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

With November right around the corner…
I’m becoming a little overwhelmed with the idea that my Holiday Home Show
is now less than three weeks away. So I’m in the studio trying to crank out as much
work as I can to fill another soda kiln before then. At least now I’m one step closer…
I just designed my postcards and sent them to the printer!

Sure, I’m running a little behind schedule on these… but with expedited shipping,
these will get out into the mail just in time! But until then, mark your calendars now!

“My Home For The Holidays” Home Show 2011
Saturday, November 19th – 10:00am-6:00pm
Sunday, November 20th – 10:00am-6:00pm

More details to come…

Categories: holiday

I really love these crazy-cool, over-the-top pumpkin carvings…
but what ever happened to the good old-fashioned Jack-o-lantern?!
But then again, who am I to say anything with my own trio of monsters greeting the day!

Sadly, the newest member of my monster gang didn’t quite make it into the photo?!

Categories: bike, sunrise

With an appropriately “spooky” start of the day, today’s Halloween sunrise changed its
costume into a beautifully subdued pastel sky. With a hint of color peeking out as the large
cloud moved on through the morning sky.

Categories: process, production, stamps

So now that I have a “few” mugs built and ready to bisque, this weekend I started
working on making new bowls for my upcoming kiln. So I threw some last night,
more today… and luckily, was able to start stamping today! If all goes well, I will
be able to finish stamping tomorrow and get them all trimmed as well. I know it’s
quick, but I’m hoping to get them into my Tuesday night bisque kiln!

And now for a quick glimpse at the tools of the trade!
A couple toolboxes full of handmade stamps and my trusty Shimpo banding wheel.
My first pottery gift from my parents when I started getting “serious” about clay!

Categories: inspiration, television

I love clever punsclever wordplay gets me every time.
I love gigglingand seeing people giggle uncontrollably in an awkward situation.
And now I love Anderson Cooper for both of those reasons.

Yes, generally professional, straight-laced, and well-respected CNN Anchor
Anderson Cooper has combined a crazy “news” story with a ton of puns and
cracks himself up. On air. On CNN. On one of the most respected news shows
in the country!!! Imagine him doing this while interviewing the President…
or the Queen Mother… or reporting from the front lines in Iraq… or while hosting
“The Mole.” Yes, some of us do remember that he got his start on broadcast TV
as the host of the reality show “The Mole.” We should have known then…

Click here for the video… Anderson Cooper Giggling on CNN

And then, the following evening on CNN, he revisits the incident and puts humself
on “The Ridiculist” and calls out other on-air TV gigglers! More giggling fun…

Click here for the follow-up video… Anderson Cooper Puts Himself on “The Ridiculist.”

Categories: art fair, holiday

Three weeks from today… and three weeks from tomorrow…

“My Home For The Holidays” Home Show
Saturday, November 19th – 10:00am-6:00pm
Sunday, November 20th – 10:00am-6:00pm

Mark your calendars now for my annual Holiday Home Show.
On the north side of Chicago in the Edgewater neighborhood.
It’s the perfect chance to start your holiday shopping…
or just stop by to hang out on my sofa for the day!

It’s my biggest pottery sale of the entire year. Every room of my condo
is decked out and filled with pottery. The biggest selection of pots you’ll see
from Fire When Ready Pottery all year long! With food & drinks in the kitchen…
and the annual “Tired Of Shlepping Sale” on the back porch.
More details to come… or e-mail me for specifics :

Categories: pottery, production, studio

You know I love making mugs!
And tonight I finally finished adding handles, painting some colored slip accents and
setting them out to dry. Half of them are made of soda stoneware, the other half B-Clay.
All of them are set to be fired in my upcoming soda kiln. The B-Clay works especially well
in the back stack of the kiln, whereas the soda clay turns out better with a little heavier
coverage of soda glaze build-up. So I need to keep track of which is which… okay…
so there’s a small “code” on the bottom of each piece to help with that.

So now they’re drying… waiting to go into my next bisque kiln on Tuesday.
Forty-four of them… just in case you’re counting! Then they’ll be glazed and soda fired
just in time for my upcoming Holiday Home Show!

Categories: pottery, process, production, studio

So last week, we worked on ovals in my Tuesday night class.
One of my brand new students had seen my ovals here on the blog, and asked if we could
cover how to make them in class. So I said sure, even though “brand new beginners”
don’t generally get to make ovals. But then again, after the demo… Jen has been all over
the ovals and has already made a couple of them!

Since then, I’ve been all over the ovals in my studio as well.
And when I dive into production mode, I have a tendency to go a little overboard. I may
have done that again here… as I’ve run out of space in my studio because of the ovals!!!

Since the demo was so “inspiring” to Jen… I thought I’d cover a bit of them here too.
So when I start making my ovals, I generally throw a large bottomless cylinder on a bat.
For these ovals, I also made split rims while I was throwing them so I would have a little more
to play with later when stamping & decorating. Once the cylinders have lost their “shine”
and stickiness, I wire them off the bat, pick them up carefully and manipulate them into the
oval shape. I let them set up even more, do some stamping, some pinching, some fluting…
you know, more of my usual decorating tricks!

The next step is to add a bottom onto the bottomless “now-ovaled” cylinders. So I throw out
a slab of clay large enough to fit the oval. Then I carefully pick up the oval, set it on the slab
and trace the shape. Then I take it off, flip it over and score & slip both pieces. Carefully
putting them back together and “squishing” them carefully so they stick! Since I was tired
and running out of time, I wrapped them up and let them sit like that overnight.

The next day, I came in and worked to clean-up the bottoms and edges. So I flipped the
combined form together and trimmed off the extra clay with my firm green rib. Carefully
scraping off the excess clay – trying to combine top & bottom seamlessly.

Then I take a flat sided paddle to compress the edges together  – making sure the
connection is strong, as well as creating a nice corner-angle-undercut all the way around.

Once the bottom is attached, trimmed and smoothed into place, I carefully flip it
back over and decide if it needs handles – and this time the answer was yes!

So I rolled out coils of clay and textured them with a grooved rod that I found at a flea market.
I think it’s a piece from Lincoln Logs or some other kid’s game?! Hey, but it works great!
So I press the textured rod into the coils to get the textured, then bend them into the handle
shape. I always do both handles at the same time so that they match.

Then, it’s more scoring & slipping to get the handles attached.
A few last minute touch-ups and then they were done for another night.

Special thanks to my studio neighbors Lisa Harris, Cathi Bouzide & Karen Patinkin
for letting me “borrow” some table space while I’ve been working on these…
many times without them even knowing it!

I wrapped them up in plastic for one last night. Hoping that the slower drying will give
all the parts a little more time to balance out and dry more evenly. Unfortunately, all these
ovals are taking up a LOT of space in my already small studio. So much so…
that these ovals have been relegated to the floor!!! Careful where you walk…

After an evening of “slow drying” under plastic, they’ll be uncovered so they can dry the
rest of the way… and then go into my next bisque kiln scheduled for next Tuesday night!

Categories: bike, sunrise

With last night’s threat of a first frost, it was a little chillier & wetter than usual
this morning. I don’t think we got any actual frost… but it was very cold & chilling
this morning. Bone chilling. But still beautiful.

Categories: Chicago

I love when my “glitter gig” lets me “escape” and go wild… like almost always!
And this afternoon was a fun escape to the Lincoln Park Zoo for a pre-site visit
for an upcoming holiday project! It was a beautiful day to play outside!