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… and THEN at the end of class last night, Stacey shows up with this OREO treat from Argentina!!! Layers AND dipped in fudge!!! Tasty… but I still LOVED The Most Stuf more!!!

Categories: classes, food

So I thought my OREOs from Germany would be a hit with my pottery class last night…
and they were… UNTIL Katie showed up with these!!!

Some thought it was too much…
but those of us with the palate of a four-year-old LOVED THEM!!! More is more!!!

Categories: classes, food

When in Germany, shop for OREOs right?
My most “important” souvenir to share with my pottery class tonight.

Including these “new-to-me” OREO Joy-Fills which look like
little crunchy nuggets of yumminess!!!


Categories: classes, lillstreet

While I was in Germany, I missed my LILLSTREET THROWDOWN class.
I planned their projects & homework… and thanks to Lisa for stepping in to deliver the challenges! Looks like I missed a good time. Can’t wait to see the “results” from their homework assignment in class this week!!!

They started with throwing a new cylinder shape for a mug…

And then they switched quickly to handbuilding. While many of them have not done a lot of handbuilding, I thought it would be fun to throw them out of their comfort zone a bit. So they had to make the tallest cylinder out of two pounds of clay… a bit more challenging than you might expect…

After their foray into handbuilding, they went back to their wheels
to throw “the tallest vase”… “the widest bowl”… and “the widest platter.”

And just when they may have thought they were done… the homework assignment!!!
They need to make their mug, add it to the vase, bowl and platter collection
and then do some sort of surface decoration to make them look like a “set.” It will be great to see what they do… especially since I missed the last class so it will truly be a blind judging this week!!!

Categories: classes, stamps

Towards the end of class Tuesday night, we had a little “free time” to sit around, chat and make a bunch of new stamps. Once bisqued, I can’t wait to see what magic my students make with their new stamps!

Categories: classes, food

This week in my Tuesday night pottery class, we were treated with even MORE OREO’s!!!
This time with three new flavors “imported” from Thailand.
Thanks Kate for making class just a little “sweeter.”

Categories: bowls, classes

This week my students really worked it in the Lillstreet Throwdown class. They came into class with their “two matching bowls now trimmed” from last week. Thinking we were going to start with those right away… Oh, but wait… I had another game plan!!!

First we did a quick challenge at the handbuilding tables. I had them each pull a 2-pound slab of clay to make a rectangular slab. The they were challenged to FREEHAND cut with an Xacto four basic shapes. No rulers. No stencils. To templates. Just the Xacto and their best guessimating skills! They were challenged to cut a 5-inch circle. a 4-inch square, a 3-inch equillateral triangle and a 2×10-inch rectangle. Closest ones win points!

Then we pulled out their bowls from last week. Ah ha... back to the expected challenge. They pulled out their “now matching more than before” bowls. We all looked at them, compared them and critiqued some of their strengths & weaknesses. We picked to winners… and then I surprised them with another twist!!! They were to choose one of their bowls to carve a pattern through creating a basket of sorts. They had about an hour and a half for the challenge… which sounded like a lot of time but it flew by fast!

And here’s the REAL challenge…
they had to carve away at least half of the bowl’s weight.
And yes, we actually weighted them before & after!

Grab your tools… grab your bowl… and GO!!!

And then they started carving… and carving… and carving…

And they just kept cutting… just kept carving… so quiet… so focused…

Some of them even pulled out their “fancy” carving tools from DiamondCore Tools. Jake & Dave first tried these in my class when I shared them… and they QUICKLY fell in love with them!!! So now they’ve really “stepped-up their carving games” and now are enjoying the sharp, clean line quality of Diamond Core Tools. Dave may have stepped-up his game… but he also sat-down for the challenge… ON THE FLOOR!!!

And then the carving continued… many of them checking their progress on the scale. Only to find out that they haven’t taken out nearly as much clay as they had thought!!! Realizing that they still have a LONG way to go!!!

Just a few moments before the buzzer went off….
just a few more cuts… just a few more holes…

And then we put the finished bowls down on the table for discussion, critique, judging and admiration! The carved bowls were AMAZING… but I was truly mesmerized by the shadows they created on the tables!

And then the comparison & show-off contest began… as everyone brought their bowls to the table and the class discussion began. Everyone loved the challenge even though it really pushed them out of their comfort zones!!!

A wonderful collection of freshly-carved bowls!!! So many great designs, so much effort & patience. So much for ME to watch all of them working their way through the challenge!

And the Top Two winners?…
Teresa with her elegant “octagonally-carved” bowl…
and Ryan with his bowls full of holes! Not much soup is going to stay in either one?!!!

So that’s it for another wonderful Throwdown class… and it’s only Week Two!!!







Categories: classes, mugs

My pottery class ROCKED it tonight!!!
It was only the second night of our new session… and they’ve already tackled
making MUGS!!! Thrown, trimmed and handles attached…
and ready to move on to bigger & better things next week!


Categories: bowls, classes, lillstreet

Tonight was the kick-off of the Second Annual LILLSTREET POTTERY THROWDOWN class.
I have a great group of students again this time around. Three repeat “throwdown” students and nine new to the challenge!

Tonight’s challenge was to throw one “perfect” bowl in 30 minutes. They thought that was it… but of course it wasn’t. The “twist” was that they needed to throw a second “perfect” bowl to match! Same height, width, diameter, curves, profile, everything! Not as easy as it sounds. Ryan & Jacob walked off with top honors tonight!

Ryan’s matching bowls – one of the TOP TWO sets!!

Jacob checking out his entries in the matching bowl challenge… another TOP TWO winner!

Categories: classes, food

And oh, but wait there’s more!!
My students came into class tonight with about fourteen packages of OREOs!!!
Including this flavor I had never seen?! THEY ROCK!!!…
and we now have plenty of OREOs for the next couple weeks!!!