Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: handbuilding, summer camp, terra cotta

After getting some “real tools” from my studio, my Summer Campers put their hands to work making some incredible terra cotta planters on Monday… glazing them on Tuesday. I have a small group of kids this week, but they’re still kickin’ it out of the park!!!

Categories: handbuilding, summer camp, terra cotta

Friday was a very busy day in my Sculpture Camp… everyone trying to finish up their sculptures & get ready for our Gallery Show. But also… the kids’ terra cotta birdhouses came out of the kiln too! I think they had kinda forgotten about them after working on their huge plaster sculptures… but once they saw the birdhouses, they were VERY EXCITED!!!

Categories: handbuilding, summer camp, terra cotta

This past week at summer camp, I taught a class called “SCULPTURES SMALL TO LARGE.” So we started the week with a fun clay project… constructing thematic terra cotta birdhouses and painting them with colorful glazes. It was a great group of kids… including two that had done the camp before, and came back for another round of Sculpture Camp with ME!!!

Categories: handbuilding, mugs, summer camp

This past week in Summer Camp, my kids were Wheelthrowing for the most part… but on Thursday my morning kids switched to handbuilding. Sure, they “could have” made anything, but I gave them a challenge. I told them that I wanted them to make two mugs with a theme that ties them together. Some of the themes they chose?… cookies & milk… fruit & veggies… earth & moon… dragon & dinosaur… cat & dog… and so on…

Once the mugs were built, the kids then switched to painting them with colored slips. Once done, they’ll dry and get bisque fired… and then someone at Lillstreet will be glazing them with clear glaze after camp ends. The kids will need to come back about two weeks after camp to pick up their masterpieces!

And then once they were done, we set them aside so the slip could dry a bit… and put them together in their “sets” of two!

Categories: glaze, handbuilding, mugs, stamped

Okay, so I know that this little “mug-orange-mug trio” is the result of a little kiln incident where they got fused together during our Lillstreet Throwdown class… so sorry Tracy!

But I will say… it makes me so happy to see them still on Tracy’s shelves at Lillstreet. And the number of people who stop by and actually touch the orange to see if it’s real… only to find out it was made out of clay… and then the surprise when the two mugs lift up with it when they grab the orange!!! So funny!!!

Categories: handbuilding, summer camp

This past week at Summer Camp, my kids did wheelthrowing for the first half of the week, but switched to handbuilding to finish up. Their “challenge” was to make two handbuilt mugs that represented two different animals that somehow tied together. Oddly, we had quite a few platypuses… or is that platypi?… NOPE!but I think it has something to do with “Phineas & Ferb”???

Categories: handbuilding, mugs, process, production, stamped, textures, wheelthrowing

Doing some trimming on my latest batch of hybrid mugs… making the “wheelthrown” part look even more like a nicely trimmed wheelthrown mug.

Have I mentioned lately how much I LOVE trimming?! It makes such a difference…

Categories: handbuilding, mugs, process, production, stamped, textures

Checking my calendar… and hoping I can squeeze in just one last batch of hybrid mugs… combo wheelthrown & handbuilt mugs. They’re kind of assembled… but still need to be trimmed & handled…dried “kinda” fast… and bisque-fired so I still have time to glaze & wad them for next weekend’s soda kiln. It’s hard to get this studio stuff done when my “fingers are crossed”!!!

Categories: challenge, classes, creativity, handbuilding, tiles

The final “surprise” challenge for my LILLSTREET THROWDOWN class was to interpret five different words onto five different tiles. They each received the same words & a blank tile, and then had fifteen minutes to “represent” the word on each tile. The words were PAISLEY, NOSTALGIA, CHAOS, FESTIVE and JUXTAPOSITION. Always fun for me as the observer to watch each of them approach a challenge in different ways – both in interpreting the word and their handbuilding approach & techniques!






Categories: challenge, classes, creativity, handbuilding, tiles

On the final night of the LILLSTREET THROWDOWN, my students came in thinking they were pretty much done except for some critiques, judging & points… but they were WRONG!!! I surprised them with one last challenge… decorating tiles with only 15 minutes per tile.

And oh, but wait there’s more...
each of their five tiles had to each represent a different given word…
chosen by me!