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

Last night was the first night of our new “season” of THE GREAT LILLSTREET THROWDOWN! A fun class full of challenges, contests & projects! To kick-off the “season” I challenged them with both wheelthrowing & handbuilding tasks with a geometric twist… and a bit of multitasking! The challenge was a wheelthrown sphere, a 6-inch slab-built cube, and a 12-inch coil-built cone. Each with a limited time frame, as the challenges start to “pile-up” on each other as the night went on.

I always enjoy watching how my “contestants” approach a challenge, manage their time, and finish it all off in the end. It was a fun night & a fun challenge… and they all did great!!! We’re off to a great start.

So they started off with wheelthrowing a perfectly round sphere!

Part way into their allotted time for the sphere… I stopped the clock, called them over, and they found out about having to make a 6-inch cube with slabs. So now they had TWO projects to work on… multi-tasking & considering how to best utilize their limited time!

A little further into the challenge… we stopped the clock one more time… wished Melanie a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!… and then added a third challenge. They now had to also make a 12-inch tall coil-built cone!!!

So they now had all three challenges… and some more time to multi-task… so they kind of bounced around the place trying to finish all three in time!!!

At the end of the time, we pulled all three pieces together for critique & judging. We chose our top sphere, top cube & top cone… as well top trio!

Okay, so maybe one of the cones didn’t quite get finished in time… but bonus points for getting so creative with it!!!

But then there was one last-minute challenge… a little homework for the team! The cubes are not quite done… their “homework” is o take their cubes homes and do some creative textural carving on them for judging next week!

Categories: challenge, handbuilding, stamped

Here’s my December chain for the 2021 Monthly Chain Challenge… stamped, glazed & painted. It’s gone through a few variations, but now it’s gold & done!!! So much fun to finish the monthly challenge… the brainchild of my friend Sarah Chapman. Originally intended for metalsmiths, but FUN for me too!!!

#chainchallenge2021 – #handmadechain – #chainlinks2021

Categories: challenge, handbuilding

I decided that the unstamped rings of my chain were a little too plain… so I decided to add a little shine to them!!! A little bit of metallic glimmer can only help make my “final” chain of the year-long challenge a bit more special!!!

#chainchallenge2021 – #handmadechain – #chainlinks2021

Categories: challenge, handbuilding, stamped

Eleven out of twelve… only one to go… so I’ve been working on my “last” chain for the Monthly Chain Challenge. This is what it was looking like while I was constructing it in my studio.

#2021chainchallenge – #handmadechain#chainlinks2021

Categories: handbuilding, soda-fired, stamped

Hard to believe it’s the last day of November… and therefore time for another handmade chain for the “Chain Of The Month Challenge.” So here’s November’s entry… fresh out of the soda kiln. Fired in a “medium” soda area so that the links wouldn’t fuse together… and yet still get enough soda exposure for some fun flashing effects! Number eleven… can’t believe we just have one more to finish off the year?!


Categories: handbuilding, mugs, stamped, textures, wheelthrowing

Racing towards some deadlines as I try to get a few last-minute pieces made for this weekend’s soda kiln… like these “hybrid” mugs which are a combo of wheelthrowing & handbuilding techniques.

Categories: challenge, handbuilding, soda-fired

Celebrating the end of October with another entry in monthly Handmade Chain Challenge! This time with a handbuilt soda-fired hexagon chain that now lives on the side of a patio deck… draped, swagged & interacting with the plants. Can’t wait to see it drifted with snow… sadly, these plants aren’t going to last much longer!!

#2021chainchallenge – #handmadechain – #chainlinks2021

Categories: handbuilding, holiday, ornaments, stamped, textures

It’s early October… but it’s never too early to make another batch of holiday star ornaments, right?!

Categories: handbuilding, summer camp

Hard to believe that we’re already in the last week of Summer Camp… ending on a high note with my favorite CHESS CAMP!!! With each kid making their own thematic chess set out of terra cotta! Lots of parts… lots of pieces… and hopefully a LOT of “scoring & slipping”. If not, we’re going to be in a LOT of trouble as these pieces start to dry!

Categories: art fair, artists, collaborations, handbuilding

Looks like Cory McCrory has started adding a splash of color to her pieces in her studio! Can’t wait to see how these get finished… and how they’ll work together with my parts of this collaboration project. One of the best parts of ART IN THE GARDEN is the collaborations between a bunch of talented friends! A fun grassroots art fair in Glenview, Illinois… coming soon on September 11th & 12th.

For more info in ART IN THE GARDEN