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

This week found me installing a “few” tiles…
arranging… trying to create that “controlled random” placement effect…
glueing… sliding… straightening… sliding… straightening again… and again…

My sister and her husband had “commissioned” me to do another tile wall
installation, much like the one in my place, but this time… in their home!
So I’ve spent the past few months making tiles, and trying to get enough tiles
soda fired for the installation. Complete with some “custom” tiles with their
names, initials, address and other fun things “hidden” in the textures!

We started with a blank slate – a section of the wall painted dark brown.
The cabinets will “frame” the tile installation as the plasma TV will “float” on top.
Soon to be the main focal point of their family room!


I started tiling with high hopes of finishing in just one session. That plan quickly
dissipated as I needed to leave a little early for a concert at Ravinia. So after
Day One, I was about halfway finished – and very excited about how it was looking!

So I came back a couple days later and picked up where I had left off.
I cranked up the caulking gun and started adhering tiles again! For this sort
of tile installation project, I like to use Dab “Seal & Peel” for the glue. It’s kind of like
industrial strength rubber cement. Idea being that if the homeowner ever decides
to move, they can easily peel each tile off the wall, rub the rubber cement off
the tile and the wall, and re-install the wall at their new place! Plus, we leave the
brown wall paint showing instead of trying to grout around all of the textured tiles!


Well into the second “session” of tiling, my niece Taylor decided to take on
the role of “project photographer” and document the momentus tile event.
Surprisingly, she actually did a really nice job with the camera!



So the tile installation process went fairly smoothly. The real kicker is that
every tile starts to slide down the wall before the glue sets up. Damn gravity!!!
I think that is the main downside to the “Seal & Peel” adhesive… it doesn’t dry
fast enough. So as you add more, you always need to go back and straighten
the others. It’s like keeping those darn circus plates spinning up on sticks!!!


So after two sessions of tiling, a lot of straightening, some bad fumes and a little
playtime & biking with my niece Taylor… the wall was finally done. We re-installed
the plasma TV, connected the bottom speaker then sat back to admire the new wall.



And then it was done… finally…  just a mere 1,145 tiles later!!!

Categories: pottery, process, production, stamps, sunrise

A couple days later… the newly thrown cylinders have dried a bit
so they are now a little stiffer, not quite sticky – and a good stage for stamping.
So I stamped all of the “soon-to-be-mugs” going down the line…
and then trimmed all of the bottoms again going down the line!


Handles will have to wait for another day…

Categories: studio

One of the benefits of having your own pottery studio?… you can
leave it dirty if you want to. Why clean today if you’re going to do
more throwing tomorrow?!


Categories: art fair, production, studio

As we continue through the summer art fair circuit, I find it’s time to replenish
the inventory… and what better place to start than with my favorite… MUGS!!!
Simple cylinders thrown tonight… soon to be transformed into stamped mugs!


Categories: lillstreet, summer camp

Well another week down… and another week of Summer Camp completed!
This week, it was “Wild Things”… a week full of art projects all about animals.
And I had a great group of “animals” to play with all week long.

We started the week on Monday with introductions & ceramic animal masks. Despite a
rough start on Monday, and the first time I’ve ever had to send a kid home… issues… the
rest of the class finished up strong, shaping their masks and painting them with underglaze!
Tuesday took us to Lincoln Park Zoo for our camp field trip!


Keeping a group of “wild things” corralled, contained & entertained is quite a feat.
Luckily, I had Brian, my favorite summer camp assistant with me for the week.
Not that it stopped any of the kids from being themselves… mugging for the camera!



The rest of the week we were back at Lillstreet Art Center creating their animal sculptures.
With an armature of wire, wood, newspaper, wire hangers, styrofoam & masking tape,
the kids each created their own animals. Once the base shape was created, we covered the
armatures with a layer of plastered fabric, and then a second coat of plaster gauze.
Friday was spent painting the animals to bring them all to life!




And not to be outdone, two of my campers decided to go for the “actual size” animal…
with a life-sized proboscis monkey and ostrich standing nearly as tall as the artists!!!


Categories: bike, sunrise


Ever feel so small in the big scheme of things?

Categories: bike, sunrise
Categories: bike, process, summer camp

My morning bike ride took me down the lakefront… minding my own bunsiness
and enjoying the sunrise as usual. But then I was drawn across Lake Shore Drive
at Fullerton… for a sign of things to come…


Categories: bike, sunrise



C’mon… can there BE a better way to start your morning
than with spectacular views like this while pedaling along the lakefront?!
It’s sunrises like this that help get me out of bed when that alarm clock goes off!!!!

Categories: sunrise



The same stunning sunrise this morning… about ten minutes later…