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

And oh, but wait there’s more… Dan brought back a sweet “souvenir” to share with the class. It was kind of a layered chocolate fudge, peanut butter & OREO cookie chunk of yumminess!!!… YES, PLEASE!!!

Categories: classes, food

Well, tonight was the first night of the Fall Session of my pottery wheelthrowing class at Lillstreet… so it only seemed fitting when one of my students brought in these yummy “Fall” treats!!! Thanks Jacob!!!

Categories: classes, friends, IRONMAN, special events, travel, vacation

We woke up early somewhere in the middle of Ohio.
Broke into the second Amish pie… showered and got ready to go.
Repack the car… gear, bike, bags. It’s amazing how much stuff the two of us had
with us for just a week’s trip! And some pie…

In the morning light, we could see that the Day’s Inn was pretty old & tired. But it didn’t matter all that much. I slept well in the bed and that’s really all that mattered. But you could see that the town it was in was kind of closing down, and parts of the hotel obviously were too. Like the pool that looks like it’s been closed for quite awhile… and I’m guessing will never open again!

But the shining morning bright spot was the complimentary breakfast…
and let me just say, I think Aunt Jemima and I are dating now!!!

I mean really, who doesn’t LOVE freshly homemade waffles?!
And after race day you feel like you can eat ANYTHING!!! So I did… twice…
hot fluffy waffles with peanut butter & syrup! Yum!

As we were leaving the little town, Chris decided that this shot might “compensate” for her lack of “Welcome” signs in Pennsylvania & Ohio. Sure, this is a welcome sign, but it’s more fun to keep saying she just missed the other ones!!!

And then the storm clouds moved in again… again, so glad this weather didn’t hit us in Lake Placid. We totally lucked out with AMAZING weather in Lake Placid!!!

At some point, the drive is just that… a drive. And you just drive, and drive, and drive…
Chris is a trooper. And lucky for me, she would rather drive than be the passenger!
And I was more than welcome to oblige!

We did find it funny in Ohio that they are so big into their directional highway arrows!
Like they REALLY want to make sure you’re staying on the right path!!!

And then finally we made it to Cleveland… the “Mistake On The Lake.”

Oh look… the sun was coming back out… and so did the Amish pies!!!

Beautiful blue skies and plenty of farm fields as we were smack dab in the Midwest!
Gotta love good cornfields, soy fields, orchards & vineyards!!!

“Holy Toledo Batman!”

And then more farms… more fields… more clouds & blue skies!

Soon enough we were running out of gas… and we didn’t quite notice it until it was getting REALLY close. Chris has been so good the whole trip to try and refuel whenever we got close to a 1/4 tank. But somehow this time… the “range” of how far you can still go on the gas you have left in the tank went to NOTHING!!! Uh oh…

Luckily, the Service Center was pretty close… pretty sure we could roll in on fumes if we had to! But we didn’t – all good. Made it in easily, re-fueled… and re-filled with more food for lunch!!!

And then more farms… more fun.

Soon enough I had to rub it in… and “prove to Chris” and rub it in a bit more…
that you can indeed get a photo of the Welcome Sign!!!

We were group texting with our friends and one of them pointed out that we were going to cross the time change soon… giving us an “extra” hour… thanks Nancy! We were kind of on a mission to get home as I needed to teach my Tuesday night class at 7:00pm. But the “extra” hour gave us a few options… like searching for Amish pies in Goshen, Indiana. Huge thanks to Rose for dropping that hint… AMISH… PIE!!!

We searched through Goshen, but didn’t find much in the way of Amish. No horse. No buggy. No pie. So we followed some signs and ended up in Shipshewana. Much better right away as the horse & buggies were all around!

And even better… Amish bakery… with LOTS of homemade PIES!!!
If all goes well, this big cherry pie will make it’s way to share with my pottery class tonight!

But it wasn’t just about PIE… as Chris couldn’t resist a package of sugar cookies!
This feeding frenzy has GOT TO STOP!!! But when we get home… not now…

Soon enough… we started seeing signs for Chicago!!! YIPPEE!!!

And in true Chicago fashion.. Welcome to Illinois…. Welcome to Construction!
Even worse, all of these pylon cones and NO construction anywhere to be seen!!!

Then we made it to Gary, Indiana… “The Armpit of the Midwest.”
All too soon the beauty of the rural farms was gone!!!

Back over the Skyway Toll Bridge… and back towards Chicago!!!

