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

This week in my Lillstreet Throwdown class, they all returned with their “blindfold-thrown bowls” as they had to refine & trim them a bit. I think most of them thought we would be working on decorating them in class as “part two” of the assignment. Instead, I had them spray their bowls with water and wrap them up with plastic. We “might” decorate them… but not right away!

Instead we switched to tile-making!!!
They were tasked with making nine 4″x 4″ tiles in twenty minutes. The goal was even thickness, clean edges & good corners. So they started by wedging their clay, throwing slabs and then cutting them into flat tiles. It was fun to see them approach the task… most with rulers… none of them considering the slab roller… and Melanie making a template to use to cut them all nice & square!

After we critiqued & judged the tiles, they began to decorate them with colored slips. They had 45 minutes to finish all nine tiles… which sounds like plenty of time, until you start figuring out how many minutes per tile that works out to be! The challenge for this project was that their group of tiles should coordinate with a common color palette. Their tiles should NOT match as they had to utilize a different slip application technique on each tile. We were looking for creativity, technique, style, cleanliness and overall impression. Basically I was looking for people to embrace the spirit of the challenge… and have a good time exploring different slip possibilities!

Just a couple tile close-ups… loving the textures, patterns and techniques!

At the end of their time, we went around and looked at all of the sets of nine. Some people kept it simple with one color, some went for multiple colors. Some when over-the-top while others kept it minimal. Some kept exploring a common pattern in different ways, while others went for deconstructed versions of the same!

Alwasy fun to see how they all approach the project… and then what they come up with. And with a bit of a time-restraint, they also had to work a bit faster and not over-think things too much. Maybe have a little more fun… and trip upon some new, fun decorative techniques!



1 Comment


February 16th, 2020

Another fun challenge, and what great outcomes! Hope you show us the post-Fire results.

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