Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
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!!!

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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!

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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!!!

Categories: bowls, lillstreet

From Dave, the director of the ceramics department at Lillstreet…

Empty Bowls Update:
Thanks to your contributions, this year’s Empty Bowls event was yet again a success.  The event raised $8648, which equals roughly 2,882 Wednesday Night Welcome Meals at Epiphany UCC.  In spite of the fact that more than 300 bowls were sold at this event, there is a significant number of bowls remaining.   Because of this, our friends at First Slice will take the unsold bowls to use for additional Empty Bowls fundraisers at their other locations.  With these additional events, we will likely see the total money raised increase in the near future.

And here are just a few of the happy folks who went home with one of my donated empty bowls…

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Categories: bowls, lillstreet

Just some of the HUNDREDS of bowls ready to fulfill their destiny…
as they get filled with soup for tonight’s EMPTY BOWLS event at Lillstreet Art Center. Good bowls for a great cause. Stop by tonight to pick out your favorite bowl, get it filled with homemade soup, help the hungry and keep the bowl. Proceeds benefit First Slice as they in turn will be helping the hungry & needy.

And yes, those are some of my bowls at the bottom of the photo…
Yep, the ones with the “shameless self-promotional propaganda” attached.

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Categories: bowls, lillstreet, special events

Just dropped off my bowls for tomorrow night’s EMPTY BOWLS event at Lillstreet Art Center. A great night for a great cause. Lots of bowls being donated by students, teachers and studio members. Stop by Lillstreet tomorrow night between 5:00-8:00pm to pick your bowl, get it filled with soup and make a donation to First Slice so they can continue doing good deeds feeding the needy & hungry. And you keep the bowl…

Click here for more information about EMPTY BOWLS at Lillstreet Art Center.

Categories: classes, lillstreet, mugs

One of my students has been away from Lillstreet for about three years. He finally made it back to pottery… and into my “Simply Soda” class. Tonight we were touring the soda kiln room looking at soda-fired examples on the shelves. When lo and behold… Peter found one of his own soda-fired mugs from YEARS ago!!! Apparently it has been “floating around” Lillstreet for years and tonight finally found its way home! A beautiful mug, complete with the prerequisite layers of dust!!! Crazy, right?!!!

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Categories: classes, lillstreet

As posted on Facebook this morning…
Looks like one of my Facebook Fans will be joining my Beginning & Advanced Beginning Wheelthrowing Class tonight at Lillstreet. If she’s been a “fan” for seven years, I hope I don’t disappoint?! That’s a lot of pressure to live up to. I may need to step up my game a bit?… and bring a LOT of Oreo’s?!!!

Categories: classes, lillstreet, soda-fired

It’s amazing how fast a ten-week session can go by. This past Tuesday was the last class for our Winter session of classes. And my students out-did themselves once again!!!

Each session I like to challenge them with a class project. We all work on a similar piece and then we do some sort of White Elephant Trading Game. They each bring in their finished piece and we all admire & trade… then everyone goes home with someone else’s piece. So much fun for everyone… and great motivation for everyone to make something that they’re “proud enough of” to share and trade in the end.

So this session’s challenge was to make an oval. My brand new beginner’s had it a little bit easier… whereas my Advanved Beginners were challenged to make a lidded oval!!! And they all took it on with wreckless abandon!!!

Emily made this sweet little oval with carved vertical lines a temoku glaze.

Ryan made his oval glazed with Shaner White glaze and blue brushstrokes.

Lily went for a two-tone glaze dip with a beautiful overlap in the center.

Kerry missed the oval a bit, but made a great lidded round casserole with Reitz Green glaze.

Tony‘s oval casserole has a great rustic glaze to it.

Katie went for a two-tone Shaner White and Aviva’s Blue contrasting oval casserole.

Stacey used Reitz Green glaze to finish her oval, giving her a nice metallic finish on the lid.

Taylore used a color accent in her gallery, and a great pop of red inside the knob. A great contrast to the Shaner White glaze finish. Even better, and sadly no photo, but the inside has the same red pop of color too!!!

Melissa emphasized her oval and handle with a cobalt stain on Matte White glaze.

Rachel went with a traditional Shino glaze and got some wonderful variations.

Catherine went perfectly white on her perfect white porcelain.

Grace did a wonderful combination glaze on the outside of her casserole…

But it’s REALLY all about the inside of Grace’s oval that has me enamored!!!

And now you see why… my little stamping prodigy….

Susan, one of my class TA’s, offered up her graphic black & white porcelain oval.

Patty‘s oval didn’t quite turn out to her liking…
so she offered up a set of three bowls in place of her oval casserole!

Steven‘s oval casserole came home with me after the trade!!! And I LOVE it.
With a subtle matte glaze combination and a graphic stamp pattern…

But it’s the “surprise” pattern stamped on the inside that slays it!!!

And you know I’ve got to play along with the game, so I made an oval casserole for the trade as well. Surprisingly, mine is stamped and soda-fired!!! Ha!!!

And a few more “glamour” shots…
with a colored slip on the lid, and a few sprays of Josh Green glaze before soda-firing…

Huge thanks to my students for playing along. And for always embracing this little class challenge I like to throw at them every session. We’ve done bowls, mugs, plates, more mugs, and now ovals. I’m gonna need to think of something cool to top this one!!!

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