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

It’s the last week for my pottery classes… and we like to celebrate with some potluck yummies. Last night we had a great spread… much in thanks to Patty for bringing this beautiful tray of delectable yumminess!

Categories: classes, lillstreet

Well we’re nearing the end of the Second Annual LILLSTREET THROWDOWN class.
So for this week’s in-class challenge, we re-visited a few of our previous challenges with a twist. We divided into two teams and had everyone decide which of six challenges each team player was going to tackle. Twist was… they didn’t know what challenge each was! After they all signed up for their challenge “number”… we rolled the dice to randomly assign project challenges to each number! So they all started working on their assigned challenge… so all six challenges were going on simultaneously.

But after 15 minutes… the timer went OFF!!!    Wait?… what?!!!!

After the first fifteen minutes they all found out that they had to ROTATE to continue working on someone else’s project. Yes, they were going to switch & rotate every 15 minutes for four rotations to finish each challenge. So they needed to work as a team, share information at every rotation, and keep everything on pace so as to finish ALL six challenge projects in the one hour time frame.

Everyone was so focused… and it was surprisingly quiet...
except for the crazy commotion & confusion during rotations!!!

And because one of our students was “out sick” for the night… I had to draft one of my Tuesday night students to fill in to keep the teams even. Thanks to Katie for stepping up and joining in our crazy fun!!!

At the end of the hour… and four complete rotations… we had a table full of projects!
Lots of “matching” challenges… some successful, some not so much…

So here they are side-by-side…  one team versus another!







whoops… and the “other” side…

And the other team’s winning spheres…


Pretty hard to judge… especially when you see all four all lined up…


Categories: bowls, lillstreet, special events

Last night was another successful EMPTY BOWLS fundraiser at Lillstreet…
raising lots of money for First Slice to help feed the hungry.
And while lots of people picked their bowls… others picked their…

Categories: classes, creativity, food, lillstreet

To kick-off our party last Wednesday night, my students took on the “FACE THE COOKIE” Challenge from Minute-To-Win-It. Basically, you put a cookie on your forehead… and then slowly move the cookie down with just facial muscles & expressions… until you get the cookie in your mouth! So I made a challenge… succeed with the cookie in the mouth in one minute and they would get an additional “five minute advantage” in one of the two challenges in class that night.

Crazy fun for everyone… perhaps too much fun… as we got shooshed a bit…
and told to keep it down. How dare we have too much fun in class?!!!

And yes… they “forced” me to give it a try too… harder than it looks…
but the REWARD of success is pretty darn sweet!





Categories: bowls, lillstreet, special events, stamped

Just a “few” of the HUNDREDS of handmade ceramic bowls that will be part of tonight’s
EMPTY BOWLS fundraiser at Lillstreet Art Center. Stop by tonight from 5:00-8:00pm
to help the needy, have some hot soup and keep your new handmade bowl.

Attendees will choose from a selection of $25 ceramic bowls, handmade
and donated by Lillstreet artists, enjoy a delicious serving of soup, and leave with
a unique piece of art… all while giving back to the Chicago Community.
All funds raised will benefit First-Slice Cafe‘s initiatives to fight hunger in Chicago,
serving close to 4,000 meals to those in need each month.

Stop by early to get your “best choice” of bowls… including a dozen of MINE!!!


Categories: clay, lillstreet

In one of the wheelthrowing rooms at Lillstreet, there’s a large plaster bat divided in two sides… one side for clean porcelain, the other side for everything else! Apparently someone left a pile of reclaimed clay slurry on the plaster bat… quite possibly on the wrong side?!!!

You’ve got to love the question… and the response… and the fact the clay is STILL there on the plaster bat!!! Unattended. Not claimed. Sure to be completely dried by the morning.


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!