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

Just a quick glimpse of some quick cylinders I made for my LILLSTREET THROWDOWN students. They had made “matching” cylinders to turn into mugs last week… this week they’ll get these cylinders to take them in a different direction!

Categories: bowls, classes, wheelthrowing

Last night in our LILLSTREET THOWDOWN class, we started with critiquing the bowls that they had finished after last week’s challenge. Remember, they had each thrown two matching bowls, but then passed one of them down the table to another student to mix it up a bit. The task was to trim & refine both bowls. Fun to see how they each approach the “matching” bowls… and how they’ll inevitably turn out different when finished by different hands.

Congrats to Dana & Tracy for placing & earning points as our Top Two!!!

And while surface decoration was NOT actually part of our challenge parameters…
you know how I LOVE the ones that went just a bit further…. like these four….
because MORE IS MORE!!!

We then started with our throwing challenge for Week Two.
The task was to use 1-1/4 pounds of clay to throw their “most perfect” cylinder… with even wall thickness, straight sides, flat bottom, nice corner inside around the base and a refined rim. They had 10 minutes for that one “perfect” cylinder… so they were all quite focused while throwing!

Once they had that one cylinder done, we regrouped at the table to look at them.
We looked at the technique & results… determining which ones best met the parameters.
I think they all assumed we would be “judging” this cylinder &  awarding points…
but I never quite said that.   Instead…

Part two of the challenge was to take the next hour and throw as many MATCHING cylinders to that first “most perfect one.” I mean… they had “set the standers” by throwing that one “perfect” cylinder, so they should be able to make more, right???

After a very quick hour of throwing… while I ate an entire bag of Garrett Popcorn
we pulled them all together to look at the matching sets of cylinders.
Some more matching than others.

After looking at all of the cylinders… a whopping total of 74 cylinders in one hour!!!…
we critiqued & counted how many “matching” ones they had. We didn’t count the ones that were taller… or the ones that were wider… or the ones that were just different all over the place!

Congratulations to Christine who came away with seven matching cylinders,
and Jacob who came away with six!

And oh, but wait there’s more!
They all got their next homework assignment… to take their favorite Top Four matching cylinders to turn into MATCHING MUGS! They need to trim, finish and add handles to make four matching mugs, And then decorate them too! Sure, they could decorate them however they wanted to… but what fun would that be for me??? Instead, I decided to make the decoration challenge a bit more challenging. So they need to us at least four of the following five design patterns… stripes, polka dots, plaid, paisley and spiral. So they need to incorporate multiple patterns to complete their set… but each mug can’t match and must be stand-alone beautiful on it’s own. A lot of challenges & parameters for this one. It might be a tough week for my homework-bound students. Can’t wait to see what they bring back to class next Thursday night!

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Categories: classes, lillstreet, wheelthrowing

So fun to be back from the holidays… and kicking off a new session of pottery classes! My Beginning Wheelthrowing class started last night with some returning faces, a good number of newbies and a lot of enthusiasm!!!… oh yeah, and some OREOs too!!!

 

Categories: porcelain, sgraffito, wheelthrowing

One last batch… hoping to hurry them through so they’re carved & glazed
by next weekend’s HOLIDAY HOME SHOW!!! Work in progress…

Categories: classes, wheelthrowing

This week in my pottery class I showed my students how to throw taller cylinders… and to lift the extra clay up & away from the bottom. Then I challenged them to throw their own tallest two-pound cylinder. Looks like Jacob & Janet took it to heart, as they were pretty much neck & neck for most of their challenge!

Categories: classes, stamped, stamps, wheelthrowing

So I just sub taught Lisa’s Sunday morning pottery class… where we did my favorite “Demo On Demand.” We tackled stamping bowls, throwing off the hump, lidded casseroles… and sharing all of the tricks & tips I could pull out along the way. So much fun… those three hours just flew by!!!

Categories: mugs, porcelain, process, production, wheelthrowing

Playing with porcelain. More mugs coming soon!

Categories: process, production, terra cotta, wheelthrowing

Okay, so I’ve thrown all FORTY base cylinders…
and a few pumpkins while I was at it. Now it’s time to start “Ghoul-ifying” them.
Just adding another Ghoul to the collection next weekend at ART IN THE BARN!!!

Categories: terra cotta, wheelthrowing

These are the base cylinders for this year’s Halloween Ghoul character.
It’s a Limited Edition every year, so I only need to make FORTY!!!
Got a few more cylinders to throw…

Categories: porcelain, process, production, vases, wheelthrowing

Porcelain vases thrown this morning & already moving on to the stamping phase.
I love a good productive day in the studio!