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

So it looks like the Spring Session of classes just opened for online registration at Lillstreet Art Center. I will be teaching three evening classes… including my usual Monday Advanced Wheelthrowing & Tuesday Beginning Wheelthrowing classes.

Potter working clay on wheel

NEW FOR SPRING… I will also be teaching a Surface Decoration Class on Thursday evenings where we’ll focus on a different technique each week. My goal is that we can do some great interactive demos & class projects each week where everyone actual tries each technique on their own work!

Sign-up quick… Lillstreet in-person classes are still limited to eight students, socially-distanced & fully-masked due to pandemic protocols. Be safe… stay masked… and come get muddy with us this Spring!!!

Categories: handbuilding, mugs, textures, wheelthrowing

In my Thursday morning pottery class, I did a little demo of my wheelthrown & handbuilt “combo” textured mugs. Well, they’re all assembled and I just dipped them in colored flashing slip. I didn’t want a bunch of crazy drips to run down onto the trimmed bottom… so I supported them upside-down on kiln posts until the slip set-up a bit.

Categories: production, wheelthrowing

Kicking off my Saturday morning in the studio with some freshly-thrown little drip plates to go with some flower pots… looking forward to that snow melting. Bring on Spring!!!

Categories: clay, production, tools, wheelthrowing

These tools have been very productive today!
Gotta love a full day of wheelthrowing… at least until you start to run out of shelf space to store the pots under plastic?!

Categories: classes, platters, wheelthrowing

It’s always rewarding as a teacher when you do the demo in class, and then your students actually try the same demo and SUCCEED with their own plates… some of them for the first time ever!!! Yeah Team!!!

Categories: classes, platters, wheelthrowing

Last night in my pottery class at Lillstreet, we tackled plates & platters with some of my more Advanced Beginners. I showed my students the basics with two plates & one platter. All safely up in my studio now awaiting a bit of stamping activity… hopefully later today!!!

Categories: classes, platters, wheelthrowing

For today’s class demo, we tackled throwing larger platters! Of course I showed my students my “typical” platter with a flat flared-out flange area which ideal for stamping!!!

But then I was “challenged” to do another one with a smoother curve and no delineation between food surface and… I don’t know… the curved “rim” area? The second big challenge might be “where & how” do I stamp this new shape??? Can’t wait to find out…

Categories: bowls, classes, wheelthrowing

Last night’s class demo how to throw basic bowls.
And that’s basic bowls on purpose… and NOT cylinders gone bad. I like to teach my Beginner’s how to throw a bowl from the start with a nice smooth & even curve inside. No flat bottoms. No beginner’s ledge. No divots. So I do a demo for the with one bowl – and then set them off to work on their own bowls!

While they’re throwing their bowls, I continue throwing more basic bowls. After I finish making them all, we re-group for Part Two of the class demo. For this part I like to show them some quick & easy ways to alter & decorate their bowls. I tell them that “The Wheel” pretty much did all of the work making a round bowl. Now it’s up to THEM to do something to it to make it their own! And encourage playing with their clay. To try something new. And if it doesn’t work… no biggie. Just squish it up, wedge it and throw it again!

So here are my bowl demos from last night…
each with some simple decorative alterations!

Bowl #1 – Two simple fluted edges

Bowl #2 – Eight fluted edges

Bowl #3 – Flared-out flange

Bowl #4 – Flared flange & four fluted edges

Bowl #5 – Split rim with eight pinches

Bowl #6 – Split rim with two indentations… waiting for an “over the top” handle to make it like a basket.

Bowl #7 – Split rim with four side indentations

Bowl #8 – Split rim with four indentations IN, and four indentations OUT.

Bowl #9 – A thick white slip spiral.

Bowl #10 – Thick white slip finger squiggles.

Bowl #11 – Thick black slip chattering with a rubber rib.

Bowl #12 – Ombre’ black -to-white slip with a spiral dragged through.

Bowl #13 – Thick white slip on a flared flange then wiped through with a rubber rib.

And for now they’re all under plastic… as there’s a “pretty good chance” that there might just be some stamping & detailing of these bowls before I need to start trimming the bottoms.

Categories: bowls, classes, wheelthrowing

This morning’s class demo was throwing larger bowls. I showed them how to make two different styles. They’re now up in my studio… maybe… hypothetically… “allegedly” waiting for a little stamped detail fun!

Categories: bowls, classes, wheelthrowing

My demo last night was back to bowls… but as most of my Intermediate Wheel students have already seen my “full-blown bowl demo,” so we kept it simple. Our real goal is to tackle berry bowls next week… trimming & drilling holes… so last night was just a quick demo and a bigger stepping stone towards next week!