Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: classes, pottery, stamped, textures

This week in my LILLSTREET THROWDOWN class, they brought back their “dice-decorated” maquette cylinders along with the taller vases they made using the first piece as inspiration. The second part of the challenge was that it had to be a minimum of nine-inches tall. It was great to see how they each “embraced” the challenge both using the single die to decorated the cylinder, but then again to decorate the larger piece. The “spirit” of the challenge was to use that “one dice-one tool” concept for the larger vase once again… and to use the design concept from the first maquette cylinder to create a beautiful larger vase.

Dice-decorated maquette and “inspired” vase by Jen

Dice-decorated maquette and “inspired” vase by Molly

Dice-decorated maquette and “inspired” vase by Norah

Dice-decorated maquette and “inspired” vase by Taylor

Dice-decorated maquette and “inspired” vase by Tracy

Dice-decorated maquette and “inspired” vase by Christine

Dice-decorated maquette and “inspired” vase by Helen

Dice-decorated maquette and “inspired” vase by Jacob

Dice-decorated maquette and “inspired” vase by Jen

Dice-decorated maquette and “inspired” vase by Stacey!
This project came in second… mostly for the overly-creative way Stacey worked outside of the box and extrapolated her layered maquette design into a stacked & textured “layer” vase!

And the FIRST PLACE dice-decorated maquette and “inspired” vase by Dana
mostly for sticking with the “pure intention” of the challenge… and for learning & re-designing her vase based on what she liked & disliked about the maquette… as well as the smoothest burnished surface ever!!!



Categories: classes, mugs

This week in my Tuesday night Beginning Wheel class we finally got around to finishing off their first MUGS!!! Typically my students finish mugs in Week Two… but we’re trying to follow the new Lillstreet “mandated” syllabus this session. Not sure yet how it’s going… I’m pretty sure I like MY sequence & syllabus a bit better… we’ll see…

Categories: mugs, process, production, stamped

Just adding some colored slip accents to my mugs. Once these are glazed and go into the soda kiln… these flashing slip accents should turn bright colors and show the dramatic flashing effects of the soda environment!

Categories: mugs, process, production, stamped

Working on another batch of mugs for another MUGSHOT MONDAY!
Handles are now attached… just need to do a little detailing & slip painting before I can set them off to drying!

Categories: process, production

Pulling a few new handles to turn some stamped cylinders into stamped MUGS!!!
You know they’re my favorite thing to make!

Categories: process, production, tools
Especially when it’s the bottoms of “mugs-to-be” and using two of my favorite tools…
a Bison Trimming Tool and my ever-spinning Giffin Grip!!!

Categories: process, production, stamped

Finished up the latest batch of flower pots with some trimming, slip painting of accents and drilling drainage holes. So for now they dry before firing, glaze, and then fire again!

Categories: pottery, television

For those of you who have been enjoying the projects that my LILLSTREET THROWDOWN class has been making… be sure to watch the newest episode of The Great Pottery Throw Down! It’s the inspiration for our class… although I can guarantee that we won’t be tackling raku firing as they did this week on the TV Show!

Click here to watch episode three on YouTube!

Categories: classes, stamped, textures

For the in-class challenge, they found out it would be a surface decoration challenge.
Easy-peezy… especially when I passed out some already-thrown cylinders for them to work on. So all they needed to do was decorate them!

Oh, but there’s a twist!
They needed to do their entire surface decoration using just one tool.
And it was NOT a tool of their choice…

They found out quickly that that one tool was going to be a basic DIE…
yes, DICE for everyone!!!

After their 45 minutes for the challenge. we gathered to look at each of them. It was fun to see how they had each approached the challenge differently. Some went straight for stamping, some for drawing with a corner, some with colorful underglazes or slips using the die as the paintbrush!

At the time, we discussed their newly-decorated cylinders… with them “thinking” that THIS was the challenge! We talked about texture, pattern, and approaches to the challenge itself. But then they found out that this was not a judged challenge for points… but instead a stepping-off point for their next challenge!

So their homework for the week is to create a new vase that is a minimum of 9-inches tall that has surface decoration made again with that ONE TOOL… the dice! Their new cylinder does not need to match exactly, but instead be “inspired by” the original cylinder. I told the to think of that original cylinder as the “maquette” for their larger vase. So now I’m looking forward to next Thursday night when we get to see their newly created vases with DICE DECORATIONS!

Categories: classes, creativity, mugs

This week at our LILLSTREET THROWDOWN class, my students brought back their set of four matching cylinders… now turned into matching mugs! Well kinda. Their week-long challenge was to convert their matching cylinders to matching mugs in terms of construction. And then to decorate them to be a good “matching” set where the cups don’t actually match, but have a great continuity of design that ties them all together. And oh, but wait there’s more… they also had to utilize at least four out of the five patterns… * spirals * stripes * polka dots * plaids * paisley.  With an added contingency that all four cups could NOT be identical in design. Just how I like it…. vaguely specific! And open to a lot of interpretation… as longs as they made their decoration “creative, thoughtful, deliberate & beautiful.”

So here we go… quite a few exciting & creative  entries into this week’s THROWDOWN challenge!

Taylor’s tall mugs with carved details…

Melanie’s “petticoat-inspired” colorful mugs with perfectly matching round handles.

Helen’s short stoneware mugs with carved accents…

Dana’s tall cylinders… whoops, no handles?… with beautifully carved patterns.

Jen’s cuties with carved “diagonal” details…

Molly’s colorful animal-inspired mugs… where each animal is based on one of the patterns!

Stacey went for a more “business” look with patterned ties on each cup!

Jacob went for detailed texture on his set which is destined for the soda kiln…
during the Soda-Firing Workshop I’ll be teaching next month at Lillstreet Art Center.

Coming in at second place, these beautifully layered patterned cups by Tracy.
Carved patterns with layers of underglaze patterns.

And our BIG WINNER this week… Christine with these amazing “cartoon” cups.
AMAZING CREATIVITY!!!… and great craftsmanship. Each cup tells its own story utilizing the designated patterns, as well as some of the actual verbiage from the challenge itself!