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

Last night in my pottery class, my students pulled out all the stops with possibly the biggest potluck feast ever!!! We had a theme… retro flashback childhood favorites! I of course had to make my traditional birthday cake… “Mississippi Mud”… a decadent concoction that my Mom used to make every year for my birthday! Chocolate cake with coconut, a layer of marshmallow fluff and then a layer of fudge swirled on top!!!

And YES, I do have the palate of a four year old!!!

And for the record… the leftover cupcakes went to my Summer Campers today…
and the leftover cookies will come with me to camp tomorrow!!! Lucky kids!

Categories: lillstreet, sculpture, summer camp

This week my little Summer Campers have been working hard building large sculptures… photos to come! Tomorrow we finish painting them in the morning and set-up a gallery show for the afternoon. If you’re around town and looking for a fun art experience… c’mon by for the kid’s Sculpture Art Gallery Show at Lillstreet from 3:00-3:30pm in the Kid’s Rooms!

Categories: clay, creativity, lillstreet

If Rene Magritte were a potter…
he would have seen the humor as well. Strange pieces found in the clay reclaim buckets
by the Lillstreet Claymakers!

And a bit of Magritte inspiration…

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Categories: lillstreet, summer camp

Yesterday when I came in early for Summer Camp… I found that one of the adult students had already set-up their “stuff” at one of the pottery wheels. Wow, that’s early… considering it was at last an hour before Lillstreet even opens!!! But imagine “their” surprise when they find out that every wheel in this room (all fourteen of them) were soon going to be taken by a bunch of shall-we-say “energetic” early-teens… with a LOT of terra cotta flying about!!!

Categories: classes, food, lillstreet

Last night we kicked-off the Lillstreet Summer session of pottery classes with my Tuesday night Beginning & Advanced Beginning Wheelthrowing class. Once again I have a great group… can’t wait to see where the next ten weeks takes us… and of course we had to kick it off with some yummy chocolate goodness!

Good thing I pedaled BEFORE class…

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Categories: classes, lillstreet, porcelain, vases

Another wonderful piece fresh from the kiln from our LILLSTREET THROWDOWN class!
Molly’s challenge-winning tulipiere looks even more amazing after glazing!!!

Categories: lillstreet, mosaic

Late afternoon sun shining on the Lillsteet Bricolage Mandala…
and I think I see “something” familiar?… hey, that’s my vase!!!

Categories: classes, lillstreet, sgraffito, vases

Two more “treasures” from our LILLSTREET THROWDOWN challenges class.
This time it’s Patti & Jon… with Patti’s ring tulipiere, and Jon’s “Rocky Raccoon” tray
from the Beatles S&P challenge! Both amazing!

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Categories: lillstreet, vases

Another beautiful challenge piece out of the kiln!
Tatiana’s tulipiere from our LILLSTREET THROWDOWN class came out fantastic…
with some crazy-cool glaze going on there!!! Now it just needs some flowers – STAT!!!

Categories: bowls, classes, lillstreet, production

This week in my Tuesday night Beginning & Advanced Beginning Wheelthrowing class, we tackled making bowls. Yep… making bowls on purpose instead of a cylinder gone bad. I started with my bowl demo… starting with a good interior curve right from the start! After we had covered all of the “basocs” of basic bowls… they went back to their whee;s to start throwing their own bowls. Meanwhile… I continued throwing more bowls. A total of EIGHTEEN “basic” bowls.

When I had made all of MY owls, we re-grouped at my wheel for a little “decorating” FUN!!! My goal for the secodn part of the demo is to encourage them to PLAY WITH THEIR CLAY!!! To do some decorating… to make thier bowls their own. The wheel pretty much makes them round… now they get to make them their own style!!! So I quickly took my 18 “matching” bowls and started doing some quick & simple “tricks” to make them all different & special!!!

Bowl One – Here’s the “basic” bowl.. the starting point for all the others!!!

Bowl Two – Two simple “flutes” to add some flair. One finger inside, one finger outside. pinch and twist.

Bowl Three – And if two flutes are cute, maybe eight would be better?!

Bowl Four – A simple one-inch flange bent out to “widen” the bowl.

Bowl Five – And if one-inch is nice, maybe three inches would be better?!

Bowl Six – And then a combined, bent-out flange and four fluted twists.

Bowl Seven – Using a metal dragon-scaling tool… a simple flower indented in the bottom.

Bowl Eight – A split-rim pinched together in eight places.

Bowl Nine – Another split rim – dented inwards at four places.

Bowl Ten – Another split rim this time dented inwards four times, and outwards four times!

Bowl Eleven – This was last session’s “challenge” bowl… a TRIPLE split rim and then fluted in eight places. My students from last session now refer to this one as the “churro” bowl!

And then I introduced my “beginner’s” to colored slip… and then benefits.

Bowl Twelve – a simple coat of thick white slip  applied and then a spiral dragged through it with the curved end of my wooden knife… which I’ve now been told is called “The Potter’s Thumb.”

We noticed that the thick white slip wasn’t showing up very well for my demo purposes…
so we switched to black!

Bowl Thirteen – A layer of black slip – and then banded rings with “The Potters Thumb.”

Bowl Fourteen – A layer of black slip, and then a chattered pattern made by rhythmic tapping of a rounded rib as the bowl is spinning.

Bowl Fifteen – A layer of black slip, followed by some thick white slip squirt-bottled onto the surface… ala Ryan Greenheck!

Bowl Sixteen – Then using the same squirt bottle, I piped on a white slip spiral.

Bowl Seventeen – Using a couple strips of wet newspaper, I outlined a triangle… layered in some thick white slip, draged my finer through it to make some texture lines and then peeled away the newspaper “stencils.”

Bowl Eighteen – Always up for a challenge… this is the one this session. Stacey was sitting-in on class and she saw this bowl on her Instagram feed. So I tried my best to “mimic” the style… flaring out the flanged rim, denting down the four accent areas, and then piping some thick white slip accents. Coincidentally, Stacey was also the one who challenged me to the triple rim “churro” bowl last session

So for now they’re all “under wraps” in my studio. I think there’s a”very good chance” that there might still be a bit of embellishing & stamping to be done on them… maybe, just maybe?!

 

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