Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: terra cotta, The Ghouls Collection

Every year I make a new Halloween Ghoul that debuts at ART IN THE BARN!!!
I make a Limited Edition of forty… and when they’re gone, they’re gone!
I’ve been working extra hard in the studio and “keeping them under wraps”…
both literally and figuratively. Lots of steps to get done before the Big Reveal
this weekend in Barrington!

Categories: terra cotta, wheelthrowing

So, those wedged balls of terra cotta have been thrown into cylinders.
Just the “base” for a Halloween Ghoul still to come… so now it’s time for some
handbuilding, stylizing, carving, creepifying, and ghoulitizing!

Categories: terra cotta

A huge thanks to everyone who came to ART IN THE GARDEN this past weekend…
but now my focus shifts to ART IN THE BARN!!!

Just over a week away and I have a lot of Halloween Ghouls to make.
Gotta start somewhere…

Categories: summer camp, terra cotta

Here’s a sneak peek at this week’s Summer Camp… we’re doing “Fire, Forge & Feast.” Where the kids are designing & producing their own thematic placesettings in clay & metal. These are a few of our combo utensil samples shown to inspire the kids!


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!!!

Categories: clay, process, summer camp, terra cotta

Apparently no one can resist a bucket full of smooth & creamy terra cotta slip?!

As part of camp, I teach the kids how to make slip.
Actually, it’s kind of a “punishment” for letting their clay dry out too much to use.
We try to keep everything under plastic while they’re working to avoid drying out.
But sometimes they just “forget.”

So to encourage them to remember, I make them flatten the clay out so we can let it dry completely. The next day the use a rolling pin to pulverize it as best they can so we can re-hydrate it back into a nice smooth slip. Apparently, the “punishment” is a bit too FUN for the campers!!!



Categories: summer camp, terra cotta

We’re only on  Day Two of our week-long Chess Camp, and the pieces are already coming along nicely. The kids are building them all out of terra cotta – and then on Friday we’ll paint them with colorful underglazes.

And what better way to make a cake look like a cake…
than to actually frost it like a cake!!! Complete with terra cotta slip “frosting” with a pastry tip!