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

Looks like Ashley is giving her new tulipiere a little test run at home! Sure, they may not be tulips?… but this flower arrangement looks AMAZING!!! I love when a pottery “challenge” in class comes together and something beautiful like is the result. Nicely done Ashley… we love it!

Categories: challenge, classes, flowers, vases

Tonight in my Intermediate Wheelthrowing class, we finished off the session by sharing some finished vases. They had asked for a class “challenge”… and I gave them a TULIPIERES!!! During the session, several of them tackled building their own tulipiere vases! Clara went for three sections stacked with a mini vase on top! Christine made one piece with a beautiful blue & red glaze. Ashley combined her wheelthrown oval bases with extruded tubes. And I provided the fake tulips… I thought that was the most I could do!!!

So here’s a few more pictures of Clara’s tulipiere…

And here’s a few more picturs of Chritine’s tulipiere…

Plus, a few more shots of Ashley’s tulipiere…

We had a couple more who were tackling the tulipiere challenge… but ran into kiln issues and they weren’t quite done in time for class tonight!

Categories: bowls, challenge, classes

Things are coming out of the kiln… like this beautiful bowl that Kristen made in my Tuesday night class last session!

During Week 9 of that class, we did a bowl carving challenge… where they had to take away at least half of the clay weight of the bowl… and THIS is Kristen’s bowl that separated into two parts. Luckily, the patching fix we did in class held together and it has survived the glaze firing… and it’s STUNNING!!! Well done Kristen… good save!

Categories: bowls, challenge, classes

When I started the last session with my Beginners & Advanced Beginners, there was a request for a “challenge project” of some sort. We discussed some options… and I added a challenge to the syllabus for Week 9.

The project turned out to be a “carved cut-out” challenge to take out parts of their bowls. They had to start with a well-trimmed leatherhard bowl. We then weighed their bowls and wrote down the weights. And then I threw out the “real” challenge…

They had to take their bowl and carve away some of the sides to make a “basket-like” bowl… that weighs LESS THAN HALF of the original weight. Keeping in mind that they needed to keep the rim & foot ring intact. I suggested a few tips, and offered them a few tools to borrow… even some of my cherished DiamondCore Carving Tools!… and then they just jumped right in. I LOVED seeing them tackle the challenge with such zeal & enthusiasm… you would never know that this group are still considered “beginner” wheelthrowers!

One of my students got a little too focused on the pattern… and not enough on the actual structure of the bowl. Carving… carving… carving… until the two pieces just came apart. The top came right off of the bottom. Luckily, with a bit of scoring & slipping…. and some well-placed “dots”… I think Kristen saved it to live another day! Fingers crossed…

And I’m COMPLETELY enamored with the shadows that these bowls are making! Most of them came pretty close to the “half-of-the-weight” carved away challenge… just a few ounces away. But it was the excitement & adventure they all went through that really made my night!!!

Categories: challenge, classes, food

So I threw this challenge out awhile back, but no Oreo-Ritz Combo treats have shown up??… until last night!!! Huge kudos to one of my students Kate who “took one for the team” and made her own version!!! And for the record… everybody LOVED them!!!

Upon further investigation, a few people have told me that they only made a thousand boxes of these combo treats. And someone found a box on EBAY for around $500!!! Yikes!!!… homemade worked for us!!! So now methinks I owe Kate a FREE MUG for “succeeding “ in the challenge ?!!!

Categories: artists, challenge, classes, lillstreet

winner of the LILLSTREET THROWDOWN Season Four!!!

Categories: artists, challenge, classes

For the BIG BUILD project of the LILLSTREET THROWDOWN, I challenged my students to make a creamer & sugar set based on the work of a famous artist… assigned by Tracy! Including creamer with handle, sugar with lid, tray and a spoon! They all did an amazing job… most of them getting all of their pieces “done” for class. We did have a few kiln issues, so not all of the pieces were at the same place… some were bisqued, some glazed, some stuck waiting on a cart, and some missing? I felt sorry for Helen who was struggling to find her pieces on the bisque carts! Regardless, they did an amazing job embracing their inner Mondrian, Dali, Lichtenstein & Koons.





Categories: challenge, classes, creativity, handbuilding, tiles

The final “surprise” challenge for my LILLSTREET THROWDOWN class was to interpret five different words onto five different tiles. They each received the same words & a blank tile, and then had fifteen minutes to “represent” the word on each tile. The words were PAISLEY, NOSTALGIA, CHAOS, FESTIVE and JUXTAPOSITION. Always fun for me as the observer to watch each of them approach a challenge in different ways – both in interpreting the word and their handbuilding approach & techniques!






Categories: challenge, classes, creativity, handbuilding, tiles

On the final night of the LILLSTREET THROWDOWN, my students came in thinking they were pretty much done except for some critiques, judging & points… but they were WRONG!!! I surprised them with one last challenge… decorating tiles with only 15 minutes per tile.

And oh, but wait there’s more...
each of their five tiles had to each represent a different given word…
chosen by me!

Categories: bowls, challenge, classes

Last night in my Intermediate Wheelthrowing class, we celebrated the end of another class session with a fun “trading-exchanging-stealing” game with matching soup crocks. One of them even came with an onion & the recipe for French Onion Soup!!!