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

So tonight in my pottery class it was Kate’s BIRTHDAY! And since we can’t “share” a package of OREO’s anymore during these crazy days… I decided we should be able to celebrate with individual serving packages hermetically sealed & safe for everyone.

So I added candles… got ready for class to surprise her…

Only to find out that Kate didn’t come tonight!!! Mwah, mwah, mwah…
So the real question… do I save them for next week?…
or do I eat them… and do I get some bonus points for at least trying???

Categories: artists, classes, lillstreet, platters, textures, wheelthrowing

For class tonight I did a couple demos of throwing plates & platters. For this dinner plate I channeled my inner Steven Showalter… trying out some of his amazing textural slip work! Thanks Steven for being such a great teacher & sharing so much online. Love your work, your techniques & your willingness to share! I just payed it forward!!

Be sure to follow Steven on Instagram – @stevenshowalterpottery

Categories: artists, lillstreet

Last night was the Opening Reception featuring Cassie Tompkins the Textile Dept. Artist-In-Residence in the Lillstreet 2nd Floor Annex Gallery… socially-distant with lots of face masks of course!

I posted photos of the shibori dyed panels before… but the colorful floral patterns are new & very fun!!! Luckily, I get to walk past them every day when I go to my studio! A whimsical way to brighten the second floor!

Categories: classes, lillstreet, wheelthrowing

Here’s your chance to come play in the mud with me!!! New for the Fall session starting next week… I’ll be teaching Advanced Wheelthrowing on Thursday mornings from 10:00am-1:00pm. There’s still a couple openings… even though my Beginning & Intermediate Wheel classes are already booked.

Check out to register for Fall classes!!!

Categories: artists, classes, lillstreet

And not to be out-done… Melanie had a pretty adorable final piece in her Matryoshka set as well. This teeny-tiny little cat jar was just PRECIOUS!!! Also worth the wait… finally glazed after several months of waiting & sheltering-at-home!

Categories: artists, creativity, lillstreet

So, after several month of pandemic, quarantines & sheltering-in-place… many of my students from last Winter’s LILLSTREET THROWDOWN have returned to Lillstreet to finish up the projects they were making during my challenges & contest class. One of the best challenges in class was for the students to build a set of Matryoshka Dolls… with a minimum of five pieces that all nestled in on each other. Most of them got their pieces made… but no one had a chance to glaze them as COVID-19 set-in just at the end of class. No time to finish. No time to glaze. Our final THROWDOWN class happened just days before the lockdown!

But now we’re back at Lillstreet… and students have returned to pick-up where they left off. There’s been a lot of glazing going on. Including Christine who won the Matryoshka Challenge… as well as the overall trophy!

Here’s a look at her Matryoshka set that recently came out of the glaze kiln!

Her set was based on the LILLSTREET THROWDOWN class itself, and some of the bigger challenges along the way! BRILLIANT!!!

Her largest jar was an homage to… well, err… little embarrassing… ME!!!
It’s not everyday you get memorialized in underglaze!!! Complete with my tie-dyed t-shirt & black gym shorts!!

The other exterior sides of the largest jar hosted shelves of pots and the names of everyone in class! Again, honoring the class, the fun , and everyone who took part in Season Three of THE GREAT LILLSTREET THROWDOWN!

Oh… but then it opens up…

And then the second layer was based on the challenge when they all had to make Flower Bricks. Self-enclosed vases with a bunch of holes on the top for the flower stems to go through!

Inside the Flower Brick was a set of Matching Mugs… another one of our weekly class challenges. They were told to incorporate four different patterns & designs on the mugs… stripes, polka dots, paisley and plaid!

Inside the matching mugs, is a set of matching bowls. Another one of our class challenges! Smaller than the actual bowls made for the challenge… but they had to fit inside, right?!

And oh, but wait there’s more…
Inside the stacked bowls was a miniature ceramic OREO cookie!!!

YES!!!… Christine actually made a clay OREO cookie!!!
Okay, so “maybe” I have a bit of an OREO addiction going on.
Perhaps we ate far too many of them during class?!
But good to see that they’re getting honored in Christine’s set!!!

And there it is!!! Well worth the wait!!!
Even though the pandemic is still carrying on… it does feel great to be back at Lillstreet teaching & working. So good to see students back in classes, and campers back at Summer Camp. Happy that we are all making the best of the situation… with more than enough social-distancing, sanitizing, procedures and structural changes within Lillstreet.

Happy to see Christine’s finished set of Matryoshka nesting dolls!
A BRILLIANT concept!!! Thank you Christine for sharing your talents!

Categories: classes, lillstreet, mugs

After the mug “trading-exchanging-stealing” game at my final Intermediate Wheelthrowing class… I came away with these two beauties! One faceted, twisted & textured mug by Christi, and a carved texture & shino swirl mug by Stephanie! Both wonderful additions to my ever-overflowing Mug Collection!

Categories: artists, classes, lillstreet, mugs

As part of the final class of my Intermediate Wheelthrowing class at Lillstreet, I had challenged them to bring two matching mugs for a fun “trading-exchanging-stealing” game! I made my mugs for the game… although I couldn’t make it to the final class as I was at ART IN THE GARDEN.

My substitute teacher Chelsea covered the class, and they all decided to trade the mugs – but to mix up the pairs so people would get two different mugs by two different people! Looks like Stephanie got one of mine!!!

Categories: classes, handbuilding, lillstreet, stamped

It’s always fun to see student work on the carts at Lillstreet where your “influence” can be seen! Darcy took my online stamp-making workshop a couple months ago… and has clearly been giving her new stamps a little workout! These look GREAT Darcy!!! Keep it up… but be careful, it’s a VERY slippery slope!!!

Categories: bowls, classes, lillstreet

Another entry in the “post-pandemic-shutdown” glazing of Lillstreet Throwdown projects… Christine finally got her colorful bowls back with some mixed results! For many of her projects in my Throwdown class, Christine was experimenting with some colorful underglazes, and slips made with Mason Stains. A bold move without testing the results first. Well, we finally have some of her pieces back to compare before & after firing.

Some of the colors worked well, some of them not-so-much. Orange looks like the big winner… turquoise good… green fired darker than expected but still nice… as well as the purple which actually turned out to be more of a deep blue?! Pretty, but blue. And the yellow?… GONE!

Here’s her set of four matching bowls… with colorful flowers!

And her set of matching dessert bowls…

And her tie-dyed bowls with swirled slip… again, orange is the WINNER!