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

So yesterday my Summer Campers were painting their sculptures with acrylic paint. Some of them got a little frustrated that it wasn’t going faster?! So a couple of them decided to forego the paintbrush… hoping this might be faster. I don’t think it was. But they had a good time, a few laughs and a LOT more hand washing to do afterwards!!!

Categories: summer camp

Yesterday at Summer Camp, the kids worked on their sculptures with some goopey, gloppy fun we call plaster gauze. A bit slimy & messy… but works great for the kids’ sculptures. Think of it as “paper mache on steroids”!!!

Categories: summer camp

More clouds today with a strong wind from the south… tough riding into the wind as I headed downtown. Not much of a sunrise this morning… but the ride back home with that tailwind was great fun!!!

Finally a bit so color in the clouds… but still not quite a “real” sunrise…


Categories: food, friends, summer camp

A surprise visit by one of my friends to summer camp this afternoon… became an extra “sweet” visit when she surprised me with a couple YUMMY cupcakes! Thanks Catherine!!! Sadly, not enough to share with my campers… so I just “had to” save them for myself. Shucks!

Categories: sculpture, summer camp

Today back at Summer Camp, my kids started building their large sculptures. First they designed their concepts, sketched it out and then began building the armature to hold it all together. A lot of mixed media & creative problem-solving along the way! More work tomorrow…

Categories: artists, summer camp

So sure, this week of Summer Camp may be all about Sculpture.
But what my little campers may not have realized is that they are going to learn a LOT of art history along the way! Make it a game and they’ll never know what hit them!

I started them with some flash card of famous artworks by famous artists.
I chose some of the bigger names with very identifiable styles. They loved it. And then it was especially fun to see them get excited when they saw some of the same artists on the walls of the Art Institute. Room by room, gallery by gallery, they were excited when they recognized an artist.. and I gave them a “Pop Quiz” along the way to have them name the artist before they could read the placard on the wall.

So here are a few of the artists they saw at the Art Institute…
and THEY can name they all!!! Can you name them all???

By the end of the week, they will have all memorized about 35 different artists and their most famous artworks. And they still think it’s a game?!!! Ha!!!


Categories: masks, summer camp, terra cotta

My summer campers this week are focused on sculptures… with a bit of art history along the way. Monday they made terra cotta masks painted with colored low-fire glazes. ADORABLE!!! For now they’re painted, drying and most likely in a kiln… the kids will get their masks back on Friday!!!

Categories: summer camp, terra cotta

So this week at Summer Camp we’re focusing on “Sculptures Small to Big.” Today was our day for a clay project, so I had the kids make clay masks to hang on their wall at home. They got to choose their theme, and then we set on to building them and painting them with colored low-fire glazes.

And then they added color…


Categories: summer camp, terra cotta

So we made it. Five days of work & fun with my Summer Campers at Lillstreet.
Each of them came up with a theme for their chess set. A lot of handbuilding. A lot of creativity. But we all made it. Everyone of them finished their set in the knick of time!!! Well done, kids!!! Here are just a few examples…

AJ – Mythological Creatures – Land vs. Water

ELOISE – Healthy Food vs. Junk Foods

HARRISON – Spaceships

LIZZY – Fruits vs. Vegetables

ZEV – The Legend of Zelda… some video game, I have no idea…

PHINEAS – Lord Of The Ring

Categories: summer camp, terra cotta

We’re in the home stretch!!! Just a couple hours left of CHESS CAMP.
And my summer campers are diligently working to finish their sets.
A lot of underglazing going on… and unfortunately, a bit of rebuilding new pieces as they find out that I wasn’t lying. I keep telling them that they need to SCORE & SLIP really well… or else I “guarantee” that their pieces will fall apart when they’re dry. And then just the touch of a paint brush is often enough to prove me right. So they make a new replacement¬† – and then get back to underglaze painting!!!