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

Seemed to be the theme for this week’s GREAT LILLSTREET THROWDOWN challenge… and there was plenty of laughing all night! They started at the wheel with a directive to “throw their own most perfect shape” in just 15 minutes. I think some people panicked & rushed too fast at the beginning, while others had extra soft clay that didn’t work in their favor. So many of their “most perfect” pieces were not-so-perfect. But who cares?… it’s just clay!

Also because the “real challenge” was for everyone who followed to re-create that exact “perfect” prototype as they had to move one wheel to the right and recreate the piece in front of them. Again… and again… and again. Realizing how hard it is to throw with intention… but even worse, to have to copy someone else’s intention… or in this case… “flop-tention”?? The winners were those people who “copied” the prototypes the best. “NAILED IT.”

Categories: challenge, classes, handbuilding, mugs, textures

Another challenge accomplished… after just two hours, my LILLSTREET THROWDOWN‘ers all had fun sets of four handbuilt mugs!!! Each of them featuring fun textures & patterns from MKM Pottery Tools … and special congratulations to Emily for winning first place as a first-time handbuilder!!! I think she might be a prodigy… or a Throwdown Ringer???

Next up?… at the end of the class, they were faced with another challenge in another envelope. I gave them the chance to skip the task in the envelope, but if we opened the envelope they would all HAVE TO follow whatever was inside! They discussed the options, but in the end chose to open the envelope!!!

Turns out their next challenge is now to “color-ize” their mugs with colored slips or underglazes… to highlight the textures & patterns!!! They will bring them back to the next class all decorated… knowing that down the road they can only glaze them with clear glaze!!!

Categories: challenge, classes, handbuilding, mugs

With only two hours to create their four “matching” handbuilt mugs, my LILLSTREET THROWDOWN‘ers were crazy busy working at tables all around the room. Some had more control of their process… while some were flying by the seat of heir pants while tackling their first ever handbuilding project!!! All in all, they were all quite impressive… even though they were approaching the task from several different directions! So much fun for ME to watch & “comment on” along the way!

Categories: challenge, classes, patterns, stamped, textures, tools

A lot of texture rolling & pattern pressing happened in class last Thursday night for the LILLSTREET THROWDOWN. I gave them a task… and my MKM Pottery Tools hand rollers for the night! Some students had never really handbuilt before… but they were all eager to start rolling!!! Such great patterns… thank you MKM!!!

Categories: challenge, classes, textures, tools

This week in my LILLSTREET THROWDOWN, we kicked off the class with a few more details about their weekly challenge. Four handbuilt mugs… while utilizing my collection of MKM Pottery Tools hand rollers! The goal of the challenge was four “matching” mugs that highlight the great textures they can make with these groovy texture tools! And you know how much I LOVE texture!!!

Categories: challenge, classes, food

With our favorite “Top Baker” & a few challenge-loving students in my Intermediate Wheel class last night, I introduced a challenge project for them to work on for the end of class. Now you know how I love a good theme… so of course I had to introduce the challenge with some tasty clues!!!

Categories: challenge, classes, food, wheelthrowing

LILLSTREET THROWDOWN : Challenge #11…
They say that “throwing with porcelain is like throwing with cream cheese.”
So they did!!!

We had a four-way THROWDOWN with each player throwing a package of cream cheese. Some struggled with the throwing, some with the goopey texture & some with the smell of the cream cheese! All in all, a great way to finish off our THROWDOWN evening of contests from “The Wheel Of Challenges”!!! Fun for all… and great entertainment for ME!!!

Categories: challenge, classes, handbuilding

LILLSTREET THROWDOWN : Challenge #10…
Handbuild the tallest cylinder in ten minutes… same as before... hollow, free-standing with a bottom. Coincidentally, it was Shannon & Joanna that did the same “cylinder challenge” on the wheel earlier in class!

Categories: challenge, classes, wheelthrowing

LILLSTREET THROWDOWN : Challenge #9…
Throw your “best” bowl in ten minutes and 1.75-pounds of clay while blindfolded!

Categories: challenge, classes

LILLSTREET THROWDOWN : Challenge #8…
Roll the longest continuous coil using 1.75 pounds of clay… and NO HANDS!!! And if it does break, you can not put it back together!! Lot of wrists, lots of fun… but a bit tougher as they started running out of table space to keep going!