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

Last Tuesday, I did some repeat demos for my class for those that missed them
the first time… or didn’t find them quite as easy when they tried to do them!
Totally fine by me. It’s their class and I’m more than willing to demo whatever they want.
And now I find myself with another demo platter thrown and waiting to be stamped.
Well, tonight was the night. First, I started by unwrapping the original platter which was
finally to a good state of leather-hardness to be stamped… just a little softer than
“trimming leather-hardness” typically is.

Then I start by making the first row of impressions with the chosen stamp pressed in one,
by one, by one, by one… again, and again, and again… until you get all the way around
to the other side! And I always have my fingers crossed that they’ll line up just fine!!!

Then it’s time for a second row of stamps to start the pattern…

After a couple more stamps, and a few smaller accent stamps at the bottom of each point
and the stamping portion was done.

Then it was time for a little rim fluting & curving to give the platter a gentle undulating
design. A simple touch to give the platter a completely different look.

Here’s a close-up of the curved rim – just before wrapping it up with plastic for the night.
So now it’s a waiting game until it is dry enough for trimming.


Categories: artists, lillstreet, summer camp

As this week quickly came to an end, my campers were working hard on their masterpieces!
Our terra cotta picture frames came out of the kiln and we still needed to paint them gold.
You know that every masterpiece needs the perfect frame. So we went out into the back
alley behind Lillstreet to spray paint them all metallic gold.

As the kids finished their paintings, we started setting up their Gallery Show. So we put
together their paintings with the piece of the still life that were working from. For their
Mondrian-inspired piece, we talked about how they needed to use the color palette from
their flower and express it with proper proportions & color theories.

Once the frames were dry, we started inserting their paintings into the picture frames.
Like these paintings done by the kids in the style of Georgia O’Keeffe.

Plus their paintings in the style of 70’s pop artist Roy Lichtenstein.

Or a still life painting in the style of Vincent Van Gogh…

We finished the day by creating a Gallery Show of their masterpieces. We invited their
parents, friends and other summer campers to come through to see their exhibit.

Each of the kids were encouraged to take their turn as docent to give their guests a tour
of the show. While showing people around, they explained the inspirations and how they
made each piece. Explaining how the style of a Master Artist had influenced their paintings,
and how they worked that influence into their own works. They also found it great fun to
quiz the adults with the same 25 Master Artists that they had learned throughout the week!
I’m sure they weren’t too surprised to find out that very few people knew as many artists
as they did!!! Always fun to see kids excited about Art History!

And with that… my Summer Camp “tour of duty” for this year is over.
It was such a pleasure to end the summer on such a high note… seeing that the kids have
indeed had a great time and learned a little something along the way. And had fun too!!!

Categories: summer camp, Taylor

It was such a great surprise today when I turned the corner…
and there stood my sister Jen and my favorite niece Taylor!!!

Now Taylor is no stranger in coming to the studio, but she’s new to Summer Camp.
So there I was with my roomful of “Masters” campers trying to get everything done
and ready for lunch – when they showed up out of the blue! Apparently, they had an
appointment in the city that had been mis-scheduled. So instead of 11:00am, they
were on for 2:30pm and needed to kill some time. So they decided to surprise
Uncle Gary and show up unannounced. It was such a great surprise for me… plus,
Taylor & Jen got to hang out with me and my campers on the Lillstreet rooftop deck
for a leisurely lunch!!! They even got some homemade brownies from Judy, one of
our other summer camp teachers, who had a few extras from her camp – huge bonus!!!

Categories: bike, sunrise

As the sky began to brighten and the low-flying clouds took on a beautiful pink glow

When the pink colors began to fade, the sun continued to rise and the clouds began
to sparkle with beautiful golden highlights.

And then it finally happened… SUNRISE !!!
After a strung of gloomy, gray mornings, we finally got treated to a nice sunrise morning.
Still nothing too spectacular, but a whole lot better than the grays we’ve been having!!!

Categories: bike, sunrise

This morning the sky was a beautiful dark blue. And I was excited to see that the gloomy
gray skies look like they may have moved on… and we might get a nice sunrise, finally!

Unfortunately, the waves were crashing a bit more than I would like. I need to keep up
with my morning swims… the Chicago Triathlon is coming up quicker than I would like!
But with waves like this, I thought it best to skip the swim this morning!

Categories: pottery, production, stamps, studio, textures

After camp today, I stayed in my studio to do some stamping, trimming, detailing
& slip painting. Happy to report that all of the squared-off bowls are now done &
drying overnight! Mission accomplished…

Kind of ironic, as I watched the latest “Mission Impossible” movie on DVD while working.

Categories: lillstreet, summer camp

So the kids are learning more about some Master Artists, memorizing names
and their styles… and incorporating that knowledge into their own masterpieces!
Including their first one in the style of Vincent Van Gogh. So I created a still life for
them to work from. I told them they could draw the whole thing, or “zoom in” on
and focus more on just a few pieces in a certain section.

And then we switched our focus on to the work of Roy Lichtenstein & Georges Seurat. They
both used a lot of dots… but in completely different ways. So we discussed the differences
and similarities. They decided which one they wanted to work from… some Lichtenstein…

While others did Seurat…
And yes, when they do a painting in the style of Seurat, I take away their paint brushes!
No brushing for this one. Instead it’s dot, dot, dot… with a Q-Tip!!!

Categories: artists, lillstreet, summer camp

Part of this week at summer camp is a lesson in art history for my campers.
I like to approach it in a way that they don’t really know what’s happening until it’s too late.
Throughout the week, they will hopefully learn to identify 25 famous artists based on some
flash cards I’ve created for them. During the week, they will also work on creating their own
projects “in the style” of the Masters they’ve just learned about.

So here’s the “Masters Quiz” for you… How many of these artists can YOU identify?!
And to make it even one step harder… my campers know their first names too!!!

1. ______________________________

2. ______________________________

3. ______________________________

4. ______________________________

5. ______________________________

6. ______________________________

7. ______________________________

8. ______________________________

9. ______________________________

10. ______________________________

11. ______________________________

12. ______________________________

13. ______________________________

14. ______________________________

15. ______________________________

16. ______________________________

17. ______________________________

18. ______________________________

19. ______________________________

20. ______________________________

21. ______________________________

22. ______________________________

23. ______________________________

24. ______________________________

25. ______________________________

So how did YOU do?! Been a long time since you did any Art History, huh?!
Not to make you fell bad, but my campers can now name all of these artists!


Categories: sunrise

Two in a row… no real sunrise again this morning.
Just some groovy polka-dot clouds!

Categories: sunrise

Like the sunrise, maybe???