Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
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So maybe I should learn better???… that sometimes Siri doesn’t know everything!?!! So when I got to Minneapolis, I asked Siri to give me driving directions to my friend Sarah’s home… and Siri gave me directions right away. So I followed them blindly, saw a few familiar sights along the way… and ended up HERE!!! At Sarah’s Studio location… and NOT her home! Siri was wrong… again… and yes, this is the SECOND TIME I’ve made this mistake!!! Ugh.

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After the shellac had dried, it was time to start wiping away the “background” with a sponge & cold water. As you’re wiping, you need to be careful not to scrub away the shellac… but instead, wipe away just the background areas. As you wipe, you start to reveal a height difference.. . with a nice edge along the shellac’d areas. The shellac will disappear during the bisque firing… so the finished surface it layered & ready for glazing! Well done my LILLSTREET THROWDOWNers!!!

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So last night we tried the newest OREO flavor… and LOVED it! Our only question was “why did we put up with the plain white ones for so long when we shoulda had these?! Yummy… and gone… and looking for more!!!

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So this little garden guy is trying his best… a late bloomer on one of my iris plants? In December, what?! I hope this trooper makes it to his flowering fruition before the next cold-snap gets here!!!

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Finally got around to loading another bisque kiln. Not my tightest loading… but still pretty excited to have a lot of my new “wheeltrown-handbuilt-combo-mugs” on the first two layers! I’ve got a soda-firing coming up in a few weeks! So it’s time to move it along… soon enough the glazing will begin!

And it is always fun to see how close you can get to the top! Packing, loading, stacking shelves… I enjoy when it looks “so close” and you need to make sure the lid will still close!

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Tuesday night in my Beginning & Advanced Beginning Wheelthrowing class, I challenged one of my students to make ten mugs quickly. Ashley was concerned that she hasn’t been very focused or productive this session. And that she seems to be spending too much time on each piece. So we discussed how repetitive practice will help with her muscle memory… especially since she hasn’t been to class or on the wheel since our pre-Covid days! I told her that just cranking out some quick cylinders will help loosen her up, get her back at it… and get her over that hump. The other benefit is that she can work a little looser as now each of those ten mugs won’t be quite as “precious” as that ONE that she would have normally belabored.

She didn’t quite make her ten cylinders during the “un-realistic” deadline I had given her… but she DID get them all thrown by the end of class. So now it will be interesting to see how she finishes them… as she had the realization towards the end that ten cylinders means TEN handles to pull & attach!!!

I decided that since she was tackling my challenge, I should step-it-up and play along as well. So I made a batch of cylinders too… which have now been stamped up in my studio!

Mug #1 –

Mug #2 –

Mug #3 –

Mug #4 –

Mug #5 –

Mug #6 –

Mug #7 –

Mug #8 –

And for now they’re all stamped and back under plastic for the night.
This way I can come back and trim them and then add handles!!!

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It was another beautiful Sunday yesterday…
so of course I had to go for another adventure on my bike!
Headed north again enjoying blue skies & beautiful scenery. It was a wonderful day to play outside. I came home with my first tanlines of the season… and I had a WONDERFUL moment hanging out by the lake at Openlands Lakeshore Preserve!

Northwestern University… with its iconic entrance arch.

Bahai Temple… one of the most beautiful pieces of architecture in the Chicagoland area.

Ravinia Festival… which sadly, has recently announced that they will NOT be opening at all this summer for their ongoing concert series… due to the whole Coronavirus Pandemic!

Openlands Lakeshore Preserve… an amazing natural space up on the far north side. Beautiful, calming and SO much different that the same Lake Michigan lakefront down in the City!

Fort Sheridan – always a beautiful stop up north… and conveniently right next to Openlands Lakeshore Preserve!

Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve – with an amazing scenic overlook. A great view of the lake, the sky… and the surprising lack of people!!!