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

My students this past session LOVED challenges.
They asked for them!!! One night challenges. Long-term challenges.
So as part of our “throwing with intention” discussion… and trying to plan ahead and make what you want to make with purpose & intention… I challenged my class to a Masterpiece Challenge. I came to class with some sealed envelopes. And told my class that anyone who wanted to take on the challenge could. No details. No information. Just say yes… and you’re in. Almost everyone signed on.

Then they chose an envelope without knowing the contents.
And then I explained the game. Inside were images from random famous artists. And their challenge was to make a piece that was “inspired by, representative of, influenced by or in some other way similar to” the artist inside their envelope. I tried to choose famous artists who had a very identifiable style.

So they’ve been working on their pieces for a few weeks. Some of them made it to the final class, while others just didn’t quite make it done in time. I know there are a couple pieces still waiting to be fired. But… for the ones that finished, they were SPECTACULAR!!!

RENE’ MAGRITTE as interpreted by Catherine.
The photo doesn’t show it, but… the inside of the lidded jar top is a green apple!!!

GEORGIA O’KEEFFE as interpreted by Taylore.
Pretty literal. Pretty darn amazing!!!

ANDY WARHOL as interpreted by Taylore… double-duty, over-achiever..
From the Warhol “Legs & High Heels” collection…

GEORGE SEURAT as interpreted by Emily.
With s little pointillism with colored stains on Shaner Clear glaze.

FRANK STELLA as interpreted by Ryan.
Three different versions bringing Stella’s work to clay.

WALT DISNEY as interpreted by Stacey.
A wonderful rendition of Ursula from “The Little Mermaid” done as a chip & dip set.
Yes, the dip fits inside her belly!!! Brilliant Stacey!!!

And Melissa’s interpretation of M.C. ESCHER
her largest and most elaborate pottery piece yet!!! Unfortunately, timing got away from her a bit and Melissa’s is still in the greenware stage, but you can tell it’s going to be AMAZING!!!

 

Categories: Chicago, color, creativity

Prisms, rainbows & refractions in Weather Exhibit at Chicago’s Museum of Science & Industry.

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Categories: creativity

Bright & groovy chandelier of beach “clutter” I got to make the other day!
So much fun to brighten up the first couple days of March!

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Categories: creativity, inspiration

Hard to stay gray & gloomy when faced with a box full of bright, rubber duckie beach balls!!!
You’re smiling now, right?!

Categories: creativity

But why am I sitting here waiting for candy, donuts and cookies
to parachute down from the sky?!

Categories: creativity, inspiration, tiles

Some great patterns & color combinations on these painted tiles that I found
at BoHo on West Illinois Street while downtown this morning.

Might be good inspiration for some new stamps???

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Categories: artists, Chicago, creativity

Street art along Ashland Avenue in Chicago… taking a nap on the sidewalk?!

Categories: artists, creativity, friends

Last night was my friend Pam’s 50th Birthday Party!!!
And sure, we could have had a “normal” night out… but that’s not how we fly!
Pam decided to have her party at the Firehouse Art Center in Chicago. She was surrounded by all of her friends… and a lot of flames to play with!!! We all had a chance to do some glassblowing with proceeds going to the ArtReach Program. Such a great idea for her party… and her group of artist friends! So much fun for everyone!!!

So first, you need to decide what colors you want added into the glass. There were bags of colored frits to choose from… a little overwhelming. So many choices… and far too many flames all around as a wonderful distraction!!!

Then you with down with a glop of molten glass on the end of your rod. The glass is pressed into the pan of colored frits so they stick to the glass and begin to melt. Then you poke, snip and swirl the colors with metal tongs. Since I decided to make a paperweight, I knew I wanted to add some cool air bubbles into my glass, so I poked holes deep into the glass.

Another dip of glass… more swirling… more mixing…

Then you finally get to start shaping it into a ball using tongs and a wet wooden “scoop” shaper.

Once the shape is good, you need to make a groove where the piece will be “cut off” the rod.

A little last minute shaping… and then it was time to snap it off the rod, blow torch the bottom edge to smooth it out, and then it went into another kiln for a slow cool down.

And me… a happy camper after playing with fire & glass!!!

My friend Kelly was there too… so here’s her glass “journey” too!
Rolling her glass in the colored frits…

Re-heating the glass to melt it all together again…

Some poking, snipping, swirling… and shaping…

A wet wooden “bowl” shaper to help refine the shape of the molten glass.

And then since Kelly was making a bowl, she got to actually “blow” her glass ball open. While the studio tech was helping with the bowl, Kelly was at the other end of the rod ready to blow and inflate her glass at his command. The coolest part was when her glass was a nice large, round “bubble”… he told Kelly to suck the air out and it pulled in the top half to make a double-walled concave bowl. Pretty amazing!!!

So at this point, all of the bowls and paperweights made last night are still in the kiln cooling down. I’m pretty sure we will get them in the next day or two… and I’ll be sure to post some photos!!!

And again… HAPPY BIRTHDAY PAM!!!
We all had a great time at your party… it was a wonderful idea to party with fire!!!!

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Categories: creativity, family, food

A slightly delayed Christmas gift from my cousins in Minnesota. Looks like they know me a little TOO well!!! Sadly though, Caroline, my Girl Scout cookie connection, has decided not to sell cookies this year. What?! Say it isn’t so… I might need a new hook-up. I’m jones’n already!!!

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Categories: Chicago, creativity

Admiring the vivid colors & strong designs of these stained glass pieces on a grey & dreary day at the Richard Driehaus Gallery of Stained Glass on Chicago’s Navy Pier.

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