Woman’s skills making ceramics opened a new door

Jeannette Mitchell runs Jaye’s Ceramics.

By her own admission, Jeannette Mitchell had to be dragged “kicking and screaming” into her first ceramics class, but once she got there, she never wanted to leave.

“My friend kept pestering me to go to a class, and I said I’d go to one just so she’d never bring it up again,” Mitchell said. “Well, it turns out you can’t take just one. Soon I was going three or four times a week.”

Mitchell’s love of ceramic sculpture had stretched four decades. The 78-year-old Trotwood woman continues to run her own shop, Jaye’s Ceramics.

What they do: Mitchell, with the assistance of daughter-in-law Lynn Passineau, creates ceramic ornaments, sculptures and decorative pieces. All the pieces are poured, cooked and hand painted on-site and sold exclusively at Jaye’s shop or at arts and crafts show that the pair attends.

How it started: Mitchell said she fell in love with making ceramics because she viewed them as challenges to overcome.

“There was always some new to try and master,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell soon began making ceramic ornaments and display pieces for family (always in triplicate to appease both her mom and her aunts). Working at Elder-Beerman’s in the 70s, Mitchell’s burgeoning talents were noticed by some of the other employees who begged her to help them learn the craft.

Mitchell’s house soon became filled with ceramic projects she was working on or helping others with until her exasperated husband demanded she get her own shop. And thus Jaye’s was opened in 1977, more than 35 years ago.

New developments: Jaye’s newest innovation — one that has taken off in popularity, Mitchell said — is ceramic footballs and basketballs. These life-size and ultra-realistic pieces are carved with a personalized message, anything from rooting on a favorite sports team to supporting individual players. Mitchell said she can make about six a day and they sell for $20.

Contact and purchase information: Pieces are priced on a per item basis. Jaye’s Ceramics is located at 110 E. Main St., Trotwood, and is open from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and by appointment. The shop can be reached at (937) 837-1010.