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

Since we’re in-between class sessions, I thought this morning might be a good chance to glaze my past class demo pieces. My students know all-too-well how much I “love” glazing and how my pots tend to pile up! Too many glazes. Too many options. Too many ways for the glaze to “ruin” my pots after I’ve employed some of my “control issues” to get them to this point.

Categories: bowls, classes

Tonight was the last class for Beginning & Advanced Beginning Wheeltrowing class.  We ended with a great potluck and a fun “White Elephant” trading-exchanging-stealing game. Everyone brought in a bowl they had made, and then went home with someone else’s. I was excited to come home with this beauty by Kit… a charming stoneware bowl that she carved using my new Zebra Wood Carving Tools from CI Industries.

Categories: classes, garden, pottery, soda-fired, stamped

Tonight was the final class for my “Simply Soda” students. Ten weeks of classes and soda-firing fun with mixed results. They’ve enjoyed the challenge and learned a lot about the variables of soda-firing. To finish off our final class, we had a fun potluck feast along with our “Plant & Planter Trading-Exchange Game.” So each student brought in some food… and the planter they made during class with a plant they chose to coordinate with their flower pot.

So here are the plant participants in our fun little trading-exchanging-stealing game!

A beautiful orchid & flower pot by Stacey…

A charming small duo of an African violet & succulent twosome by Taylore…

A ponytail palm and ridged planter by Katie…

Some “unknown plant” in a beautiful flower pot by Jackie…

A round disc succulent and soda-fired flower pot by Ed…

A recently pruned, and soon to bloom? plant in a flower pot by Cecelia…

A sleek wall vase with a miniature mum plant inside by Emily…

A small orchid in a water-erosion-relief pattern flower pot by Patty…

And my stamped & soda-fired planter with beautiful variegated low-light plant…

And then Ryan, Taylore’s better-half, didn’t want to be left out of the fun. So even though he’s not really part of this class (he’s actually in my Tuesday night class), he decided to bring his own “plants” to trade in the game. So he worked up a batch of “dirt” for the potluck! Yummy gummy worms in chocolate pudding and chocolate cookie crumbled “dirt.”

 

 

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Categories: classes, garden, soda-fired, stamped

Tomorrow night my “Simply Soda” class is wrapping up and we’ve got a little challenge going on! For our final class this session, we decided to do a “White Elephant” trading swapping game for handmade planters. So the plan is that each student had to make a soda-fired planter during this session, bring it to the last class and trade it for another one. It was my students who went one step further and decided we should add a plant our planters BEFORE the trade!!! So I just planted mine for tomorrow’s class…

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Categories: classes, mugs, textures

This past Saturday, I substituted for another wheelthrowing intermediate class…
and showed them all how to make the textured slab & wheelthrown combo mugs.
So here’s another batch from class that I will dip in a thin flashing slip, dry, bisque fire
and then send through my next soda kiln!

 

Categories: bowls, classes, wheelthrowing

This week in class was my favorite demo of the entire session!!!
Making bowls on purpose instead of a cylinder gone bad… and then altering & decorating.

My bowl demo has a three-part approach.
First, to show them how to make nice, smoothly rounded bowls instead of settling for a cylinder gone bad. So we have a nice curve in the interior instead of a flat bottom and corners like a cylinder.

Second, to introduce them to colored slips as another “tool” for surface decoration to make their pots more special & fun.

Third, to get them to play with their clay more. To realize that is not as “precious” as they think it is. To get over it. Pinch, flute, flare, squish, whatever. Do something fun with your pot to make it your own!!! Any one can make a plain round both. Make it special. Make it yours!

So we did the throwing demo… and then my students went back to their wheels to start practicing. While they were away, I threw the rest of the bowls… a full bag of clay to make 16 bowls! When I finished throwing them all, we reconvened to do some altering. All of the bowls started out pretty much the same… but after some quick changes, each one was different from the others!!!

Bowl #1 – two simple twisted flutes

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

Bowl #3 – a simple flared flange of a rim.

Bowl #4 – a much deeper flared flange… kinda like that bowl you get a very fancy expensive restaurant where the give you the big bowl with a teeny-tiny nugget of food in the bottom for a very high price!

Bowl #5 – then we combined fluted twists on the flared flange.

Bowl #6 – a simple split rim… pinched back together in four places.

Bowl #7 – another split rim, dented in in four places, and then dented outwards too!

Bowl #8 – a fun little “surprise” flower in the bottom of the bowl made with a metal dragonscaling tool.

Bowl #9 – For this one, my students were excited to have me try a new style. My plan was to cut the rim off in with decorative curves. I started with four curved incisions… and I tossed the cut-off parts into the splash pan. But then someone suggested I use the cut-off parts somehow. So I pulled them out, rolled them a bit and decided to add them on as handles. Unfortunately, the clay cut-outs were a bit gooey, and I didn’t score & slip them on… so I will be peeling them off and adding better handles later.

And then I introduced colored slip as a decorative accent…

Bowl #10 – a simple coating of thick white slip on the interior of the bowl. My plan for later is to do some decorative carving through the slip to reveal the darker clay in the design.

Bowl #11 - a simple layer of thick white slip and a rounded tool dragged through while the wheel was spinning to get this mesmerizing spiral effect.

Bowl #12 – another layer of thick white slip and some “finger painting” squiggles while the wheel was still spinning.

Bowl #13 – thick white slip with a spiral and some simple banding.

Bowl #14 – thick white slip with some chattering through the slip. Steady rhythmic tapping of a plastic rib through the slip to show the darker clay. Tapping, spinning and moving up all at the same time to get this great design.

Bowl #15 – a flared flange covered with thick white slip… and then some simple finger drags through it to create a patterned rim.

Bowl #16 – a layer of white slip, and then a layer of blue mazzerine slip over part of it for a groovy ombre effect.

So for now they’re wrapped up under plastic… soon to be stamped, carved, detailed and more!

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Categories: classes, lillstreet, summer camp, terra cotta

CHESS CAMP at LILLSTREET  :  Monday, July 10 – Friday, July 14  :  9:00am-3:30pm

Are your kids looking for a fun Summer Camp for the week after 4th of July??
Well, we will once again tackling thematic Chess Sets with one of my favorite Summer Camps at Lillstreet Art Center. We’ll spend the week making thematic chess sets… handbuilt chess pieces with whatever theme the kids want!!! That’s a LOT of pieces to design & build… all building up to the big climax of actually playing chess with the complete set they’ve designed & built all by themselves! And they get to play with ME!!! How cool is that?!

Click here for more information or to register your kids!!! Only a few spots left!

Categories: classes, mugs

Tonight was the second class for some of my Beginning Wheelthrowing students…
and they’ve already finished up their first batch of mugs! We’re off to a great start!!!

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Categories: classes, food

This week we kicked-off the summer session of classes at Lillstreet with some more new OREO’s!!! I’m still a bit unsure of the “Thins”… you just need to eat twice as many, right?!!!

As for the coconut… tastier than I expected.
Although someone said it tasted like suntan lotion..
let’s just say that still didn’t stop us from finishing them!!!

Categories: classes, mugs, process, stamped, summer camp

It’s the third day for my Summer Campers and today they had to “finish up” their stoneware pots. So we did some trimming, some stamping, some adding of handles and colored slip detailing. Never too soon to start stamping, right???