Okay, Gary, Indiana might not be too nice, but some of the industrial pieces, parts & architecture are pretty darn cool.

We finally made it back to my place. We unpacked my stuff out of Chris’ car…
and put her stuff back in . Still a LOT of gear. Especially when you need to shlep it all
up THREE FLIGHTS OF STAIRS… just two days after running a full IRONMAN!!!

I got everything upstairs… ran through the shower…
and then I was off to teach my 7:000pm Pottery Class!!! No rest for the weary!
And yes, of course I had to wear my Finisher’s shirt to class. Who wouldn’t?!

So I made it to my Pottery Class in time… with the cherry pie from Amishland Indiana!
Such a great way to finish off the Lake Placid Adventure!!! Sharing my stories & my accomplishments with my pottery class… most of who didn’t know I was even going for it again!

And here’s my other Lake Placid t-shirt…
and the one where they print everybody’s name on the back! Pretty cool…
almost 3,000 athletes listed alphabetically!!!

And yes, there I am in the top left corner of the M… see it?… there I am…

 

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Categories: classes, mugs

As part of our last class, my students participated in a fun little “white elephant” trading-exchanging-stealing game with sets of two matching mugs. They received the challenge early on this session… and for the most part… everyone did an AMAZING job!!! There were just a couple who didn’t quite finish the challenge?!… but still played the game!

CHRISTINE’s set of matching mugs…

MICHELLE’s set of matching mugs…

KATE’s set of matching mugs…

PATTY’s set of matching mugs…

KATIE’s set of matching mugs…

CATHERINE’s set of matching mugs…

And a little close-up to show the subtle detail of Catherine’s glazing on porcelain.

JACOB’s set of matching mugs…

DAN’s set of matching mugs…

CASEY’s set of matching mugs…

TINA’s set of matching mugs…

Oh wait… just to show the scale of Tina’s teeny-tiny cutie-patooties…

DANIELLE’s's set of matching mugs… with a wonderful theme… which coincidentally
& ironically is the set that I ended up with and took home with me last night.
It seemed only fitting!!!

ASHLEY’s set of matching mugs… err, well, just one.
The “matching” mug didn’t quite come out of the kiln in time.
So Ashley’s mug came with an IOU for the second one!

SUSAN’s set of matching mugs…
And yes, Susan is my teaching assistant… which explains the perfect set of matched porcelain mugs with a striking black underglaze geometric design!

JOSE’s set of matching mugs… oh well… a pretty little trio of blue bowls and not mugs?!

ALLISON’s set of matching mugs… err, a nice vase… as apparently Allison didn’t get her cups done in time. I know she’s made a lot of mugs this session, but apparently didn’t get her matching set done in time for class. I think time kinda slipped away from her!

All in all, a wonderful way to celebrate the last class of the session. They all did such a wonderful job. And stepped up to the challenge of “MATCHING” which is not an easy task to take on!

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Categories: classes, food, lillstreet

Last night in my pottery class, my students pulled out all the stops with possibly the biggest potluck feast ever!!! We had a theme… retro flashback childhood favorites! I of course had to make my traditional birthday cake… “Mississippi Mud”… a decadent concoction that my Mom used to make every year for my birthday! Chocolate cake with coconut, a layer of marshmallow fluff and then a layer of fudge swirled on top!!!

And YES, I do have the palate of a four year old!!!

And for the record… the leftover cupcakes went to my Summer Campers today…
and the leftover cookies will come with me to camp tomorrow!!! Lucky kids!

Categories: classes, food, inspiration

Last night in my pottery class, my students rallied with a LOT of sweetness…
both with a sweet sympathy condolence card and a LOT of OREOs to sweeten the sorrow.

Categories: classes, mugs, pottery, process, production, stamped

For the end of this summer session, my Tuesday night pottery students have been challenged to make two matching mugs to trade on our last night of class. Of course, I’ve got to make mine too… so I threw the cylinders in class showing them how to make “matching” pieces… and then I did a bit of stamping and now adding handles! I’m making two sets… just in case something goes “wrong” along the way!!! Just hedging my bets….

Categories: classes, food

Last night in my Tuesday pottery class, I brought in two packs of the newest OREO flavor… Baskin-Robbins Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream! They must have been pretty darn tasty… as BOTH PACKS were gone in an instant!!!

So fast, that I only got ONE cookie!!! Which was totally fine by me…
because there “used to be” a third pack before class… allegedly!

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???

 

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