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

I’m so excited about my LILLSTREET THROWDOWN class tonight!!!
This week’s homework challenge was to make a TULIPIERE with the extruder as their primary tool. These are the example photos I showed them… and I know that they’re going to knock it out of the park! Several of them were in the studio last night trying to finish… and I resisted the urge to go see what they were doing. Instead I want the “Big Reveal” surprise in class tonight!!! Can’t wait!!!

Categories: classes, lillstreet

While I was in Germany, I missed my LILLSTREET THROWDOWN class.
I planned their projects & homework… and thanks to Lisa for stepping in to deliver the challenges! Looks like I missed a good time. Can’t wait to see the “results” from their homework assignment in class this week!!!

They started with throwing a new cylinder shape for a mug…

And then they switched quickly to handbuilding. While many of them have not done a lot of handbuilding, I thought it would be fun to throw them out of their comfort zone a bit. So they had to make the tallest cylinder out of two pounds of clay… a bit more challenging than you might expect…

After their foray into handbuilding, they went back to their wheels
to throw “the tallest vase”… “the widest bowl”… and “the widest platter.”

And just when they may have thought they were done… the homework assignment!!!
They need to make their mug, add it to the vase, bowl and platter collection
and then do some sort of surface decoration to make them look like a “set.” It will be great to see what they do… especially since I missed the last class so it will truly be a blind judging this week!!!

Categories: bowls, classes, lillstreet

Tonight was the kick-off of the Second Annual LILLSTREET POTTERY THROWDOWN class.
I have a great group of students again this time around. Three repeat “throwdown” students and nine new to the challenge!

Tonight’s challenge was to throw one “perfect” bowl in 30 minutes. They thought that was it… but of course it wasn’t. The “twist” was that they needed to throw a second “perfect” bowl to match! Same height, width, diameter, curves, profile, everything! Not as easy as it sounds. Ryan & Jacob walked off with top honors tonight!

Ryan’s matching bowls – one of the TOP TWO sets!!

Jacob checking out his entries in the matching bowl challenge… another TOP TWO winner!

Categories: classes, lillstreet

My Tuesday night pottery class for next session at Lillstreet Art Center is already filled…
WHOO-HOO!!!… so if you were hoping to sign-up later, sorry!!!

There are still SIX spaces open for my Wednesday night Pottery Challenge class.
Think “The Great Pottery Throwdown” with challenges, races, projects and a LOT
of good-natured pottery competition for slightly more advanced potters!
Click here to register online… but be FAST… only six spaces left!
Categories: art fair, lillstreet, pottery, studio

Fun night at the Lillstreet Holiday Opening tonight. So many fun people to chat with.
Many of them doing some holiday shopping. Some getting gifts for others…
many getting gifts for themselves!!!

Categories: art fair, lillstreet, ornaments, soda-fired, stamped

Kickin’ off the Lillstreet Holiday Open House with plenty of wheelthrown stamped & soda-fired ornaments!

Categories: lillstreet, sunrise

After loading the soda kiln Friday night and “celebrating” with ice cream… I made the normally unpopular decision to pull an “all-nighter” and start up the kiln for the firing long run! It’s normally about a 13-hour firing, so I knew it would be a LONG night into morning.

Upside?… I got to see a nice sunrise from the rooftop deck at Lillstreet.
A nice little pick-me-up part way through!!!


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!