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

Trying to pull together some pieces for an upcoming soda firing. I’m teaching a workshop and there might be some extra room in the kiln… so I’ve thrown a bunch of stuff that I will have ready just in case.

Kiln Layer #1 – Ovals and mugs.

Kiln Layer #2 - Soap dispensers, mugs and spoon rests.

Kiln Layer #3 - Thin ovals, ornaments, vases and mugs… stacked two high!

Kiln Layer #4 - A partial layer with some olive trays, ikebana circles and ornaments.

Kiln Layer #5 - Another oval, bowls and ornaments.

And you know how I like a well-packed kiln… especially when it come so close to the top!

But the best part of my kiln loading was the “Special Guest” who stopped by to help.
My friend and amazing metalsmith Sarah Chapman just happened to be in town and stopped by for a visit. She offered to help… and of course I said yes. I’m always up for “free help” and playing with my friends. I think Sarah really enjoyed her first real kiln loading.¬† A sort of 3D Tetris game played with fragile greenware. She did a GREAT JOB!!!… and I “paid” her with ice cream over at Margies!!!

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Categories: porcelain, stamped

Just stamping out a few last minute pieces for next weekend’s Evanston Lakeshore Fine Arts Festival. These little babies will be “fired fast” just in time for the show. Dawes Park in Evanston right along the lakefront on Saturday & Sunday!!! Booth #32.

 

 

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Categories: family, special events

So the day started out a little rainy & drizzy… and a morning filled with Summer Camp kids… but that never stops us from even more fun at Six Flags Great America!!!

As soon as camp let out, I drove quickly up to Six Flags to meet my cousins & kids up there! We rode a few rides and got a little wet before they shut down the roller coasters for a few minutes while the rain passed through. Even though Caroline and my cousin Kim were a little wet, we still found plenty of things to keep us busy!

Soon enough the afternoon was clear, and thanks to the rain, the lines for the rides were short. We had a great afternoon twisting, flipping and zooming on all of the roller coasters! And then, seemingly out of nowhere, the clouded skies gave us a beautiful sunset sky show!

But then it was back to the rides… and back to the fun. It may have been dark outside, but that just makes the roller coasters more exciting. So we squeezed in a few more… The Viper… and my favorite Raging Bull!!!

All too soon, our day of fun had come to an end. We were all tired, a little damp, and filled with great memories of a fun day at Great America!!! I’m hoping that this becomes an annual adventure with my cousin’s kids from Minnesota!!!

Categories: food, summer camp

We’ve already FIRE’ed… we’ve already FORGE’ed… so now it was time to FEAST!!! The last day of camp is a big potluck lunch where we all bring in food to share. The kids pulled it together and we had a wonderful FEAST to celebrate the last day of this Summer Camp. Well done kids!!! Thanks for a great week!

Categories: food, summer camp

The last day of camp is also the day to award the prize for Best Cookie in the “annual” Chocolate Chip Cookie Bake-Off. Congratulations to Sam (and his Mom) for baking the cookies that got the most votes on Wednesday’s challenge. He gets the trophy plate… and we got a lot of yummy cookies!!!

Categories: summer camp, terra cotta

After several productive days, my Summer Campers finally got see their thematic placesettings come together. The terra cotta came out of the kiln, we assembled their cutlery pieces and put it all together to great acclaim. They should all be very proud of themselves for a wonderful week of Summer Camp… and some wonderful dinnerware sets!!!

MADELINE’s placesetting

TULLIAH’s placesetting

 

 

LOUKAS’s placesetting

THEO’s placesetting

ZOE’s placesetting

ELIZA’s placesetting

DEIRDRE’s placesetting

ARIEL’s placesetting

ELENA’s placesetting

ELLIE’s placesetting

LILY’s placesetting

LYDIA’s placesetting

SAM’s placesetting

And I guess if something was destined to explode in the kiln…
what better than Sam’s VOLCANO PLATE?!!!

MIYA’s placesetting

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Categories: summer camp

So much fun to see everything coming together. The clay handles the kids made on Monday & Tuesday are fired and out of the kiln. We’ve been inserting their metal forks, knives & spoons into them. So great to see how much work these kids have cranked out this week. We have a WONDERFUL group of kids this week. Which is perfect since this is the BEST Summer Camp week of all of them!!! Just sayin’… of course I may be a bit partial.

Categories: summer camp, tools

Some great new tools to “play with” in the Metals Department. And with some great instruction from Pam, we went relatively uninjured for the week. Good job Campers… thanks for paying attention & watching your fingers!!!

 

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Categories: summer camp

With some basic metalsmithing skills under their belts, my Summer Campers continued to work on their thematic placesettings & cutlery. There was a lot of pounded, banging & hammering going on today, as well as some torch work for annealing the metal. Flat metal turned into textured, decorated and curved spoons, forks & bowls!

Annealing with torches… softening the metal for easier forming…

Drilling and riveting…

 

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Categories: food, summer camp

Some wonderfully tasty treats showed up today for the “annual” Chocolate Chip Cookie Bake-Off. Some traditional. Some with fun ingredients. Some with marshmallows… my favorite! Everyone got a plate of “anonymous” cookies to vote for their favorite numbered cookie. We had seven different entries… as well as cold milk to cleanse the palate in between cookies! Sam’s cookie #6 won the contest!!!

And some kids even took it to another level… trying to win us over with WARM COOKIES!!!
Who doesn’t like hot cookies with their cold glass of milk?!!!