Tucked away in the northwestern Illinois hillside, Galena Clay Works is a hidden gem. Featuring the art of local potter Kent Henderson, this shop is a destination that you won’t want to miss.
Henderson has been creating pottery in Galena since 1984, when he rented out a space from local potter and friend, Charles Fach. That location, called Artist’s Annex, served as Henderson’s studio until 1992, when he moved to his current location on Dewey Avenue, in the historic Old Town district.
Henderson’s journey in pottery began when he took a ceramics class at the University of Northern Iowa, where he attended college. There, he found he had a true passion for working with clay, and spent many nights in the studio
honing his skills. By the end of his college career, he had taken all the classes possible for ceramics. “At the end of my college career, I had taken over 27 hours of ceramics class,” he explained. Eventually, he took a studio class, in which they gave him the keys to the studio, and the freedom to experiment with his work.
He discovered Galena on an impromptu weekend road trip with a friend, a Galena native. They visited in winter, and Henderson remembers looking out on the glistening snow covered hills, and thinking “Man, what a beautiful area.”
Inspired by the beautiful scenery and quaint rural charm of Galena, Henderson moved here to have his own studio and business. What he also