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

So I got an email from one of my Facebook Fans… Kate Chenok, a potter from the San Francisco area. She told me she was traveling for business and would LOVE to stop by my studio to meet me. She gave me her travel schedule and it aligned with the classes I teach on Mondays & Tuesdays. She suggested I check out her website to see her work… so I did. And I saw these wonderful little “folded mugs” on her website. And a plan started to develop…

Sure, she could easily stop by the studio and sit-in one of my classes while my students were working during Week #9. But I had a better plan… I figured it might be fun if Kate Chenok stopped by and then do a quick demo for my students! Perfect timing. Perfect plan!

So I asked her to swing by the studio on a Tuesday night. We’re in Week #9 of the ten-week session, and I thought my Beginner’s might like a little handbuilding “break” from the wheel. Kate got here a t little late… so we did a quick tour of my studio and Lillstreet… and then it was right into my classroom. Quick introduction and she was on for the demo.

We threw some quick slabs, and she showed how she adds texture using assorted texture forms, vinyl placemats, corrugated cardboard and more.

She then shared the patterns she uses to cut our a shape from the slab. Carefully aligning her textured design with the shape of the cut-out pattern.

And then that cut-out shape was carefully rolled and seamed together with angled edges… carefully seaming the seam with as little fudging & smudging as possible. The cutout darted sections are also scored, slipped and stuck together. Basically folding in the bottom of the cup.

After the darts are connected, she took a second to smooth out the interior and double-checking the security of the seam. All the while trying to keep the exterior pattern as clean and smudge-less as possible.

The square bottom “hole” that is created by the folding in of the darts needs to be filled. Another small piece of textured slab is scored and slipped into place.

After securing the bottom, a little refining of the rim is in order.

And then there’s the question of the seam. Is it smooth enough? Does it need to blend in better? Or should it be made more apparent?… or even decorated with little stamped buttons?!

After Kate finished her demo, we encouraged my students to step up and give it a go. Some of them were very excited… you could see it on their faces during the demo. So they pulled out their slabs and texture tools  and dove right in!!!

Kate was great… so sharing with her knowledge and time. Helping my students through every step of the process.

Such focus and determination by Carmina and Grace…

And here’s one of the “finished” pieces… a very sweet little pitcher that Grace made. She’s become quite the master of texture… and even added a bit of slip detail on top of the textured surface!!!

Huge thanks once again to Kate for stopping by and playing with my students. We all had a great time and learned a lot from her.

To see more about Kate Chenok and her work,
including her wonderful folded mugs, click here for her website.

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Categories: architecture, artists, creativity, garden

Just hanging out in Old Town this afternoon while my bike gets it’s 30-ride tune-up!

Murals making walls better in Old Town.

And some of the best… some organic and some architectural.

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Categories: artists, Chicago, color, creativity

Groovy new mural on the West Side. Great style & colors…
a nice splash of whimsy on Hoyne Street. Thanks #brownwalls !

“El Corazon de la Bestia” / Heart of the Beast
Environments have defined us as humans and individuals. The experiences in these environments shape us internally. Because of this, we are busy building masks for society and we don’t always show or share who we really are at our core. We judge people by these masks, and not for who and what makes up the Beast inside them. Good or Bad we all have a Beast within us. Our Heart shows who it is.
– mural artist Roco Drilo

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Categories: artists, friends, kiln firing

A potter friend of mine up in Minnesota announced on Instagram today that he had a not-so-”little” kiln incident. Everyone is okay… the pots not so much. It could have been so much worse. A good lesson in kiln safety for us all to remember. If you’re headed up to Minneapolis this weekend, be sure to stop by the Rogue Potters to offer some support. Just don’t expect any “new” pots from Randal. Sorry buddy!

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Categories: art fair, artists, pottery

And counting the days until the big Minnesota pottery tour. It’s the 25th anniversary so I can’t wait to see everyone, covet all the pots and “quite possibly” add a piece or “two” to the already-overflowing collection!

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Categories: artists, sculpture

There’s a new “inhabitant” looming along the lakefront. A large bronze sculpture by Thomas Houseago between Foster & Bryn Mawr. A little eerie this early in the morning…

And that’s quite some “vertebrae” of rebar armature on the backside!

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Categories: art fair, artists, friends, My Talented Friends

Another day done at the “One Of A Kind Show” with my friend & master metalsmith Sarah Chapman. This is one of her sterling silver rings with embossed texture, oxidation and an amazing piece of turquoise.

And a beautiful necklace with beads & stones clustered in a sterling silver “boat.”

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Categories: art fair, artists, friends

Fun day playing with my friend & amazing metalsmith Sarah Chapman at the “One Of A Kind Show” today. She has such amazing pieces in her booth #2120… and another fun day tomorrow from 10:00am-5:00pm. C’mon down to the Merchandise Mart!!!

Categories: artists, sculpture

Always fun to find new artworks dotting the Lakefront Bike Trail. Like this whimsically enormous guy gazing up to the skies down on the South Side clad in stainless steel of all kinds. If you look closely, you’ll find cookie sheets, muffin tins and so many more wonderful finds!!! Well done Tom Friedman!

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Categories: artists, creativity

As a potter who loves great design… classic pottery… and a contact wearer…
I was excited when I first saw this on my Instagram feed this morning!

At first I thought it was just some sort of advertisement for new contact lenses.
I almost scrolled right past them.
Until I saw  and recognized the Instagram user name.

From #potsinaction on Instagram…
Only having eyes for pottery isn’t new for some of us, but these contact lenses etched with a pattern from a Delft plaque take it to a whole new leverl! Collaborative duo, architect Ali Soltani and artist Francine LeClercq, are finalists for the 2017 Rijksstudio Award from the Rijks Museum with this incredible piece. From their website, “Based on the design  of XVII century plaques in the museum collection, our entry DELFT BLUE EYES consists of non-prescriptive contact lenses whose hydrogel surface has been printed with Delft Blue pattern. While drawing on a distinct cultural heritage of Dutch Delftware, the direct juxtaposition of a perceived work and its viewing subject is a nod to Marcel Duchamp’s critique on retinal art through the selective process of “Readymades.” Today, in an era enmeshed by trajectories of prying eyes, the perceiving subject itself is the tentative Readymade the moment it is caught viewing its prey, here the enameled tine-glaze of Delft under a glassy gaze.”

So take a look closer… they’re not just colored contacts.
They change your eye color into a classic Delft china pattern!!! AMAZING!!!
And more importantly, where & when can I buy them???

So these incredible contacts and the images produced are finalists in the museum’s contest. Click here to vote for your favorite of the Top Ten Finalists. Voting is open until April 20, 2017.

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