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

Last night was the final class & final challenge for my LILLSTREET THROWDOWN class! While we had a few people struggling to find time for this final & largest challenge, we still ahd quite a few amazing entries. Especially amazing as this was the very first teapot for many of my students!!! And just two weeks to finish putting it all together is not a lot of time!

Katie’s sweet little teapot and cups. Her first teapot ever!!!… and as of right now, she’s claiming it might be her last. We’ll see… maybe I can get her to tackle another one next session???

Ryan’s structured slab constructions kind of took on a life of their own… especially when the teapot literally “jumped” off the table and fell om the ground. Luckily, it was still wet enough that he could do a bit of reconstructive surgery in it. We’ll see how this holds up when it gets fired… so far so good.

Chuck’s wheelthrown set dipped in colored slip for an upcoming soda-firing.

Jon’s unique handbuilt teapot… note: the little bumper at the bottom right is just that, a bumper to keep it from rocking backwards white drying or bisque firing. Unfortunately, Jon wasn’t able to complete his cups in time as some birthday celebrations got in the way… totally understandable… PARTY OVER POTTERY!!!


Richard’s teapot set was very well-constructed with great angles & lines that tied it all together. Very well thought out as you might expect from an architect.

Stephanie’s handbuilt constructions with stenciled slip decorations.

Isabel’s porcelain set… with a smidge of last-minute brilliance of throwing her cups & saucers as one piece and slapping on a handle quick so as to fulfill the challenge in time!

Patty’s porcelain set with sweet cups & saucers.

Taylore’s porcelain teapot & cups… soon to be completed with a handmade brass handle!
My vote for second place!

And the one I chose as best teapot was Catherine’s porcelain precision!


Categories: pottery, production, stamped, teapot

So my teapots are drying slowly. I wanted to take another photo of the sets as I was moving them onto a raised plastic grid for better airflow and even drying. So here they are gain… my “five” sets of teapots & cups!





And then there were FOUR!!!
Yes, like a bull in a china shop… quite literally… I lifted the wareboard, spun around and ran right into a stack of clay boxes. Yes, those clay boxes have been there for months!!! Nothing new. Nothing that should have surprised me.  I was just moving too fast, not paying attention, And in the blink of an eye, the board hit the top box, everything toppled and I managed only to save a cup. Everything else went crumbling down. At least it’s nice to see how evenly thrown my lid was????

Mwah, mwah, mwah…



Categories: pottery, process, production, stamped, teapot

For the final challenge of my LILLSTREET THROWDOWN class, my students were tasked with making a teapot with matching cups & saucers. They have also learned that I love a good challenge… so I’m now making the same.

But you know I can’t make just ONE… so I’m doing FIVE!!!
All assembled and freshly slip painted with colored flashing slips for the soda kiln.






Categories: classes, lillstreet, process, production, stamped, teapot

So we’re now in the final week of classes for this session. Which means my LILLSTREET THROWDOWN students are working frantically on their final challenge… okay, maybe a “double” challenge?! A week and a half ago in class they got the assignment of a teapot for the last class. So they all started out making their best renditions… although several of them had never made a teapot before!

Then last week in class I surprised them with one last twist of a challenge. Now that they have a teapot started… now they need to make two cups & saucers to go along with that teapot! All to be “finished” greenware by this Thursday’s last class. SURPRISE!!!

And of course, I too was challenged to make a teapot along with them… so I am! You know I love a good challenge. So I’m working on my teapots…. yes, plural… you know I can’t do just ONE of anything!!!


Categories: stamped, teapot

After a couple weeks since the class demo, and a lot of spritzing & spraying under plastic, I finally got around to finishing off three more teapots! Ready to start drying… and headed towards a soda kiln down the road!

Categories: artists, teapot, television

Looks like a great PBS episode of CRAFT IN AMERICA this evening.
This episode is focused on “TEACHERS”… artists as teachers and teachers as artists. The extra special role that an artist needs to become a great teacher and to carry on the legacy for the up & coming artists in their field. Navajo weavers. Hawaiian glassblowers. And functional pottery!!! Linda Sikora has been making beautiful pots for years. She was one of the first potters I remember seeing displayed in the Lill Street Gallery back in the day when I first started taking pottery classes there. Now if only they would do an episode about her husband Matt Metz too?!!!

Click here for a quick teaser video excerpt from tonight’s broadcast on PBS.
And then check your local listings for CRAFT IN AMERICA.




Categories: soda-fired, stamped, teapot

A new stamped teapot fresh out of this week’s class soda firing.  A sweet little teapot from a class demo.  They always want to learn how to make lidded jars… and then they get daring and ask about teapots. Pretty adventurous for my “beginning” students!!!

I always tell my students to throw an extra lid & an extra spout “just in case.”
I didn’t “need” my extra spout… so it turned into a pretty sweet little bud vase bottle.


Categories: process, teapot

Finally got all the parts of my class demo teapot assembled…
and then did a little detailing with some colored flashing slip.

Categories: pottery, soda-fired, teapot

Here are some “better” photos of the new teapots. I say “better” because the background is just the spray booth outside the kiln room. Ha!

Anyway, two photos per teapot, one of each side. Some pretty dramatic variations thanks to the soda-firing process & colored flashing slips!







Categories: kiln firing, pottery, soda-fired, teapot

I unloaded my soda kiln earlier this week but have been too busy to post photos. Too busy making the “new Ghoul.” Until now. So here’s a quick peek inside my fired kiln as I was unloading last Monday night… with a lot of the pots that will be coming with me to ART IN THE BARN this weekend in Barrington!

Here’s the front stack. Always a little heavier soda build-up. A little too gray for my liking… personal preference… but that means the pots “inside” will be nice!


And the back stack. A lot brighter colors. Not so much gray.
And some pretty sweet new teapots if I do say so myself…