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

As Part Two to Tuesday night’s glazing demo… I challenged my students to glaze sixty cylinders in all different glaze combinations & techniques. They’re always talking about how they get overwhelmed when glazing, that each pot is too “precious” to experiment, and that they don’t see enough finished results to really make an informed decision. I’m taking all of that out of the way and I provided them with sixty bisqued cylinders to glaze… none of them “precious”!

We’re looking forward to seeing the results and comparing them to the notes we took for each one! Even if half of them turn out as a good combo I’ll be excited. They all embraced the challenge as they dipped, double-dipped, bubbled, splattered and glazed all of the cylinders. We’ll see soon enough how they all turn out!

Categories: lillstreet, mosaic

The sun finally came out today!!!
And a new garden of flowers has started blooming in the back stairwell at Lillstreet Art Center… thanks to the mosaics master Rochelle Borrett and the kids of ArtReach Chicago.

And still a work in progress…

Categories: kiln firing, lillstreet

Well, the soda kiln has been re-built at Lillstreet. So excited to get it back in action with a first “christening” classroom firing this weekend. Always fun to see the “clean” bricks become soda-glazed after that first firing. Huge thanks to everyone who did the work to make this kiln re-build a swift reality!

Categories: artists, lillstreet, porcelain

It was so much fun to see one of my current pottery students showing off a bit! Tonight was the Opening Reception at iD Chicago in Bucktown for new ceramic pieces by Shannon Steele-Knuckles. It was great to see the pieces she’s been working on – all thrown on the wheel and then altered, glazed and altered again. Using layers of glazes, underglazes & some sandblasting to get her beautiful finishes. She was so passionate & inspiring when she talked about her work it was contagious. Beautifully done Shannon!

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Categories: kiln firing, lillstreet

SO glad I squeezed my last firing in before they tore down the soda kiln at Lillstreet.
Just another kiln rebuild for our faithfully fired, fired and fired again for years.
New & improved soda kiln coming soon in just a couple weeks!

 

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Categories: classes, lillstreet

A huge Thank You to all of my students who made The First Annual LILLSTREET THROWDOWN class a success!!! I was so impressed by the group’s bonding, camaraderie & healthy competition. So helpful & supportive of each other along the way. Not to mention their creativity & determination with every project. Thanks to each of you for putting up with my crazy games & challenges. You guys ROCKED IT!!! Thanks for being such a good group. You were so much fun to “play with” each week… you made my job easy!

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Categories: classes, lillstreet

After ten weeks of playful pottery competition… we’ve finally come to the end.
The Closing Ceremonies so to speak. After awarding points to the final teapots, and points to the matching cups & saucer, the totals were tabulated for all participants!

And the Winners are…

MOST CREATIVE… for that amazing Airstream Butter Dish…
“Joe Bowl-A”… also known as Jon!

MOST OVER-THOUGHT… for almost always making at least two entries for every challenge…
“Tay-Tay Clay-Wedger”… also known as Taylore!’

BEST TREATS… my favorite award… for those crazy amazing S’mores Cupcakes!!!
“Peggy Burnish-ine”… also known as Patti!

THIRD PLACE… with a total of 300 points…
“Tay-Tay Clay-Wedger”… also known as Taylore!

SECOND PLACE… with a total of 310 points…
“ClaytinaWatergirl” … also known as Catherine!

And in the much coveted FIRST PLACEwith a Grand Total of 372 points…
“Clay Eagerman”… also known as Chuck.

WINNER of the FIRST ANNUAL LILLSTREET THROWDOWN!

 

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Categories: classes, lillstreet, process, production, stamped, teapot

So we’re now in the final week of classes for this session. Which means my LILLSTREET THROWDOWN students are working frantically on their final challenge… okay, maybe a “double” challenge?! A week and a half ago in class they got the assignment of a teapot for the last class. So they all started out making their best renditions… although several of them had never made a teapot before!

Then last week in class I surprised them with one last twist of a challenge. Now that they have a teapot started… now they need to make two cups & saucers to go along with that teapot! All to be “finished” greenware by this Thursday’s last class. SURPRISE!!!

And of course, I too was challenged to make a teapot along with them… so I am! You know I love a good challenge. So I’m working on my teapots…. yes, plural… you know I can’t do just ONE of anything!!!

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Categories: bowls, lillstreet

Tonight is EMPTY BOWLS at Lillstreet Art Center.
We’re once again doing our best to help the local needy with this great charity fundraiser. Many of the Lillstreet studio members, teachers & students have made & donated HUNDREDS of bowls!!! Come tonight from 5:00-8:00pm and you can purchase a bowl and they’ll fill it with homemade soup and bread from First Slice Pie Cafe! Yummy food for a great cause and you get to keep the bowl… when it’s empty again!!!

Categories: classes, lillstreet, wheelthrowing


As we are in Week Nine of ten, we’re coming down to the wire in my LILLSTREET THROWDOWN pottery challenges class. Last night was their final “Quick-Throw Challenge.” Tallest cylinder thrown with just one pound of clay in 15 minutes. A classic challenge testing their basic throwing skills. I think they were all surprised to find out it wasn’t quite as easy as they had assumed.

After the time was up, we did a bit of comparing…
trying to rank them from top to bottom… tallest to shortest for points!

 

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