In a basement studio in the Central West End, Sandra Zak is once again doing what she set out to do when she went to college more than 30 years ago.

"I have a BFA in art with a concentration in ceramics," she says.

But like if often does, life got in the way and she went to work doing something else and then a few years ago when she wrapped up her career at Soulard Farmer's Market she started to mold what was next.

"My husband said to me didn't you go to art school? And I said yes I did and he said why don't you take a class."

So she did and it all came back to her rather quickly. She dabbled for a bit and four years ago her handmade pottery became her full time job.

"I try to do real functional work," she explains.

Coffee mugs, plates, trays and platters.

"I love that everything that I make you can use. It doesn't just go on a shelf and look pretty."

Even though all of her clay creations are pretty and could stand alone as a center piece. They aren't just what she imagines people want, but what people say they want.

"I was making all of my mugs exactly the same and what happened was people were like this mug, but I like my mugs bigger or that's too big my coffee gets cold I like my mug smaller."

She now has mugs with handles and cups with a simple indention.

"So I have a real variety in my mugs so that people can sort of get what they like the best,"

She like her dinnerware set is a work in progress

"I still haven't perfected the bowl," she points out.

But Sandra Zak should be a reminder to all of us not to give up on what we thought we'd be or what we still can be.

You can see Sandra's stuff in person this weekend at Art on the Square in Belleville. It opens Friday night at 5 and will continue Saturday and Sunday.

You can also check out Zak Pottery on Facebook and if you're interested in a piece send her a private message. You can also send her an email to