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

Online registration for the new Winter Session of classes at Lillstreet Art Center opens today!!! I will again be teaching my Beginning/Advanced Beginning Class on Tuesday nights.

And NEW this session… a fun new class based on the BBC reality show “The Great Pottery Throwdown.” Every Thursday night will be filled with challenges, games, contests and all around ceramic shenanigans!

Sign up quick… my classes fill up fast!!!

To register online, click here for Lillstreet Art Center.


Categories: artists, gallery, lillstreet, My Talented Friends

Okay, so here’s the explanation… and a great show in the Lillstreet Gallery Annex by my friend & metalsmith Kelly Novak. Her pieces are incredibly stark, sharp and surprisingly perfect for my week on the B&W Photo Challenge! Lots of metal, black leather and incredible shadows on the walls. And that’s why today I challenge her!!! “INTERVALS” by Kelly Novak through the end of the year.

Categories: classes, friends, lillstreet

Well, I was out of town last week… so I missed teaching my pottery class on Tuesday.
Which just so happened to be Halloween!
Kind of a bummer because I had HUGE Halloween plans for my class… maybe next year?!

Anyway, apparently some of my students had Halloween plans also.
And when they found out I was going to miss our Halloween class, they decided to push their Halloween costume back a week for when I returned. So funny when you wee them all working at the sink…

Yes, I “think” this is flattering?!     I hope…
But they decided for Halloween to dress up as ME!!!
Complete with my shorts, tie-dyed shirt, sandals or Crocs, my IRONMAN tattoo!
They even took it to the smallest of details with a smattering of glitter. Long story…

But here’s the test… can you pick out the REAL IRONMAN???

So much fun in class… I HAVE THE BEST STUDENTS EVER!!!



Categories: lillstreet, porcelain, soda-fired, vases

Here’s a quick peek at the porcelain vases I made and donated for the Lillstreet ArtReach Fundraiser. They had asked for a couple tumblers, but I wanted to do more for the kids. So I offered up some vases for the floral centerpieces… each to be sold off at the end of the event. So if you were one of the lucky folks enjoying an evening of “Art Under The Stars” you would have your choice of one of these vases. A great chance to donate to a great program AND come away with a beautiful “souvenir.”


So hopefully by now, people are enjoying their evening on the Lillstreet Rooftop.
A special evening to support the efforts put forth by the ArtReach Chicago group.
Bringing creativity to the community. Sharing clay, paint and other supplies.
Making art happen all around the City… in places that need a little extra inspiration!

Categories: glaze, lillstreet, stamped, vases

Porcelain vases glazed, wadded, loaded, soda-fired, cooling… and unloading tonight. I can’t wait to see how they turn out before I donate them all to the ArtReach Chicago Fundraiser. I just wish more of them could have made it into the soda kiln so I could have donated even more!!!

For more information about ArtReach and the charitable programs they provide for kids in Chicago… and especially their fundraiser event where you could get one of these vases… click here.



Categories: classes, lillstreet, summer camp, terra cotta

CHESS CAMP at LILLSTREET  :  Monday, July 10 – Friday, July 14  :  9:00am-3:30pm

Are your kids looking for a fun Summer Camp for the week after 4th of July??
Well, we will once again tackling thematic Chess Sets with one of my favorite Summer Camps at Lillstreet Art Center. We’ll spend the week making thematic chess sets… handbuilt chess pieces with whatever theme the kids want!!! That’s a LOT of pieces to design & build… all building up to the big climax of actually playing chess with the complete set they’ve designed & built all by themselves! And they get to play with ME!!! How cool is that?!

Click here for more information or to register your kids!!! Only a few spots left!

Categories: classes, lillstreet, mugs, soda-fired

This past Tuesday night was the last class for my Simply Soda class for the Spring session. My beginning soda-firing students did a great job working through some of the “difficulties” and “unpredictabilities” of firing in the soda kiln. But after ten weeks, we made it to the end and everyone learned a LOT… including me!

To celebrate our last class, we had a little class challenge to finish with. At the beginning of the session, I had challenged each student to make enough mugs to trade one with everyone in class. So each student had to come with ten mugs for the trade… Peter already moved away, so nine… and then we played a little game. Going one person at a time, each student got to pick one of their group to call their won. By the end, everyone’s mugs had found a new home… and they were going home with one mug from each of their fellow students… and me!

So here are MY mugs that were up for the taking! Stamped and soda-fired B-clay.

And then AFTER The exchange, these are the mugs I came home with!!!

This sweet porcelain mug with subtle flashings and two white glaze stripes by Catherine.

A shallow “diner cup” with some great carved details at the bottom by Taylore.

A beautiful tankard mug by Cecelia with butter yellow slip and gray carbon trapping.

A sweet little mug made with B-clay and a Tom’s Purple glaze liner by Patty.

A fun little mug with indented dots across the surface with a Tom’s Purple liner by Katie.

A beautiful grooved mug by Stacey with a wonderful flashing on the mustard slip.

Unfortunately, Ed’s mugs were still in the soda kiln cooling. Just a day short of making the deadline. He participated  in the exchange and promised to fulfill his “trade” end of the bargain soon!

So all in all, I’d say my beginner soda students knocked it out of the park!
A great session… and a great exchange… and great additions to my Mug Collection!!!





Categories: classes, food, lillstreet

One of my students made this incredible Ursula covered chip & dip bowl in my class last session. Last night, Stacey brought it back for our last class potluck. Even better when filled with goldfish crackers, fish cookies and gummy Swedish Fish inside!!! Too funny. Too yummy!!!

Categories: classes, lillstreet, mugs

Last night in my Beginning & Advanced Beginning Wheelthwoing class,
we ended the Spring session with a fun class, potluck snacks and a Double Mug Exchange! At the start of class I challenged my students to make mugs to exchange during the final class. With a small twist… my brand new Beginners needed to make two mugs, but my returning Advanced Beginners needed to make “matching” mugs!!! Here are a “few” of the mugs that were up for grabs last night!!!

And two “individuals” by one of my brand new Beginners… pretty sweet, huh?!

And of course I had to play along too… so here are my contribution
to the Double Mug Exchange… two stamped and cone 6 glaze fired mugs!






Categories: classes, lillstreet, soda-fired

Last night my “Simply Soda” class got their first pieces back from the latest soda firing… albeit the sets of test tiles they made the first week. Lots of “information” for them to process with different slips, glazes and the variations from hi-soda to low-soda. Lots of organizing, comparing to the “legend”, labeling and admiring… some more than others!!!