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

As if  didn’t have enough to do… I knew that I wanted to add another “monster”
to the collection. Last year I made the skulls, pumpkins & Frankensteins. So this year,
I’m adding Vampires into the mix. But of course I’m running late… so after my adult
wheelthrowing class tonight, I stayed late in the studio making these new Vampires!
So now that they’re built, I need to come back to paint & underglaze them all… and add
a layer of clear glaze… and get them into the kiln tomorrow night! Yikes!!!

Categories: bike, sunrise

Fall is here. The weather is changing. Cooler. Damper. Darker.
And as the sunrise keeps getting later & later in the morning, I’ve been finding
it tougher to get out for the morning ride. It seems like it’s been wet & rainy
every morning for the past week or so?! Finally today… a chance to play.
And the view over the harbor was stunning… with boats, trees, reflections…

Categories: kiln firing

After a full weekend of loading, firing & cooling… it is always so much fun
to unload the kiln. Lots of pots. Lots of mugs. Lots of bowls. Lots of tiles…
plus a few pops of color, with a new blue glaze I’ve been toying with!
Especially fun when you take off the first few rows of shelves…
only to find this brilliant new blue jumping back at you! Exciting!!!

And then once you get the rest of the door unbricked, you can see the entire kiln load.
Well, except for all of the treasures that are hidden behind the pots that faced the door!

And with the holidays coming sooner that you think… lots of new ornaments!!!

Next up… adding some wire hanger hoops to the top of each ornament.
Christmas will be here before you know it…

Categories: process, production

My terra cotta cylinders are definitely coming together. Monsters taking shape…
But that’s not the only scary thing in the studio. Look at the calendar…
I’m quickly running out of time to get these done!!! Yikes!

Categories: television

Happy Birthday Lucille Ball.
Hard to believe that she would have been 100 years old today
if she were still alive! Yet sadly, she’s moved on to another comedy sketch in the sky!

Luckily, her legacy of laughter will live on forever.
Whether she’s battling the chocolate conveyor belt…
or hatching another scheme with Ethel… lying to Ricky… teasing Fred…
or pitching the ever popular & everyone’s favorite Vitavetavegamin!!!

Categories: process, production, studio

During my firing, I knew I had a lot of time to kill. You’re stuck there ALL day firing!
So, as typical for most firing days, I spent several hours cleaning & putting my studio
back together. The pace was a mess for the past couple days of frantic glazing & prepping.
When I finally had a clean studio… it was time to mess it up again!

With “Art In The Barn” just one week away… and Fall kicking in all around us…
I felt I needed to make some more of my terra cotta “monsters” that were a hit last year!
So I started throwing some terra cotta cylinders that will be transformed into their
alter-ego’s over the next couple days. And that’s all I’ve got… my next kiln is scheduled
for Wednesday night. Which means I need to get them all assembled & decorated in the
next few days, underglaze them, glaze them, load them & fire them… and hopefully get them
out of the kiln Friday evening… just in time for Saturday’s kick-off to “Art In The Barn.”

So they may not look like much now… but these will become pumpkins…

And these will be come skulls…

And these will become Frankenstein monsters!!!… if all goes as planned…

Still hoping to make a fourth “monster” too… but too sure I’ll have time?!
And I’m still looking for some “monster inspiration”? Any suggestions???

Categories: kiln firing

Well, after just a couple hours of sleep and a quick shower…
it was back to the studio with for a full day of firing my soda kiln.
I started the kiln early in the morning and it all went smoothly. With the temperature
raising at the right rate, body reduction where it should be… and the rest of the day
the kiln seemed to “fire itself.” In the afternoon, I measured up my soda mixture of
soda ash, soda bicarbonate, whiting and wood chips! When the kiln gets up to the top
temperatures, it’s time to start inserting the soda mixture into the kiln. So around
cone 9, I started putting it in every 15-20 minutes. All in all, an easy firing.
So now I wait… the kiln is all closed up and cooling slowly. Fingers crossed…

Plus, besides firing my kiln all day, I also got a beautiful firing “souvenir.”
Albeit a temporary & slightly painful souvenir… it was a quick reminder how
hot things can get around the kiln. At one point during the firing, one of the wires
popped out of the pyrometer and I needed to fix it. So I tried to pull the pyrometer out
of the kiln part way with gloves on… and I still got burned!!! Luckily, it was a minor
burn. Imagine how bad it would have been if I didn’t have gloves on!!!

Yuck. And pay no attention to the grimy terra cotta residue in my overly dried-out
& beat-up fingers! They’ve been working hard… and need some TLC. Soon…

Categories: kiln firing, process

Well… it was later than I would have liked it to be.
By the time I finally finished glazing & wadding, it was quite late in the evening.
And I still had HOURS of loading ahead of me! It literally takes me hours & hours!!!
Placing every piece in the kiln, stacking shelves & posts… and putting hundreds
of tiles all over the place. My goal is to utilize every possible space in the kiln.
It pains me to see empty space & blank kiln shelves. So I like to make a wide range
of pieces in all different sizes so it all fits together really well. Tiny pieces fit everywhere!
I want every shelf space covered with something!!! I’m the “King Of Kiln Filler.”

With the back stack full, it’s time to move to the front stack. Easier with less climbing inside!
Two shelves deep that stack up together… or separate shelves is it helps pack tighter!
And room for a LOT more work to go into the kiln. More stacking. more packing. More fun!!!

And once I was done loading, it was time to brick up the door.
Closing the kiln for the night… err, well at this point,
it was early morning. Who are we kidding?!

Categories: bike, sunrise

This morning was dark.
Very dark… except for that one big stripe of red on the horizon!

Yet as the sunrise continued, that layer of clouds that kept the morning dark
began to brightened. The drama continued with layers of red on the underside of every cloud!

Beautiful. Love the colors. Love the transformation.

Categories: glaze, process, production

Just a couple days away from my soda kiln… and I’m still glazing!!!
I still have a LOT to get done before I can start loading tomorrow evening.
I have a lot of pieces in different stages of glazing. Some have liner glazes.
Some have glaze inlays in the stamped impressions. Some still need sprayed
color accents. Some need wadding. Some still need a LOT of work!!!
Luckily, my “apprentice” Nancy was available & came in for a second night of fun!!!