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

This morning the totem pole sections came out of the kiln. So now the project turns to
stacking & installing them. The plan was to install them on the roof of Lillstreet Art Center
amongst the garden planters. Everything was going as planned until a huge storm decided
to roll through. So as we kept working in our classroom, we could see the rain coming down
on the skylights. So we had to start developing Plan B.

But then, just before lunch, the clouds started to clear and the rain began to slow.
So I posed the question to the kids and they were more than excited to put it on the roof,
despite the chance of getting rained on! So we proceeded with Plan A!

I started with a large plastic flower pot. We inserted a metal pipe in the center & surrounded
it with quick drying concrete. Then we covered the concrete layer with pebbles to the top of
the flower pot. Once the concrete dries, the pole will be fairly secure. Then we started stacking
the segments. Each section is filled to keep it from shifting on the pole. The bottom few sections
are also filled with pebbles. The middle & top sections are filled with styrofoam peanuts.
Idea being that the bottom is heavier and the top lighter so it’s not top-heavy. However, as we
were staking sections and filling them with peanuts, the wind kept picking up and blowing
some of them around… and Isabel was having a little trouble keeping them in place!

Getting closer to the top, Ryan & Ruby add a few more layers to the totem…

And here it is… the completed totem pole installed on the roof of Lillstreet Art Center.

Pleased with their own handiwork, my campers strike a pose next to their completed
totem pole. It’s a motley crew… but hysterical and fun to play with all week long!!!

Some of my “happy campers” enjoying the Lillstreet Roof garden after installing their
totem pole! Pleased with their work, and happy that the weekend is here!

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