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

And kicking off the Spring season… a beautiful new orchid blooming at my place…
thanks to the Chicago Flower & Garden Show last week!

Categories: holiday, seasons

Today’s the first day of SPRING!!!… and it’s about time!!!
Now if it would just warm up a bit more… I’m ready!

Categories: production, stamped, textures, vases

Good thing I’ve been making more of my textured square vases…
because the ones used for Patti’s centerpieces pretty much cleaned me out!
So I’ve made another batch of them… this time in three sizes!!!

So I’ve been making more, adding flashing slip details and setting them out to dry. I decided to dry them on plastic grid for better air-flow, as well as some tile “weights” on the tops to keep them from warping or twisting as they dry. Not an exact science… but it can’t hurt, right?

Categories: flowers, soda-fired, stamped, vases

I just love when a vase gets to fulfill its destiny with a beautiful floral arrangement.
Like these textured square vases that were used for a birthday celebration last weekend.

Special thanks to Patti for choosing my soda-fired vases for her centerpieces…
and then sharing the photos too!!!

Each a beauty individually, but in a large grouping… even better!




Categories: classes, lillstreet

A huge Thank You to all of my students who made The First Annual LILLSTREET THROWDOWN class a success!!! I was so impressed by the group’s bonding, camaraderie & healthy competition. So helpful & supportive of each other along the way. Not to mention their creativity & determination with every project. Thanks to each of you for putting up with my crazy games & challenges. You guys ROCKED IT!!! Thanks for being such a good group. You were so much fun to “play with” each week… you made my job easy!



Categories: color, holiday

Can’t wait to see green here in the City after a long gray Winter…
even if it is the traditional green dye in the Chicago River!!!



Categories: classes, lillstreet

After ten weeks of playful pottery competition… we’ve finally come to the end.
The Closing Ceremonies so to speak. After awarding points to the final teapots, and points to the matching cups & saucer, the totals were tabulated for all participants!

And the Winners are…

MOST CREATIVE… for that amazing Airstream Butter Dish…
“Joe Bowl-A”… also known as Jon!

MOST OVER-THOUGHT… for almost always making at least two entries for every challenge…
“Tay-Tay Clay-Wedger”… also known as Taylore!’

BEST TREATS… my favorite award… for those crazy amazing S’mores Cupcakes!!!
“Peggy Burnish-ine”… also known as Patti!

THIRD PLACE… with a total of 300 points…
“Tay-Tay Clay-Wedger”… also known as Taylore!

SECOND PLACE… with a total of 310 points…
“ClaytinaWatergirl” … also known as Catherine!

And in the much coveted FIRST PLACEwith a Grand Total of 372 points…
“Clay Eagerman”… also known as Chuck.







Categories: classes, teapot

Last night was the final class & final challenge for my LILLSTREET THROWDOWN class! While we had a few people struggling to find time for this final & largest challenge, we still ahd quite a few amazing entries. Especially amazing as this was the very first teapot for many of my students!!! And just two weeks to finish putting it all together is not a lot of time!

Katie’s sweet little teapot and cups. Her first teapot ever!!!… and as of right now, she’s claiming it might be her last. We’ll see… maybe I can get her to tackle another one next session???

Ryan’s structured slab constructions kind of took on a life of their own… especially when the teapot literally “jumped” off the table and fell om the ground. Luckily, it was still wet enough that he could do a bit of reconstructive surgery in it. We’ll see how this holds up when it gets fired… so far so good.

Chuck’s wheelthrown set dipped in colored slip for an upcoming soda-firing.

Jon’s unique handbuilt teapot… note: the little bumper at the bottom right is just that, a bumper to keep it from rocking backwards white drying or bisque firing. Unfortunately, Jon wasn’t able to complete his cups in time as some birthday celebrations got in the way… totally understandable… PARTY OVER POTTERY!!!


Richard’s teapot set was very well-constructed with great angles & lines that tied it all together. Very well thought out as you might expect from an architect.

Stephanie’s handbuilt constructions with stenciled slip decorations.

Isabel’s porcelain set… with a smidge of last-minute brilliance of throwing her cups & saucers as one piece and slapping on a handle quick so as to fulfill the challenge in time!

Patty’s porcelain set with sweet cups & saucers.

Taylore’s porcelain teapot & cups… soon to be completed with a handmade brass handle!
My vote for second place!

And the one I chose as best teapot was Catherine’s porcelain precision!


Categories: pottery, production, stamped, teapot

So my teapots are drying slowly. I wanted to take another photo of the sets as I was moving them onto a raised plastic grid for better airflow and even drying. So here they are gain… my “five” sets of teapots & cups!





And then there were FOUR!!!
Yes, like a bull in a china shop… quite literally… I lifted the wareboard, spun around and ran right into a stack of clay boxes. Yes, those clay boxes have been there for months!!! Nothing new. Nothing that should have surprised me.¬† I was just moving too fast, not paying attention, And in the blink of an eye, the board hit the top box, everything toppled and I managed only to save a cup. Everything else went crumbling down. At least it’s nice to see how evenly thrown my lid was????

Mwah, mwah, mwah…



Categories: classes

Okay, so my final class of the LILLSTREET THROWDOWN class is tonight!!!
And I’m working quickly to make some prize ribbons to share with the group.
There’s been a lot of healthy competition & camaraderie amongst the students.
So tonight is going to be a fun one!!! Everyone has worked hard…
so EVERYONE gets a ribbon!!!