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

Last night was the first night of our new “season” of THE GREAT LILLSTREET THROWDOWN! A fun class full of challenges, contests & projects! To kick-off the “season” I challenged them with both wheelthrowing & handbuilding tasks with a geometric twist… and a bit of multitasking! The challenge was a wheelthrown sphere, a 6-inch slab-built cube, and a 12-inch coil-built cone. Each with a limited time frame, as the challenges start to “pile-up” on each other as the night went on.

I always enjoy watching how my “contestants” approach a challenge, manage their time, and finish it all off in the end. It was a fun night & a fun challenge… and they all did great!!! We’re off to a great start.

So they started off with wheelthrowing a perfectly round sphere!

Part way into their allotted time for the sphere… I stopped the clock, called them over, and they found out about having to make a 6-inch cube with slabs. So now they had TWO projects to work on… multi-tasking & considering how to best utilize their limited time!

A little further into the challenge… we stopped the clock one more time… wished Melanie a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!… and then added a third challenge. They now had to also make a 12-inch tall coil-built cone!!!

So they now had all three challenges… and some more time to multi-task… so they kind of bounced around the place trying to finish all three in time!!!

At the end of the time, we pulled all three pieces together for critique & judging. We chose our top sphere, top cube & top cone… as well top trio!

Okay, so maybe one of the cones didn’t quite get finished in time… but bonus points for getting so creative with it!!!

But then there was one last-minute challenge… a little homework for the team! The cubes are not quite done… their “homework” is o take their cubes homes and do some creative textural carving on them for judging next week!

Categories: glaze, holiday, wheelthrowing

A bit of a late night gettin’ my glaze on! Did more than a bit of glazing on my latest batch of wheelthrown Christmas trees. And if all goes as planned… these festive trees should be glazed, fired & ready for this weekend’s MUD & METAL Holiday Home Show!

Categories: classes, holiday, lillstreet, wheelthrowing

Last week in my Intermediate Wheel class, we decided to tackle wheelthrown Christmas trees… as they seem to be all the rage on Instagram! So we started throwing and soon enough had a forest of groovy shapes & styles!!!

And here are my class demos… more trees & more styles to come…

Categories: friends, My Talented Friends, wheelthrowing

After a couple hectic days at my own HOLIDAY HOME SHOW… it was a great way to relax watching Mike Stumbras throwing large plates in his studio on Instagram Live! I could easily watch people throw on a wheel forever… so soothing, so mesmerizing… especially when it’s a talented thrower & teacher like my friend Mikey!

Categories: handbuilding, mugs, stamped, textures, wheelthrowing

Racing towards some deadlines as I try to get a few last-minute pieces made for this weekend’s soda kiln… like these “hybrid” mugs which are a combo of wheelthrowing & handbuilding techniques.

Categories: ornaments, wheelthrowing

Working on another batch of wheelthrown Christmas ornaments… throwing off-the-hump again. Waiting for these to dry-up just a bit before I stamp some patterns on them.

Categories: classes, vases, wheelthrowing

Just another quick class demo… showing them how to throw a bit taller, get the clay to move up off of the bottom… and how to get some even wall thickness. Unfortunately, sometimes you gotta cut a few pots to show your students what you’re talking about!

Categories: bowls, classes, wheelthrowing

So tonight’s class demo was a large serving bowl… as part of Shannon’s request. She was thinking maybe 10-pounds of clay for a large bowl for making bread?! So we went for it… but decided to go with nine pounds as ten just sounded too big?! HA!!!

Categories: collaborations, wheelthrowing

Sometimes it’s all about the spout. I wasn’t so sure about them. But now that they’re all in place I’m kinda diggin’ them. Sure, they still need some clean-up & smoothing, but I like how these are coming together for ART IN THE GARDEN!

Categories: classes, wheelthrowing

In one of my recent wheelthrowing classes, we were focused on “throwing-off-the-hump.” And somehow, these mini trees came along… part of a “demo-on-demand” by my students. We had made larger trees a week before… so it was only a matter of time until we went a bit smaller. I’m thinking I might need to make more?!