Loveland Mayor Kathy Bailey proclaimed June a month of celebration honoring the 10 year anniversary of Tim O’Grady and Kay Bolin-O’Grady opening Whistle Stop Clay Works pottery studio in Loveland

By Chuck Gibson

 LOVELAND, OH (June 11, 2020) – Rain was falling, but rays of bright sunshine shone brightly on Tim O’Grady and Kay Bolin-O’Grady as they stood outside the Whistle Stop Clay Works (WSCW) pottery studio Wednesday, June 10, 2020 listening to Loveland Mayor Kathy Bailey proclaim June a month of celebration to honor the 10 year anniversary of the first pottery class held at WSCW.

Loveland Mayor Kathy Bailey reads proclamation recognizing Whistle Stop Clay Works and owners Tim O’Grady and Kay Bolin-O’Grady and manager Bonnie McNett (Chuck Gibson) 

It was 10 years ago to the day, on June 10, 2010 that Missy McCormick taught the first pottery class in the Whistle Stop Clay Works pottery studio on Harrison Avenue right off S.R. 48 in a building purchased and refurbished by Tim and Kay just one year earlier. Both were part of the Loveland Arts Council at the time and shared a vision for enhancing the concept of art in the Loveland community. Tim envisioned a studio for the “dirty arts” – glassblowing, welding, ceramic sculpture, and pottery which require “dirty” elements of water and clay while the Arts Council Studios on Main were primarily clean arts of painting and photography.

“Loveland was becoming well known as an art community thanks to the Arts Council and Loveland Art Show,” said Kay Bolin-O’Grady. “We wanted something to contribute to art and to help the community.”

Ten years later the City of Loveland mayor and members of council seemed to have confirmed their success. Among many “Whereas’” and “Hereby’s” in the proclamation read by Mayor Bailey Wednesday they recognized the benefit to students of all ages to develop art skills and the many events and contributions to the community which have come from WSCW.

City of Loveland Official Proclamation of June 2020 as a month of celebration honoring the 10 year anniversary of Whistle Stop Clay Works (Provided) 

“It is a treasure, not just for our city, but for others coming to our city because it is so well known,” said Bailey. “It seems like a place of home and comfort when people talk about Whistle Stop Clay Works.”

Bailey credits the success to Tim, Kay and WSCW manager Bonnie McNett and what they’ve created. It is certainly a unique facility – formerly an oil company building – and a unique business not found in many other communities.

“We’re lucky to have it,” Bailey said. We’re proud to have them here and call them community partners.”

Reaching back in his memory banks to that June 10, 2010 day when the vision for a pottery studio first became reality, Tim recalled the start as an “act of love” to create something he, Kay and Missy McCormick loved to do.  

(Missy was the first pottery instructor at WSCW) Tim and Kay were retired and not looking to make money, but rather something they were interested in which would pay for itself.

“It is much better,” said Tim. “Now, with Bonnie’s help it makes enough to support Bonnie and give us a little payback. We would like to see it continue and prosper. I think it is a really important asset to the Loveland community.”

Left to right Bonnie McNett (WSCW), Loveland Mayor Kathy Bailey, Kay Bolin-O’Grady, Tim O’Grady (WSCW owners) & Cee Cee Collins LMRCA during proclamation presentation Wednesday, June 10, 2020 at Whistle Stop Clay Works (Chuck Gibson) 

McNett knows everybody who comes through the door by name. It is great to recognize them. It means a lot to them to be recognized. While she admits they are a busy business, she says they are never too busy for any member of their pottery family.  It is a place where people can express themselves honestly through clay.

“It’s unlike most other businesses,” McNett said. “It sort of feels like home for people who come here. It’s a place where they can be who they are. It just kind of feels real homey. I think we keep doing what we’re doing and listening to what people who come here want.”

The mayor handed off the official City of Loveland Proclamation to Tim and Kay as WSCW manager Bonnie McNett looked on along with members of council Tim Butler and Kent Blair and City Manger David Kennedy.

Also on hand to offer congratulations from the Little Miami River Chamber Alliance during the celebration was Cee Cee Collins. 

Loveland City Council members Kent Blair and Tim Butler look on during presentation of proclamation at Whistle Stop Clay Works Wednesday, June 10, 2020 in Loveland, Ohio (Chuck Gibson)

“It is so heartwarming to us,” Kay Boliin-O’Grady said. “The proclamation means a lot. The comment people come here like their home, that means more than paper. The Mayor’s comment, it’s our paycheck. That kind of thanks is our paycheck!”


Click here to visit Whistle Stop Clay Works online.