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

Another finished piece from the LILLSTREET THROWDOWN!!!
This time it’s Dave’s coil-built porcelain tulipiere glazed with a subtle celadon….
beautiful, and his first coil pot to boot!!!

Categories: classes, stamped, vases, wheelthrowing

Last night’s class demo… throwing taller.
Showing them ways to get the clay to move up the wall, off the bottom and how to get their pieces taller… like this 3lbs. of clay! So here’s my demo vase as I threw it… and then as I stamped it tonight. I definitely like the stamped one better!!!


Categories: art fair, flowers, soda-fired, stamped, vases

Feels like Spring is “almost” here… and in just TWO WEEKS I kick-off my art fair season with the Prairie View Arts Invitational in Naperville! It’s a sweet little show and a great kick-off to the season… feels good to get out of the house and start showing off some of the things I’ve been working on through the Winter months!

So here are the details… hope you can join us!!!


Categories: stamped, textures, vases

Painting more flashing slip accents… this time on some textured square vases!
They’re currently laying down… but once this side sets-up a bit, I’ll stand them up
and slip paint the other side which has a different texture “picture” all together.

Categories: pottery, production, television, vases

With all of the crazy stories about a certain EMPIRE star these days
I thought it might be fun to do a Flashback Friday to 2016
when some of my pottery made its big debut on EMPIRE
only to be smashed!!!

Click here to see more about the story & production!

Then click here to see how it went down on the show!!!
And by “went down” I literally mean smashing DOWN on the floor!!!


Categories: classes, flowers, vases

My students never cease to amaze me… once again, going above & beyond!

They were challenged to make a tulipiere using the extruder as their primary tool. They not only embraced the challenge, but they surpassed my expectations. It’s always amazing to see how a goroup of people can take on the same challenge – and end up with such different pieces. Such wonderful creativity. And so much fun to see the camaraderie that this group is forming. So supportive & helpful with each other. What a great class!!!

Dave tackled the challenge by extruding very skinny coils of porcelain.
And then continued to create his first coiled pot… ever!!! Really?…
Simply amazing for his first coil pot, right?!

Taylor worked with slightly thicker coils to create her tulipiere – complete with tubes for the flowers and bees for a little whimsy!

Teresa kept is simple and to-the-point… she didn’t have a ton of time for the challenge this week, but she succeed by streamlining her design.

Ryan took his tulipiere to a whole different ecosystem… welcome to Cactus World!
Such a wonderful twist on the project – making the vase a plant to hold plants!!!

But Ryan’s was one of the few tulipieres that I actually preferred without flowers!
I love the structure, the cubist-ness and the balance of it all without flowers!

Donna started with her plan to make a full basket, but along the way came up with
three “cantilivered ladders” to hold her flowers!

Patti’s tulipiere was a rounded tube to hold the water and more tubes propping up
to hold the flowers. Truth be told… her hubby did most of the actual construction
of the piece
… and Patti did the decorating!

Susan used extruded coils to build her “hive” shaped tulipiere. Simple and clean… with three tube openings and additional “openings” in between to help hold the flowers in multiple layers & places.

Claire was the only one who added a bit of serious functionality to her tulipiere… with a removable lid so you can get in to clean it out after having flowers in it for awhile. Brilliant plan!!!

Jacob had been out of town for business examining factories & warehouses… and when he got back you could see that he had been deeply influenced.

Tatiana went organic… with her tulipiere made of extruded & alterd tubes. We all loved the addition of the lily pad tray.. and the adorable frog that came along for the ride!

I was especially enamored by the tulip leaf in the bottom right corner
that completely mirrored the clay leaf in the vase directly below it.

And our TOP TWO winners…
It was such a tough choice this time as they were all AMAZING!!!

Jon extruded his tubes and combined them in a organic tubular sculpture!
Beautiful layers, flow and gentle curves.

But the real kick… which made me actually gasp out loud…
was when he lifted the center out to reveal a smaller tulipere inside the bigger one!

With a beautiful “cup” receptacle in the center to hold it upright.

But put back together… it was easily in the TOP TWO!

Molly went totally geometric… stacked… layered… modular… perfect!!!
Balance, depth and great smooth craftsmaship all came together for Molly…
and her first time extruding… and practically her first time handbuilding too!!!

And even a bonus “single stem” tulipere mini vase!… extra credit???

So there they are – all twelve tuliperes!!!
Each and everyone AMAZING!!!

Huge thanks to my amazing students for accepting my challenges
and playing along with my crazy games.

They make teaching so fun & rewarding!!!
Thank you all.







Categories: classes, flowers, vases

On Wednesday night, my LILLSTREET THROWDOWN class was all about TULIPIERES!!!
And what’s a tulipiere, one might ask?! Well, we tackled it and they all made their version.
They came into class… thinking they were done.

And I still had one last TWIST in the game for them!!!

But seriously… a vase isn’t really a vase until it has held some flowers, right?
So I brought in some flowers for them to accessorize their tulipieres! So much better!



Categories: classes, sculpture, vases

My LILLSTREET THROWDOWN students are amazing…
as they embrace each challenge so fully & creatively.

Many of them were working on their challenge pieces Tuesday night while I was teaching my Beginning Wheelthrowing class. I resisted the urge to go see what they were doing… and trust me it was HARD!!! I kept hearing laughter, discussion and “reports” for other students about how cool their projects were… and how well they were all coming along. I SO wanted to go back to see them… but felt better to wait to see them at The Big Reveal in class Wednesday night.

Luckily, they’re also good photographers… so they took pictures for me… but Jon didn’t share them with me until AFTER class Wednesday night. Yes, they do love playing games too!

Here’s Jon working hard on his piece using the pile of tubes you’ve already seen.


Scoring… slipping… attaching…    and most of them are NOT handbuilders!!!

Donna was the only “handbuilder” coming into the class…
so she’s obviously enjoying this challenge!

While Ryan found the challenge to be a bit more prickly… making thorns with thick slip!

Claire on the other hand had great plans… and many choices to make along the way…

Not feeling so confident about the lid she’s adding to the tulipere…

Susan doing some finishing touches on her coiled pot.



Patti adding some last minute carvings to texture the tube of her tulipiere.

And if that weren’t enough... slip dots on the white tubes…


And Teresa was happy to be finishing her piece just in time for class!


Categories: art fair, flowers, soda-fired, textures, vases

Huge thanks to everyone who stopped by my place today for
MUD & METAL : My Second Holiday Home Show!

It was a beautiful day with sun streaming in lighting up the place…
and smashing it on some flowers!!! Don’t forget that we’re doing it again tomorrow
from 10:00am-4:00pm!

But don’t look too close… these flowers are fake!!! Looking pretty good for silk, right?

Categories: art fair, pottery, soda-fired, stamped, textures, vases

Wouldn’t someone on your holiday gift list love some soda-fired textures?!…
like these square vases with a different pattern on each side?!
Several still looking for good homes this weekend at
MUD & METAL : My Second Holiday Home Show!!!