Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: bike, photography, pottery, process, production, stamps, studio

So tonight I put some “finishing touches” on the mugs!

As part of the soda-firing process, a lot of the color accents achieved
come from colored slip applied to the surface. Slip is just watered down clay
with special chemical colorants added. These chemicals react to the
soda atmosphere and create dramatic colors and random flashing marks.
Slip generally needs to be painted onto the clay body while it is wet
or leather-hard. I typically paint the slip on after stamping, trimming
and applying handles. It’s usually the last step before I let the pieces air-dry.

Tonight I painted slip accents onto the mugs… both along the top rims
and some of the smaller details inside each of the stamps. Yes, it’s true…
each and every little stamp, one by one… each one with a touch of slip!


Now that they are all painted, I can let them air-dry… and then bisque fire
the mugs when I accumulate a kiln-full of greenware (dry clay). Once fired,
the mugs will be glazed and fired again. A few more steps in the process…



April 21st, 2009

can you show me or tell me how do you get the pattern to make stamp . thank you.

April 22nd, 2009

I make my own clay stamps for the impressions. It’s simply a coil of clay rolled out, and then I carve a pattern into both ends while it is still soft. When they get a little drier, I carve my name on the side as you know how things “travel” in the studio?! Then they need to be bisque fired – to make them hard, yet keep them porous. You do not want to high-fire them – as they would then allow the clay to “stick” after each impression. I typically sit down and make a dozen or so at a time. Just let your mind wander and make a bunch. Inevitably, you’ll love some and others not so much. But the more you make, the more you have to use later!!! The next time I’m making more stamps for myself, I’ll try to document it and do a blog post. Thanks for asking!


December 4th, 2012

Wow. I love these mugs. Can I order a set?
Thanks, ann


March 5th, 2013

Looks great!


March 24th, 2013

I’m interested in when and how you do your stamping on wet clay without damaging the interior, warping the shape, or making a muddy mess! Can you explain your process?

March 24th, 2013

JAIME – I generally stamp my pieces when they’re on the wetter side of leather-hard. I press my stamps in from the outside with another finger on the inside. Think of them as pressing against each other. If you do it evenly, the pot “shouldn’t” squish out of shape. Also, my stamps are just bisqued clay stamps that I’ve made. The porousness of the bisqued stamps allows them to release from the clay easily. If the stamps are solid, vitrified or wet, they will stick to the clay too much, make a mess and not leave a clean impression.

I used to do it when the pots were stiffer. But now I’m pushing it a little further, stamping a little deeper and allowing the clay to move more!

If you want to see even ore about my process from start to finish, be sure to click on the “Pottery Process” page in the top right corner of my blog page.

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