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

Last night in my Beginning Wheelthrowing pottery class, we had a PARTY so to speak!!! What’s better than a bunch of OREOS’s???… even MORE OREO’s!!! Loving the new party size package!!!

Categories: bowls, classes, process, production, wheelthrowing

This week in my Tuesday night Wheelthrowing pottery class, we tackled making “bowls on purpose instead of a cylinder gone bad.” I like to show them how to make a real” bowl with intenti0n, instead of letting a cylinder get away from them and being okay with the “bowl-ish” shape they end up with. So for the demo, I show them how to throw a nice bowl with a beautifully even curve on the interior. No grooves. No indentations. No beginner’s ledge.

Once we cover that first how-to-bowl… then I throw a bunch more while they go back to their wheels to make some bowls… on purpose. After I’ve thrown all of my demo bowls, we reconvene at my wheel to do some quick altering & decorating. My goal is always to show them how to have fun with their clay, to get over the “preciousness” and to encourage them to do something extra to make it “their” bowl instead of just a round bowl that the wheel kind of made for them!!! This is my favorite demo every session!

Bowl #1 – Two simple fluted edges opposite each other.

Bowl #2 – And if two flutes are good, eight might be better?!

Bowl #3 – A wide flanged rim flared out.

Bowl #4 – That same flanged rim flared out and then fluted in four places.

Bowl #5 – A simple “flower” accent pressed into the bottom of a bowl using a metal dragonscale tool.

Bowl #6 – A split rim pinched back together in eight places.

Bowl #7 – Another split rim, this time pinched & flared out in flour places, and inwards in another four places.

Bowl #8 – Sticking with the split rim fun, but this time doing a “scalloped” edge efect.

And then it was time to introduce colored slip as a design option.
I pretty much stuck to white slip as it has a nice contrast to the darker stoneware I was using.

Bowl #9 – a thick layer of white slip with a spiral dragged through it as the wheel was spinning.

Bowl #10 – Think white slip later with some simple banded accents through the slip.

Bowl #11 – A layer of white slip, with one dramatic brush stroke accents swoop!!!

Bowl #12 – A thick layer of slip squiggled through with a finger… like finger painting!!!

Bowl #13 – Another layer of thick white slip, then chattered through with a rubber rib… tapping up & down from the center outwards as the wheel is spinning.

Bowl #14 – A very simple spiral of white slip made with a slip trailing squeeze bottle.

Bowl #15 – A layer of thick white slip with banding and vertical stripes dragged through.

Bowl #16 – Thick white slip with vertical drag stripes, and then a thick grooved spiral in the center.

Bowl #17 – Getting a little ” crazy” with slip, we added some black slip for an ombre gradation effect, an then a spiral dragged through it.

And for now they’re all under plastic in my studio… waiting for a little more detailing…
and who knows?… “maybe” a little stamping here & there???



Categories: classes, platters, stamped

So then this happened tonight!!!
I subbed for the Thursday night Soda Firing Class at Lillstreet.
We did a lot of chatting, solving all of the question of the pottery world…
and did a little stamping along the way!

Categories: classes, flowers, vases

Another beautiful piece finished from our Lillstreet Throwdown pottery class… a sweet vase made by Jon during our “decorate a cylinder with one crazy tool” challenge! The pink peonies are a nice touch too. Well done Bucky!!!

Categories: bowls, classes, mugs, porcelain

It’s always fun to see finished work by some of my students… even if it is MONTHS later!!! Like these pieces that Dave finally got around to glazing. Beautiful porcelain pieces made during out Lillstreet Pottery Throwdown class back in January! And I totally get it… I have a tendency to let my bisque pile up as well as my least favorite part of the process is glazing!!!


Categories: classes, stamps

Last Tuesday in my pottery class, some of my students ended the night with a little stamp-making seminar! We talked about how to make them, what to keep in mind design-wise… and how they should just make a LOT of stamps with the hope that they’ll run across a few that they love using!

Categories: classes, food

Last night in my pottery class, our treats were “out of this world”!!! Thanks to Jacob & John for bringing in the newest OREO flavor… Marshmallow Moon!!! Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the first moon landing. Didn’t really taste all that different… with no marshmallow gooieness that I hoped for… and that creme color is a little off-putting… and yet we still finished them off!!!

Categories: classes, food, lillstreet

Last night we kicked-off the Lillstreet Summer session of pottery classes with my Tuesday night Beginning & Advanced Beginning Wheelthrowing class. Once again I have a great group… can’t wait to see where the next ten weeks takes us… and of course we had to kick it off with some yummy chocolate goodness!

Good thing I pedaled BEFORE class…


Categories: classes, flowers, garden

For the final pottery class of every session, I challenge my students to make a certain item during the class, finish and bring it in for our “trading-stealing-exchanging” game. This time we went with flowerpots with a plant in it… and they were all great… okay, so there were two that didn’t quite make it through the final glaze kiln… but a GREAT GAME and a GREAT SHOWING from my class. A wonderful ending to another session of wheelthrowing classes!

Here’s Jen’s flower pot… and the one I cam home with after the game! LOVE IT!!!

Okay, so two of them didn’t quite make the deadline…
and didn’t make it through glaze kiln in time for our exchange game.
So now I guess it’s a DIY flowerpot… after the fact.

My partial TA Claire’s flower pot…

My regular TA Susan’s flower pot…

And here’s MY contribution to the game…
wheelthrown, stamped & glazed now with a Sago Palm taking residence.



Categories: classes, food

Last night in my pottery class, we celebrated our last class with a potluck… this time with a THEME!!! They decided since we made chip & dip bowls at one point, we should do an ALL DIPS potluck… with a twist. The challenge was that your dip had to start with the first letter of your first name. So I went with a “Gooey Ghiradelli & Grahams” combo!!!