After transporting many loads of pottery
to Chicago, the Fachs were looking for a new market as well as a place to live.
In 1971 Fach and his wife purchased the City Brewery building and moved to Galena.
With the community and tourism industry in Galena, they found their new home.
When it comes to his artwork, Fach creates a full array of products.
He says, “You can submerse yourself into a particular facet of the art, but sometimes you become fatigued and need a break. You go to a different endeavor to refresh yourself.”
Fach describes this artistic process as a circle that never ends.
Fach uses many unique techniques to
create his pieces.
For his bronze works, he uses the traditional lost wax technique by first creating a wax replica of the original sculpture and encasing it in order to create a mold.
The mold is then placed in the a kiln and fired until the wax is burnt out of the mold. From that point, molten bronze is poured into
Stone House Pottery & Gallery is located at 418 Spring St, US 20, Galena.
Abe’s Spring Street Guest House is located at 414 Spring St, US 20, Galena.
For more information, call 815-777-0354 or visit stonehouse potterygalena.com
the newly-formed mold.
Once the bronze is cooled and set, the mold is broken away and the bronze casting is further worked on through the processes of cutting, grinding, welding and polishing.
His pottery is one of a kind in both its process and appearance.
Multiple techniques are used, including hand sculpting, spinning on a potter’s wheel and casting a piece in order to make multiples.
For glaze, Fach creates his own using a variety of raw materials, minerals and crystals. He also uses low fire glazes, bristol glazes and occasionally does raku firing technique.
Fach puts a lot of emphasis on creativity, and enjoys the mystery of it, going along the journey from the starting point to the end product.
“It is important to partake in that mystery. It’s when things fall together,” said Fach.
He is constantly taking in inspiration from all that is around him. Fach explained, “Cloud patterns, nature, surroundings. You have to see this life all around you, and sense the miracle of life.”
He looks to other’s work as well, including the big names in painting, architecture and sculpture.
“It is good to see good work. It exudes a great presence,” Fach said.
In the community, Fach’s talents have been greatly appreciated in recognizing history.
One project that he has consistently been working on are steins commemorating the nine Civil War generals who resided in Galena. So far, he has five generals completed and completes a new general annually.
A recent project he completed was the creation of fire pumper centerpieces for an annual Galena Fire Department event.
“I accepted the challenge, and I can’t tell you where the idea came from, but it developed into a vase,” said Fach.
Fach is also a large supporter of the arts in the community, and hosts open studio hours on weekends for visitors to watch him create.
Stone House Pottery: The history
A labor of love has gone into their properties as the brewery has been transformed into a gallery space with a beautiful patio and area for Fach’s kiln and foundry. An ode to its previous purpose can be seen in the hops, barley and beer barrel tiles that Fach designed and created for the entryway flooring.
The building next door, which previously served as the icehouse, has been renovated into Abe’s Spring Street Guesthouse, where visitors can stay to enjoy a Galena getaway.
The next building over, the Artists’ Annex is located where the primary ferment and grain storage area resided, but now serves as studio space.
In this building, Fach creates his own works of art, as well as assists others through his Glaze and Graze program.
Participants glaze an entire set of dinnerware, Fach fires the ceramics in the kiln overnight, and the next day participants are served a catered dinner on their newly-fired dishes.
Throughout his artistic career, Fach has created hundreds of breathtaking products, but most importantly, he has been doing what he loves and has been sharing that with others.
“I have absolutely no regrets on what I choose to do. I’ve always felt that when you have a mystical occurrence with creativity, you have dipped into something greater than you are. It’s mystic and exciting,” said Fach.
His advice to others is simple: “Make things better than how you found them.”