Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: classes

Just finished subbing for Catherine’s Saturday morning Wheelthrowing class.
She requested that I show them pitchers & creamers… but her students requested plates.
So I just showed them all THREE!

Categories: classes, flowers, vases

My students never cease to amaze me… once again, going above & beyond!

They were challenged to make a tulipiere using the extruder as their primary tool. They not only embraced the challenge, but they surpassed my expectations. It’s always amazing to see how a goroup of people can take on the same challenge – and end up with such different pieces. Such wonderful creativity. And so much fun to see the camaraderie that this group is forming. So supportive & helpful with each other. What a great class!!!

Dave tackled the challenge by extruding very skinny coils of porcelain.
And then continued to create his first coiled pot… ever!!! Really?…
Simply amazing for his first coil pot, right?!

Taylor worked with slightly thicker coils to create her tulipiere – complete with tubes for the flowers and bees for a little whimsy!

Teresa kept is simple and to-the-point… she didn’t have a ton of time for the challenge this week, but she succeed by streamlining her design.

Ryan took his tulipiere to a whole different ecosystem… welcome to Cactus World!
Such a wonderful twist on the project – making the vase a plant to hold plants!!!

But Ryan’s was one of the few tulipieres that I actually preferred without flowers!
I love the structure, the cubist-ness and the balance of it all without flowers!

Donna started with her plan to make a full basket, but along the way came up with
three “cantilivered ladders” to hold her flowers!

Patti’s tulipiere was a rounded tube to hold the water and more tubes propping up
to hold the flowers. Truth be told… her hubby did most of the actual construction
of the piece
… and Patti did the decorating!

Susan used extruded coils to build her “hive” shaped tulipiere. Simple and clean… with three tube openings and additional “openings” in between to help hold the flowers in multiple layers & places.

Claire was the only one who added a bit of serious functionality to her tulipiere… with a removable lid so you can get in to clean it out after having flowers in it for awhile. Brilliant plan!!!

Jacob had been out of town for business examining factories & warehouses… and when he got back you could see that he had been deeply influenced.

Tatiana went organic… with her tulipiere made of extruded & alterd tubes. We all loved the addition of the lily pad tray.. and the adorable frog that came along for the ride!

I was especially enamored by the tulip leaf in the bottom right corner
that completely mirrored the clay leaf in the vase directly below it.

And our TOP TWO winners…
It was such a tough choice this time as they were all AMAZING!!!

Jon extruded his tubes and combined them in a organic tubular sculpture!
Beautiful layers, flow and gentle curves.

But the real kick… which made me actually gasp out loud…
was when he lifted the center out to reveal a smaller tulipere inside the bigger one!

With a beautiful “cup” receptacle in the center to hold it upright.

But put back together… it was easily in the TOP TWO!

Molly went totally geometric… stacked… layered… modular… perfect!!!
Balance, depth and great smooth craftsmaship all came together for Molly…
and her first time extruding… and practically her first time handbuilding too!!!

And even a bonus “single stem” tulipere mini vase!… extra credit???

So there they are – all twelve tuliperes!!!
Each and everyone AMAZING!!!

Huge thanks to my amazing students for accepting my challenges
and playing along with my crazy games.

They make teaching so fun & rewarding!!!
Thank you all.







Categories: classes, flowers, vases

On Wednesday night, my LILLSTREET THROWDOWN class was all about TULIPIERES!!!
And what’s a tulipiere, one might ask?! Well, we tackled it and they all made their version.
They came into class… thinking they were done.

And I still had one last TWIST in the game for them!!!

But seriously… a vase isn’t really a vase until it has held some flowers, right?
So I brought in some flowers for them to accessorize their tulipieres! So much better!



Categories: classes, sculpture, vases

My LILLSTREET THROWDOWN students are amazing…
as they embrace each challenge so fully & creatively.

Many of them were working on their challenge pieces Tuesday night while I was teaching my Beginning Wheelthrowing class. I resisted the urge to go see what they were doing… and trust me it was HARD!!! I kept hearing laughter, discussion and “reports” for other students about how cool their projects were… and how well they were all coming along. I SO wanted to go back to see them… but felt better to wait to see them at The Big Reveal in class Wednesday night.

Luckily, they’re also good photographers… so they took pictures for me… but Jon didn’t share them with me until AFTER class Wednesday night. Yes, they do love playing games too!

Here’s Jon working hard on his piece using the pile of tubes you’ve already seen.


Scoring… slipping… attaching…    and most of them are NOT handbuilders!!!

Donna was the only “handbuilder” coming into the class…
so she’s obviously enjoying this challenge!

While Ryan found the challenge to be a bit more prickly… making thorns with thick slip!

Claire on the other hand had great plans… and many choices to make along the way…

Not feeling so confident about the lid she’s adding to the tulipere…

Susan doing some finishing touches on her coiled pot.



Patti adding some last minute carvings to texture the tube of her tulipiere.

And if that weren’t enough... slip dots on the white tubes…


And Teresa was happy to be finishing her piece just in time for class!


Categories: tools

So last week’s LILLSTREET THROWDOWN challenge was to create a beautiful “tulipiere”… which many students had never even heard of…. but by using the extruder as their primary tool… a tool that many of the students had never heard of. A double whammy!

So they all started by extruding parts & pieces… much like these…
and then the constructing began…


Categories: studio

And so the lighting saga continues…
Tonight when I made it into my studio, my new light fixture had been “installed”… and I use that term VERY loosely. It has been hung from the old light fixture still with the glass tubes in it… on a very jaunty angle… with the new pull cord directly above my wheel… a huge extension cord draped through the air above my wedging table… and a bonus HUGE surge protector on the corner of my table. I would say it’s a LOT more-than I expected… but none of what I had hoped for. Silly me was expecting a bit more of a safe & professional installation?!

Maybe this was a “quick” jury rigged solution???… there was no note…
so I will definitely be sharing my “expectations” tomorrow with my landlord.

Categories: patterns, sgraffito, tools

Carved with my DiamondCore Tools!
Just needs a little brushing to clean-up the scraps after they dry!

Categories: bowls, sgraffito, tools

One of the ONLY “benefits” of working in my studio while the ceiling light fixture is not working is that I get some really dramatic photos from the tabletop task lights I had to install in the meantime. Like these carving through an ombre-slipped class demo bowl with one of my favorite DiamondCore Tools!

Categories: studio

STUDIO LIGHTING UPDATE as of last night…
New light fixture still turned on.
Still plugged into the power strip on the leg my wedging table.
Yet someone has moved it about 4-inches to the right.

Still not quite functional as a “ceiling” light fixture… go figure.

Categories: studio

And so the saga continues… when I got into my studio last night before class, my “new light fixture” was still sitting on the floor propped up against a shelf… but someone had left it turned on??? Not installed. Not in the right place? Just ON!!! Not quite sure what that means… after class, still ON!!! So it’s not like someone was currently working on installing it.

It was just ON?!!!