietly makes the potter's life better in every way.

Stacey not only has a strong set of teaching skills,  she also has an evolving philosophy about clay and the role it plays in our modern lives. She grapples with our material culture that clearly doesn't need more "things". What she teaches and what is made in the studio has to be about more than the end product. On that topic she has this to say:

"Working with clay is a hands-on skill in a world that, for many of us, is increasingly digital. It offers such diversity of expression that an artist, hobbyist or craftsperson can continue developing ideas indefinitely. The satisfaction from mastering a skill, of producing work that is both beautiful and well made, is the value of pottery today. It is fun, social, challenging, and a wonderful way to relax.

I have noticed that clay doesn't put up with a lot of small talk. Clay brings us together to share what is real within ourselves and our lives. The clay studio becomes a home of sorts for many of us, a unique social place where you cannot be anything but who you are with clay on your hands (and face). 

The Stacey Pottery Studio is a place of acceptance,  inclusiveness and kindness. We encourage everyone to walk through the door with an open mind and to embrace both what is the same and what is different in everyone present. The culture of the studio will be created and evolve to include anyone in the community who wants to participate.

In this small way, I hope to share a vision of how the world at large could be if we all worked together to be the best humankind can be."