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

This week in THE GREAT LILLSTREET THROWDOWN, I figured they’ve had a lot of challenges lately… so it might be time for some fun game time! So instead of another wheelthowing project… we went with CLAY-TIONARY! Basically the classic game of Pictionary, but with sculpting of clay versus drawing on paper! They had so much fun… and surprised me with how competitive it got!!! Not the best “sculptures”… but they were all under a quick time crunch!

Any guesses from their clues?…

1. The Beatles

2. Martian

3. Monopoly

4. Scooby-Doo

5. Royal Flush… yes, that’s supposed to be a crown!!!

Categories: art fair, handbuilding, sculpture

Something “blooming” in my studio today… hoping it stays fresh as we’re just three weeks away from “4×4 : Four Makers” Show. I still need to fire, glaze & fire again. I haven’t quite figured out if this is Plan A, B or C?! I’m working on three different versions… hoping at least one of them works out!

Mark your calendar for this fun pop-up gallery show in Evanston the first weekend of March! March 3rd, 4th & 5th… more details to come…

Categories: handbuilding, process, production

Fiddling around with a little clay tonight… making some leaves… and making some new “plans” hopefully for the “4×4 : Four Makers” Show. Starting small, making more… and trying to figure out where these leaves might end up?! Fingers crossed...

Categories: classes, handbuilding, stamps

I’ve made a LOT of clay stamps over the years… so why not challenge my LILLSTREET THROWDOWN students to do the same?! So last week in class, they were each tasked with making three handmade clay stamps during class. Easy enough, right?!

Except for the fact that they had to choose three random words sight-unseen… and then make a stamp that represented each word!!! Not too tough… except for the fact that they couldn’t even “test” their stamps to see how they did until they dry & are bisque fired. Some of them were pretty darn thick, so they’re going to take awhile to dry fully!

Categories: challenge, classes, handbuilding

The fifth challenge this week for my LILLSTREET THROWDOWN students was to roll the longest coil possible with one & a half pounds of clay. Same rules apply… if a piece breaks off, you can continue to roll the longer piece, but they could not squish it back on! Congrats to to Katie, Aaron & Claire who rolled their coils longer than the table… and had to make the bend!

Categories: challenge, classes, handbuilding

This past week during the GREAT LILLSTREET THROWDOWN, we started with a “blind weighing” of clay challenge… where they each had to cut off four pieces of clay without the benefit of a scale. After they had guessed at the right weights, we checked them on the scale and rated them on the variance! The three people closest to the correct weights got the points!

Once they had the four balls of clay “correct”… we started with some basic handbuilding skills! First up… pulling the largest slab of clay on the table. No slab roller. No rolling pins. Just the largest continuous slab… and if a piece broke off, they were not allowed to squish it back on! Let gravity do the work… stretch that clay thin & wide!!!

Categories: artists, clay, collaborations, handbuilding, wheelthrowing

So I had a little “summer camp” situation in my studio over the summer. My friend Kristen asked if her kids could stop by for a little “private” summer camp experience in my studio. I’ve known the kids forever… so of course I said yes. Although I haven’t really done much with them since they took my Lillstreet Chess Camp a couple years back.

We started with some wheelthrowing lessons, and then they each gave it a try. AJ went first, followed by Lizzy. I think they were both a little surprised that it wasn’t quite as easy as it looks!

But then I also “flipped the script” a bit on them… and told them they would have a handbuilding project as well. They thought they would be able to make whatever they wanted…. but, oh no, that’s not how I play!

I think they had all kinda forgotten about a little drawing that AJ had done back when he was in second grade. He was trying to raise money to buy himself a new set of LEGO’s… and his mom Kristen set-up a little gallery show for him to show-off his artwork. I purchased this drawing at that gallery show… and have had it in my studio ever since.

So I pulled it out… and challenged them each to make a handbuilt “cup” that was “inspired” by AJ’s monster drawing from so many years ago.

On their next visit, they trimmed their wheelthrown pieces, and finished working on their handbuilt monster cups. The final touches were put on with some colored underglazes. Once they dry, I will bisque fire the monster cups and glazed them with a clear glaze. Their wheelthrown pots will be glazed as well… to match their color choices of course!

As you can see, Lizzy went for a more literal approach in building her cup. I especially liked her use of textures to mimic the patterns in the drawing. While AJ went a little off on his own “version” of the monster… with a great triple-eye & vertical mouth situation!

So much fun playing with these kids… they were so much fun. Glad we could work out this Mini Summer Camp this summer… two days of clay fun in my studio with AJ & Lizzy!

Categories: handbuilding, terra cotta, The Ghouls Collection

So my “Ghoul” Pirates are coming along nicely… looking even more dashing in color! A few different options for bandanas… and some more details still to be painted like earrings & belt buckles. Some even have swashbuckling swords in their belts! Still on track for the “Big Reveal” of the newest addition to The Ghouls Collection this weekend at ART IN THE BARN in Barrington!

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Categories: handbuilding, process, production, terra cotta, The Ghouls Collection

So the past couple days I’ve been swarmed by pirates everywhere!!! Working feverishly in my studio to get these little “Ghouls” done in time for ART IN THE BARN this weekend in Barrington. I finally got them all assembled. Cute in terra cotta brown… even cuter in color, but still painting!

Categories: handbuilding, terra cotta, The Ghouls Collection

So today is NATIONAL “TALK LIKE A PIRATE” DAY!!!aaarrgh Matey!!!

So what better day to “reveal” the doodle & the first prototype of this year’s new addition to The Ghouls Collection?! Sure, he’s cute now… but wait until he’s all painted in colors!!! They’ll be “sailing in” to “plunder” ART IN THE BARN this weekend!!!