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

Just when they thought they were done
as a fun little challenge for my LILLSTREET THROWDOWN class, I decided to divide them into teams of two for a little clay game. Kinda like PICTIONARY… but with clay instead of paper & pencils. Hysterical to watch this play out… as we were adding a few extra points that I was hoping would break a tie in the class standings.

Any idea what these two “insta-clay-drawings” might be?…

Lillstreet Art Center.
See the pot inside the building? Too funny!

Categories: classes, handbuilding

After building cubes in class last week, my LILLSTREET THROWDOWN students were challenged to turn them into “traditional” building blocks. One side of the block had to feature a letter they chose randomly “from-a-hat” & another side had to be a sgraffito-carved animal that starts with the same letter. The remaining sides had to be carved, slip trailed and decorated with the theme!

Dana’s set of building blocks…
L is for LION. T is for TIGER. O is for OTTER. Y is for YAK.

Donna’s set of building blocks…
Z is for ZEBRA. D is for DACHSHUND. N is for NIGHTCRAWLER. P is for PIG.

Taylor’s set of building blocks… not quite so colorful, not quite so done yet…

Melanie’s set of building blocks… unfortunately, not quite done yet…

Helen’s set of building blocks…
E is for ELK. V is for VOLE. A is for Aardvark. W is for WOLF.

Christine’s set of building blocks…
S is for SHEEP. C is for CRAB. A is for ALLIGATOR. H is for HORSE.

Tracy’s set of building blocks…
U is for URCHIN. Q is for QUETZAL BIRD. W is for WHALE. X ids for X-RAY FISH???

Categories: handbuilding, sgraffito, tools

Doing a little carving with a DiamondCore Tool on one of the sides of my blocks… sgraffito decorating was one of the guidelines I put forth for this week’s LILLSTREET THROWDOWN challenge!

Categories: handbuilding

Knowing that there would be “more to come” for the handbuilt blocks my students made for their latest THROWDOWN challenge… I knew I had to make a couple to play along!

Categories: flowers, handbuilding, porcelain

Apparently Spring has sprung… at least from these pretty little flowers that popped up in the kiln room! They’re from a sweet little workshop that Mary Drabik taught at Lillstreet. Yes, it’s warmer out today… but we’re still a ways away from cheery flowers like these!!! I’ll take ‘em wherever I can get ‘em!

Categories: classes, handbuilding

After the huge success of the Matryoshka Challenge… it was time to tackle the next challenge in our LILLSTREET THROWDOWN. We went back to handbuilding, with the task of building four “perfect” 3-inch cubes in seventy-five minutes! Sounds like plenty of time… but apparently not so much… as they had to finish cubes & paint a layer of colored slip on one side before they could call them done! And we all know by now… that “done” doesn’t every really mean DONE! More to come…

Categories: handbuilding, television, tiles

This week on the British TV show “The Great Pottery Throwdown”, the contestants were tasked with making 40 handmade tiles in two hours. Their goal was to make enough tiles to tile a small fireplace surround… with a twist of the tiles needing to have some 3-dimensional designs on it. They did the project in two parts… first making the tiles, then they let the tiles stiffen up a bit.. and then back to add the details. Some people struggled with smooth, flat tiles… while others succeeded… and others decided to make their challenge even harder by going to hexagon or triangle tiles! So instead of forty squares, Claire had to make 80 triangles, while Matt went for 102 hexagons!

To watch the episode on YouTube… click here.

While their tiles were set aside to dry for awhile to stiffen up, they did a quick Throwdown Challenge… where they had to throw a large terra cotta chimney… by assembling two large cylinders together for the large chimney cylinder.

The contestants received their glazed & finished tiles back from the kiln guy, they had to assemble, install & gorut their fireplace surrounds… and then stand there for judging!!!

Categories: classes, handbuilding

After making their sets of four matching side bowls… I kind of figured that they now needed a way to get the food from the bowls into their mouths… so this week’s Flash Challenge was to make four “matching” utensils to go with their set of bowls. Spoons… forks.. sporks… whatever. They had sixty minutes to make all four pieces.. which sounded like a lot of time when we started… but turned out not to be so much as they time ran out!!!

And then Jen decided to go a different direction to go with her ramen bowls…
by making a set of chopsticks which just seemed fitting!!!

When they had finished making their spoons… we decided to play a little game…
keeping with the “theme” of SPOONS!!!