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

Part One of tonight’s class demo was about making bowls on purpose…
not a cylinder gone bad. Part Two was how to quickly turn 10 “matching” bowls
into 10 “unique” bowls with just a few quick tricks!

So I did the basic bowl demo to show my students how to make a bowl “the right way.”
Then, as they went back to their wheels to make their own bowls, I quickly threw nine more
basic bowls. We regrouped for Part Two where I showed them fluting, flaring, slipping,
swirling, chattering and other fun tricks! My main goal for the night is to get them over the
fear of playing with their clay. To show them that you can push it further, twist it, bend it,
shape it. That each piece doesn’t have to be so precious. That if you let yourself try a few
new things you might just make something special along the way. So go ahead…
play with your clay!!!

After the two-part bowl demo, we also did some slip painting, throwing off the hump,
throwing spouts and stamp making. It was a very busy class tonight. I kinda felt like
I had some making-up to do after missing the last two classes due to my extended
FIREFLY trip to Dover?!

Categories: lillstreet, summer camp

Today was an adventure at Lincoln Park Zoo!
Yep, me and my fourteen “Wild Things” summer camp kids traipsing around
Lincoln Park Zoo! Visiting the animals, getting inspiration for the rest of the week’s
animal themed projects. Along the way, we stopped at the patio for lunch and some
watercolor painting. Loving seeing how focused the kids get once they start painting!

But after a long day at the Zoo, with a lot of walking around, the kids favorite spot
is always the Children’s Zoo. Not for the little animals, but for the cool fountain that
shoots streams of water out of the sidewalk. Needless to say, the kids had a splashing
good time… and went back to Lillstreet a little wetter than before!

Categories: mugs, process, production, studio

After camp, I was back in the studio trying to get myself back into full production mode.
Gotta start somewhere… so why not start with my favorite form?! MUGS!!!

One bag of B-Clay… a stack of square bats… and a pile if wedged balls of clay. Ready to go!
About an hour of throwing with an hour of Olympic coverage, and I had two dozen cylinders
off the bats, wrapped up and put away for the night. Hoping to stamp them all tomorrow
in between camp & teaching my adult class!

Categories: books, friends

Rochelle, one of my former pottery students, stopped by summer camp this morning
to say goodbye as she’s moving to Boston to go for grad school. HARVARD to be exact!!!
She’s been so much fun to have around the studio, always smiling, always witty, always
sarcastic. Three of my favorite things. She did give me a going-away gift too…
ahh, she knows me so well. My fourth favorite thing!!!

Categories: lillstreet, summer camp

Today it was back to Summer Camp… “Wild Things.”
So it’s a week all about animal-themed projects. And let me just say, my group
of campers this week is very “energetic.” Oh wait, it’s animal-themed…
maybe “squirrelly” is a better choice of words?!

Categories: bike, sunrise

Lots of clouds. Lots of potential. And another beautiful morning along the lake.

And sometimes you just need to turn around… for another “sunrise” reflecting off a building.
A very special “reverse sunrise” this morning!

Categories: garden, nature

My garden is green. There’s a lot of green.
But suddenly, there’s a new splash of color popping out.
I had forgotten that I had planted these caladium bulbs earlier in the spring!

Categories: clay, studio

Today I made it back into the studio after my extended Dover excursion!
Before I left, I set up a huge pile of reclaim clay onto my plaster bat while I was gone.
I had expected to be gone for one week, but the “glitter gig” turned into a 2-week
project – setting up, watching bands, watching people, then packing it all up!
So I was a little concerned that the pile of reclaim clay might have dried out too much
while I was gone. I was very relieved to find the pile of clay still moist… and actually
a little bit wetter than I would like it to be. But I proceeded to tackle the mound any way!

So I started by pulling it off the plaster bat and piling it up into cubes. The clay was still
a bit gooey, so I pounded it into blocks and put them back on the plaster bat to set-up
a bit more. Glad it wasn’t a hard, dried brick… instead, it was quite the opposite!

Special thanks to my Northwoods friend Amy who gave me all this clay. Sure it was all
dried trimmings and other chunks. But after a few weeks of slaking down, I now have a lot
of wedging ahead of me… and a lot of “free” clay to make things out of it. Remember, this
was just the first half of the clay scrap I got from Amy… and it totaled out at 186 pounds
of reclaimed clay… and one used chamois hidden inside just as an added challenge!

Categories: special events
Categories: bike, sunrise

After two full weeks of cruising around the music festival on a mountain bike too small for me,
it felt great to be back home and on my own bike this morning! Granted there were more
clouds than I would normally like… but it felt great to be back in the saddle again!

Sure the clouds were nice. Sure the orange sky was beautiful. And I thought that was enough.
But then… as the sun finally made it past the first slice of clouds, the sky cleared up a bit
and the “second” sunrise was much brighter & clearer than the first!!!