Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: color, flowers, garden, seasons, textures

Always a fun explosion of color & texture.
A splash of Witch Hazel is always welcome after a long dark & drab Winter.

Categories: flowers, garden, seasons

A beautiful harbinger of Spring on a nice sunny Saturday!

Categories: seasons, weather

Kinda makes me wish my gas fireplace burned actual wood?!

Categories: seasons, weather

Another chilly day here in the City as buildings are spewing ice everywhere you look!
Beautiful stalactites of ice!!!

Categories: classes, creativity, lillstreet, mugs, seasons

So it’s another week of The Great Lillstreet Throwdown!
And another challenge… turning their four matching mugs into The Four Seasons!

So my students brought their “greenware finished” sets of mugs to class.
They set them out for all to see… and for our special Guest Judge Sam Hostert to come in
and award them points for their efforts. Thanks to Jon for some of these beautiful photos!

It was so much fun to see how everyone approached the challenge. How to depict the Four Seasons on four mugs???… illustrative? narrative? literal? figurative? symbolically?… so many options. And only four mugs!!!

So here are the sets of mugs… in no particular order…

The Four Seasons depicted with a tree through the seasons… and a special surprise on the bottom of each mug.

A seasonally-appropriate bug on the bottom of each mug!!!

Abstract brushwork showing the color palette of the seasons… winter, spring, summer & fall.

Straight forward and quite literally… spelling it out clearly for all to see…

The phases of a lant through the season… carved & inlaid illustrations in black with color-coded interiors to help show the season. Didn’t quite make first place… but “not-so-secretly” this one was my favorite set!!!

High-contrast black & white… porcelain & black slip depicting the sunlight cycle throughout the year… shown in the amount of white “sun” in relation to the black “night”. As an added bonus… a brief explanation carved on the bottom of each mug.

The seasons as seen on a mountain top… and something to do with a “mountain meditation” too.

Sponge-painted underglazes to show the change of colors for the change of seasons.

Another tree changing through the season… snow, flowers, leaves & fall foliage.

An erudite entry… the Four Seasons as seen through alchemical symbols.

Graphic contrast in black & white symbolizing day & night through the year…
and a brilliant surprise on the bottom of each cup.

Graphic symbolism for the moon & sun attached to the sides of this set.

No one specified “which” four seasons were to represented…
so this set went more for the activities of the seasons!

And unfortunately, this entry didn’t quite work. There was a last minute attempt at applying a cut-out stencil on the side, them paingint the darker slip color over the stencil -a nd then pulling it out. Apparently in the rush to make the deadline, the stencils didn’t quite get pulled out cleanly… something stuck… something didn’t… and in the last moment she decided to paint them over and call it done. Valiant effort.

So for now, the mugs are done. They can go off to the bisque firing and then get glazed. No more challenges for these mugs… but I did ask my students to bring them back to class when they’re finished just so we can see them!








Categories: classes, inspiration, nature, seasons

So now that they have their mugs assembled, it’s time for my Pottery Throwdown students to embellish them. So last night towards the end of class, the next challenge was revealed. They now need to take their four matching mugs and decorate them to represent, signify, resemble, interpret or otherwise show some influence by The Four Seasons. They have until class next Thursday to “finish them up” and bring them to class as they’re drying to greenware!

It’s completely up to them how they approach the project…
stylized & graphic?… sculptural?… illustrative?… carved?… stamped?… sgraffito?… painted?…
or otherwise “naturally” inspired!!!




Categories: sculpture, seasons

Looks like we may have had wee bit of a Nor’easter here overnight?!
Playing in the snow. Frozen in time.



Categories: seasons

A beautiful morning as we’re in for a bit of a thaw today & tomorrow…
and then back to Winter for the weekend.

Categories: patterns, seasons

Morning snow on the backyard garden bench.
Texture. Pattern. Snow.

Categories: garden, nature, seasons

After last night’s 30-degree temperature drop & crazy strong winds, some plants are STILL hanging onto their Fall leaves.