Late in the summer of 2016, a unique space for creativity quietly opened its doors in Woodford County. That’s when an old potting shed outside of Deb Wiechmann’s home found new life as Potting Shed Art Studio, transformed by the local artist into a charming workspace offering classes and activities for adults and children. “I think there was a need for it out in this area,” she explains. “There just wasn’t much like that here in Metamora and Germantown Hills.”
Built around 1950, the small outbuilding needed some TLC, so the roof, windows and dirt floor were replaced and the interior paneled with aged hardwood that was milled on the property, enhancing the rustic effect. The space is cozy but accommodates 16 people; for larger events, the walkout basement/patio can handle as many as 50.
Besides weekly “Mom & Tot” and afterschool art classes, the Potting Shed offers “Pop In & Paint” events and Saturday-morning “Paint & Play” sessions. It hosts book clubs and church groups, sessions for Girl Scouts, birthday parties and other special events—plus a summer camp for kids and a fall bazaar featuring local artists and vendors.
Nestled in the woods, classes at the Potting Shed often incorporate nature into the artistic experience. Most kids’ classes include an outdoor activity; treasure hunting in the fairy garden is a particular favorite. There’s also a playhouse and even friendly critters to interact with, including a puppy, goldfish, tortoise, and a pair of tree frogs. The studio stays warm in the winter, offering story times, puppet shows and games to keep the kids busy while they wait for their projects to dry.
Wiechmann runs the space with the help of her daughter and fellow artist, Niccole Maloney. “This was our first year, so everything we’ve done has been a little experimental as we figure out what works,” she notes. “It’s been great, but it keeps me busier than I thought it would!”
Excited for the coming year, Wiechmann hopes to add a pathway down to the wooded gully and stream. “We really enjoy it—it’s kind of a little hidden gem,” she explains. “And the nice thing is we get to do it here at home.” a&s
For more information, visit pottingshedartstudioil.blogspot.com or find them on Facebook.
Photograph courtesy of Chris McGuire Photography