Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: animals, art fair, artists, collaborations, creativity

One of the funniest collaborations at ART IN THE GARDEN last weekend were the funky chickens made by Cory McCrory & Jill Miller. As artists we love the chance to “play” with another artist to see what happens! I’m sure these two had a great time creating these fantastic creatures… with Jill dyeing the fabric & Cory making the ceramic body parts!!!

Categories: color, creativity, summer camp

So I did a whole lot of laundry this morning… and after ten weeks of Summer Camp… I realized that I have a LOT of tie-dyed t-shirts!!! MORE IS MORE… and it apparently applies to tie-dye too, right?!

Categories: artists, creativity

Always fun to receive the next packet of postcards from The Postcard Club! A little retro flashback fun of actually putting pen to paper & mailing out some postcards through snail mail. This quarter we received these beautiful cards with a creative twist… kind of a woodcut, retro illustration style!

Categories: creativity

It’s the end of the month, and time for another installment of the 2021 CHAIN CHALLENGE. Another handmade chain piece… this time made out of a bicycle inner tube and possibly the longest inner tube valve stem ever as the pendant. I think it turned out nice, even though I was a little “Presta” for time!!!… get it???

#2021chainchallenge
#handmadechain
#chainlinks2021

Categories: creativity, soda-fired, special events

Finishing off the month… just in time… with my May entry in the 2021 CHAIN CHALLENGE. A collection of handmade & soda-fired beads with copper wire work to string them all together!

#2021chainchallenge
#handmadechain
#chainlinks2021

Categories: creativity, sculpture

Celebrating a little TEXTURE TUESDAY with a wonderful cement-block carving I found along the lakefront. In Chicago, a lot of the shoreline is protected by oversized cement blocks that also make seating areas. This block has been carved with some traditional imagery… no idea how long something like this would take?!

Categories: artists, creativity, friends

And of course, a new twist-tie necklace needs a lovely supermodel to properly show it off! Huge thanks to my pal Judy for volunteering to help this afternoon at Lillstreet… she was the first of the three I asked to volunteer. See Catherine & Patti what fun you missed out on… should’ve volunteered sooner… HA!!!

April 2021 Handmade Chain Challenge… DONE!!!
#2021chainchallenge – #handmadechain – #chainlinks2021

Categories: clay, creativity, inspiration

Well, it’s the last day of April… and the last day for Monthly Handmade Chain Challenge entries! As I’ve been working hard in the studio lately… I saw some “inspiration” right in front of me on my pegboard. So I decided to make this month’s handmade chain out of the wire twist ties that all of my clay comes in from Continental Clay!

And what’s the perfect pendant for a clay-bag-twist-tie-necklace?…
well, a miniature bag of clay with its own twist tie of course!!!

#2021chainchallenge – #handmadechain – #chainlinks2021

Categories: creativity, music

Just a little something to brighten your rainy day! This is crazy cool… and amazing how LONG this train track must be to make this happen! A Guinness World Record!!! The amount of time & creativity it took to do this is astounding! Looks like the rest of the miniature trains, planes & locations are pretty amazing too!!!

But my real question… what happens when the melody starts to sound a little “flat” from evaporation?… how long do you think it takes top “top ’em off” and do they have a professional water glass tuner on staff???

Categories: creativity, handbuilding, process, production

Last night in my Intermediate Wheelthrowing class, we did a little “exchanging-trading-stealing” game… and the theme was FLOWER POTS with a plant inside! We all had a great time sharing our flowerpots & plants. And THEN… Christine pulled out another bag all wrapped up for ME!!! What?!… A late entry into the “sharing game” just for me?!

And it turned out to be this AMAZING cookie creation!!! Sure, she might just know a little somethin’-somethin’ about my OREO addiction?!

Christine is fairly new to the handbuilding… with this being only her SECOND handbuilding project ever. Never one to shy away from a good challenge, Christine took it upon herself to build this amazing flower pot! Even better – working at her new make-shift pottery studio workspace at home in her kitchen! Recently pulled together due to the pandemic restrictions and her ever-growing addiction to clay!

So here’s a little step-by-step process story for you… with special THANKS to Christine for sharing all of her process photos!

It looks like Christine started by enlarging the famous OREO pattern embossed on the cookies… and then cut them out to use them as templates & stencils for the project.

Using the patterns, Christine cut out the logo from a slab of clay. Funny thing… I was right there while Christine was rolling out her slabs on the Lillstreet slab roller.. and had no idea what she was working on! And then she continued to cut out all of the other parts & pieces. Good thing Christine has a nice “damp box” at home to store all of these pieces as she’s working on them.

Using the original stencils, Christine then transferred the pattern onto the large “cookie” circle disc of slab clay. This process makes it a LOT easier to places the pieces later.

After a LOT of scoring & slipping… the textured & embossed “cookie” was coming along nicely… still waiting for the decorative border of little rectangles. A lot of them!!!

So here are the two oversized “cookies” just waiting for the cream filling… the “container” portion of the flower pot!!!

The flower pot portion was created out of slabs as well… looks like this one might be TRIPLE STUFFED!!!

With a little chunk of sponge to support the cookie walls, the flower pot was assembled and allowed to stiffen up without sagging.

Christine then added some slabs to the bottom as “feet” for the flower pot to stand on… and NOT roll around like a cookie on its side!

While the flower pot was setting up, Christine made a small water trip tray to fit under the flowerpot.

When both pieces were finally dried, they were bisque-fired… bringing out the “traditional” terra cotta coloring we all love!

And then a couple coats of underglaze to give it that special OREO cookie color!!!

But then the triple-stuffed “filling” needed to be painted with white underglaze… using green tape to make nice clean lines between the colors.

All coming together… looking more & more like an OREO cookie!!!

And then a couple layers of glazed sprayed on to give it some shine.

And then it was ready to go back into the kiln for the glaze firing. Huge thanks to Dave Trost for being Christine’s “cohort-in-crime” – helping to facilitate this covert project. Apparently there was a lot of hiding & stashing of this piece so that I wouldn’t happen upon it ruining the surprise. A lot was going on around me… and I had NO IDEA!!!

After the glaze firing, it looked great. Christine apologized a bit for the coloring… bringing up that they have made Blueberry OREOS in the past!!! Sure, the traditional dark brown OREO might have been nice, but the blue hue makes it a bit more fun & magical.

Such a wonderful surprise by one of My Talented Students!!!
THANK YOU AGAIN CHRISTINE!!!