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

Now that all of my students have their “assignment”… I can finally reveal what was in all those white envelopes last week… and the final “Big Build” project for my GREAT LILLSTREET THROWDOWN class! It’s about “time”!
So they each chose a white envelope which revealed a famous cartoon show. And then they found out what they had to do with it… “time” for the project info!

Turns out it’s “time” for them to build a working CLOCK!!!

And oh but wait there’s more… their clock has to be based on the cartoon that they chose. They can choose any elements from their cartoon… actual characters, logo, colors, vibe, style, environment, etc. … as long as it’s indicative of the cartoon!!! The goal is for them all to have this “Big Build” CLOCK done, glazed & working for their final critique in Week 10 of class! Not a “minute” to spare!

Categories: challenge, food

But then another pack showed up in my studio too!!!
WHOO-HOO again!

So it looks like we have TWO winners this time! Two packs of THE MOST OREOS and two FREE MUGS!!! Congratulations & thanks to Laury… one of my former students for bringing in another package of “limited edition” yumminess!

And yes, they are YUMMY!!! So much filling that they actually “squish” a bit when you bite into them!!!

Categories: challenge, food, friends, mugs

So while I was working on these new mugs… look what showed up!!! WHOO-HOO!!! I had a surprise visit from master tile-maker Mike Skiersch bearing a pack of the newest flavor of OREO’s!!! Which also means he WON a free mug… as I had posted that challenge a couple days ago!!!

Categories: challenge, classes

We ended out LILLSTREET THROWDOWN class Thursday night with a table full of envelopes. And you know I love a good game.. so it was a “White Envelope, White Elephant Game” of picking, trading & stealing! Once they picked an envelope, they opened it to see their clue… but there was a lot of “stealing” going on. Inside the envelopes were categories for their upcoming “Big Build” project challenge.

After they each had their chosen clue…
it was time to reveal their “Big Build”… which was…

C’mon… you don’t think I would reveal it quite so quickly, right?!

There were a couple people missing from class, so once they get their “assignments”… then it’s time to share more details about their very challenging project.

But only when the “time” is right!!!

Categories: challenge, classes, handbuilding

The fifth challenge this week for my LILLSTREET THROWDOWN students was to roll the longest coil possible with one & a half pounds of clay. Same rules apply… if a piece breaks off, you can continue to roll the longer piece, but they could not squish it back on! Congrats to to Katie, Aaron & Claire who rolled their coils longer than the table… and had to make the bend!

Categories: challenge, classes, wheelthrowing

After a couple handbuilding challenges, it was time for my THROWDOWN class to get back on the wheel. This time it was “tallest” wheelthrown cylinder with two pounds of clay! With a nice even rim… no pinching, stretching or adding onto the top to make it taller! Congrats to Claire, Katie & Alex for their tallest cylinders!

Categories: challenge, classes

The next challenge my LILLSTREET THROWDOWN students took on this week was pulling handles the traditional way. With a pound & a half of clay, the challenge was to pull the longest handle possible. And again, it any part breaks off they could continue pulling with whatever was left in their holding hand… but they could not squish the broken piece back on. The three with the longest handles after 10 minutes got the points!!! Congrats to Ashley, Brittany & Autum (tied) and Angela!!!

And yes… sadly, Aaron’s very long handle broke as he pulled it one step too far… and there was no coming back from it!!!

Categories: challenge, classes, handbuilding

This past week during the GREAT LILLSTREET THROWDOWN, we started with a “blind weighing” of clay challenge… where they each had to cut off four pieces of clay without the benefit of a scale. After they had guessed at the right weights, we checked them on the scale and rated them on the variance! The three people closest to the correct weights got the points!

Once they had the four balls of clay “correct”… we started with some basic handbuilding skills! First up… pulling the largest slab of clay on the table. No slab roller. No rolling pins. Just the largest continuous slab… and if a piece broke off, they were not allowed to squish it back on! Let gravity do the work… stretch that clay thin & wide!!!

Categories: challenge, food

So the folks at OREO have announced the newest OREO cookie… THE MOST OREO!!! An Oreo cookie over-stuffed & over-filled with more Oreo cookie!!! And I kinda feel like it’s time for another game!!!


So… the first person to get a package of these newest OREOs to me in my studio will get a FREE handmade mug from me!!! I get cookies & you get a mug!!! Let the games begin…

Categories: challenge, classes

And oh, but wait there’s more… after making their serving spoons, my THROWDOWN class was surprised with another challenge… to make a serving fork that goes with the serving spoon!!! And, works well with the two original serving bowl set.

Again, most of them made handbuilt forks… but it was Libby who tackled the challenge by throwing a small “bottle” on the wheel and then cutting it in half vertically! Brilliant Libby!!!