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

Sure, teaching weeks of Summer Camp can be rough.
A different group of kids every week. Different ages. Different backgrounds. Different skill sets.
It’s definitely not a job for everyone… but I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…
I LOVE SUMMER CAMP!!!

So much fun week after week. And the rough times are quickly washed away when your campers are finishing their projects and they drop off a precious little gem like this one! Suddenly my favorite Camper ever!!!… well, at least for that week!

Categories: summer camp

My Summer Camp “Tour of Duty” has officially come to an end. Tomorrow I get back to reality. Special thanks to my camp assistants last week for making my last week of camp so much fun! Sonali & Bella started out as my summer campers years ago… and are now off to college!!! Sure, a hot fudge sundae at Margie’s made it pretty sweet too! And yes, that is TWO things of hot fudge.. don’t judge… our afternoon camp was a rough one!!!

Categories: clay, summer camp, terra cotta

Every Thursday during a typical Wheelthrowing Camp is Terra Cotta Day!
I try to tell them in advance that it’s going to be messy. A lot messier than stoneware.
Generally they scoff at it. And think that I’m exaggerating. And then THIS happens…

Gooey-gloppy messy hands… and arguably the dirtiest wheel EVER!!!
Good thing we have Rule #3… “Whatever mess you make, YOU will be cleaning up.”
And she did.

Categories: summer camp

Sculpture Summer Camp is quickly coming to an end. The kids are working fast & furious to get all of their sculptures finished. The sculpting & building of their sculpture sis don… now they’re onto detailing & painting. Which is when the sculptures really come to life!

Soon enough, their sculptures were finished… painted, detailed, done.
Then they were quick off to the tables with fans blowing on them.
Got to get the paint dry before their parents come to pick them up at 3:30pm.

And if that weren’t enough… Ellie and I decided that her pompous penguin needed a fancy floor to stand on. So we broke up some glass tiles so she could mosaic the floor. Especially fun since the files were donated by one of my adult pottery students. The store where she works for was looking for someone who could “reuse” these tiles somehow instead of throwing them away… and this was the first of many projects to come! Thanks Meredith for the donation… I thank you, Ellie thanks you… and the Penguin thanks you!!!

So here are a few “finished” sculptures by my talented Summer Campers this week.

NOAH’s Ganesh Shrine

ELLIE’s penguin complete with top hat, monocle and mosaic tiled floor.

RACHEL’s frozen blue ice dragon.

SAM’s aviary tree with five birds a flocking.

JAMES’ trio of Olympic winning birds

MARYMAYA’s howling timber wolf.

SAMUEL’S version of a Giacometti sculpture.

AVA’s version of the Chicago Picasso sculpture.

Another great week with my Summer Campers!!!

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Categories: summer camp

So my campers are back at Lillstreet building on the inspirations from yesterday’s Art Institute Field Trip. They’re now each building their own large sculpture starting with wooden bases, wire armatures and a LOT of newspaper & tape!!!

And thanks to my teaching assistant Julia who gets to watch as Ellie’s penguin comes together.

When the bases were complete, we started covering them with plaster gauze.

Categories: Chicago, summer camp

The theme of this week’s Summer Camp is “Sculptures Small to Big.”
So what better place to get some inspiration than the Art Institute of Chicago?!
My campers went on a fun field trip for a splash of art inspiration & education
at the museum and Millennium Park. Starting with some visual fun at The Bean…

“Cloudgate” by Anish Kapoor.

Then it was time to go to the Art Institute of Chicago. Filled with inspiration for the kids.

We toured the museum and made frequent stops for the kids to sketch.

Brancusi sculptures.

Giacometti sculptures.

Dubuffet maquette sculpture.

Picasso maquette sculpture.

Chagall stained glass windows.

Calder maquette sculpture.

Jackson Pollock paintings.

Katharina Fritsch sculpture.

And everyone’s favorite… Roy Lichtenstein. Ohhh alright… enough already!

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Categories: food, summer camp

We’ve already FIRE’ed… we’ve already FORGE’ed… so now it was time to FEAST!!! The last day of camp is a big potluck lunch where we all bring in food to share. The kids pulled it together and we had a wonderful FEAST to celebrate the last day of this Summer Camp. Well done kids!!! Thanks for a great week!

Categories: food, summer camp

The last day of camp is also the day to award the prize for Best Cookie in the “annual” Chocolate Chip Cookie Bake-Off. Congratulations to Sam (and his Mom) for baking the cookies that got the most votes on Wednesday’s challenge. He gets the trophy plate… and we got a lot of yummy cookies!!!

Categories: summer camp, terra cotta

After several productive days, my Summer Campers finally got see their thematic placesettings come together. The terra cotta came out of the kiln, we assembled their cutlery pieces and put it all together to great acclaim. They should all be very proud of themselves for a wonderful week of Summer Camp… and some wonderful dinnerware sets!!!

MADELINE’s placesetting

TULLIAH’s placesetting

 

 

LOUKAS’s placesetting

THEO’s placesetting

ZOE’s placesetting

ELIZA’s placesetting

DEIRDRE’s placesetting

ARIEL’s placesetting

ELENA’s placesetting

ELLIE’s placesetting

LILY’s placesetting

LYDIA’s placesetting

SAM’s placesetting

And I guess if something was destined to explode in the kiln…
what better than Sam’s VOLCANO PLATE?!!!

MIYA’s placesetting

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Categories: summer camp

So much fun to see everything coming together. The clay handles the kids made on Monday & Tuesday are fired and out of the kiln. We’ve been inserting their metal forks, knives & spoons into them. So great to see how much work these kids have cranked out this week. We have a WONDERFUL group of kids this week. Which is perfect since this is the BEST Summer Camp week of all of them!!! Just sayin’… of course I may be a bit partial.