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

Tonight my beginning wheel class tackled their first bowls.
Bowls on purpose. Not cylinders that just “happened” to become a bowl.

We work on creating a nice “curve” on the inside of the bowls. And then, once they start
making bowls, I quickly throw a bunch of bowls all “kinda” the same. We then reconvene
for more demos on how to change & decorate their bowls. I try to encourage them to “alter”
their bowls and not just settle for the “round bowl the wheel made for me.”  I also introduce
color slips as a design possibility. So here’s a quick overview of the ten bowls I made tonight.
Each on starting from the same basic shape… but then pushed just a little further!

Bowl #1 – Four Fluted – just four simple flips of the rim.
Bowl #2 – Eight Fluted – if four is good, aren’t eight better?!

Bowl #3 – Flanged Rim – take rim and fold it down
Bowl #4 – Flanged & Fluted – once the flange is folded out, a couple flips to flute!

Bowl #5 – Wide Flange – more flange, more style, less food?!
Bowl #6 – Impressed Petals – a simple dragon-scale tool makes a quick flower!

Bowl #7 – Split & Squared – a split rim, pinched & squared a bit.
Bowl #8 – Slip Spiral – cover the inside with slip then drag a tool through it while spinning

Bowl #9 – Slip Bands & Squiggles – cover the inside and drag again – this time with style!
Bowl #10 – Chattered Slip – cover the inside then do some chattering with a plastic rib.

So now all of the bowls are safe in my studio. I wrapped them with plastic to keep them wet
overnight. Tomorrow I plan on doing a bit more decorating… maybe some stamping?!
Shocking, I know…

Categories: bike, sunrise

Today was warm. When I woke up I was surprised how warm it was
with the “smell of Spring” in the air. I know it’s just the end of January…
but I’m already kind of encouraged that Spring may be on the way! Soon!!!
And to celebrate, it was a beautiful morning for another sunrise bike ride!

Although the weather was quite warm, the ice still has not melted off the lakefront rocks.
And who can believe that the big “storm of the century” was a year ago tomorrow!!!
Who knows… we could have “Snowmaggedon” all over again… tomorrow?!!!

Categories: nature, photography
Categories: nature

As part of our Asian themed party, we had branches of blooming cherry blossoms
in several of the rooms. A beautiful “pop” of color and a hint of Spring. Lucky for me…
we had some leftovers! So I brought home a few bundles to brighten up my home.

So many branches… so many that my neighbors got a beautiful centerpiece too!!!
Even this beautiful branch in an Emily Murphy bottle is now gracing my back porch.
Even a small bundle on my stove in fromt of my collection of mini’s!

And I think my class might “benefit” from some extras on Tuesday night as well.
Shhhh… don’t ruin the surprise!

Categories: special events

One of the best parts of my “glitter gig” is working with great clients
who have wonderful ideas for the fantastic parties they want us to make for them!
I get to meet with the client, figure out what they’re looking for and then figure out
how we’re going to make it happen! And then let the fun begin…

This weekend was a wonderful party at a private residence in  north suburb of Chicago.
They wanted a spectacular Chinese New Year Party… and we made it happen!
One of the biggest things they wanted was an impressive entrance treatment in front
of their house so they guest would have to enter through it. So I drew a few sketches,
took it down to the shop and talked it over with our fabricating team. They made a few
minor suggestions… and then I did more specific renderings to scale, separating the layers.
As they started building my version of a Chinatown gate, I was picking colors and deciding
what Chinese symbol should be on each side. We ended up with “Friendship” as the guests
arrived, and “Prosperity” as they were leaving the party.

The Chinatown gate was installed during the day… and then theatrically lit for the evening’s
festivities. With the dramatic colors, it almost looked like it was part of the house.
The clients loved it… and the guests were thrilled and many used it as a photo-op before
entering the party! Always thrilling for me to see the ideas in my head become a reality!

Categories: classes, process, stamps

Two of my favorites!… Mugs & Stamps!
Tonight my Beginning Wheelthrowing students finished their first mugs!
They trimmed their cylinders, pulled traditional handles and attached them.
Not bad for their third week of class, huh?!

After finishing their mugs, we then switched over to making stamps!
We always do it early in the session so that they can get them bisqued quickly. Then they
can start using them for the rest of the session. Tonight they made their first stamps…
let their texturing begin!!!

Categories: movie

Well, the Academy Award nominations were just announced.
And with the Oscars just 33 days away… I have a LOT of movies to see!
I try every year to see all of the movies nominated for “Best Picture.”
I feel that gives me a pretty well-rounded scope for the rest of the
nominations as well. Plus, why bother with the mediocre movies?
I’ll wait for the “Best Pictures” of the year. So here they are…

The Artist
The Descendants
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
The Help
Midnight In Paris
The Tree Of Life
War Horse

I’ve seen one!
And have never even heard of “The Tree Of Life”???
So at this point, I’m going with “The Artist” to win Best Picture.
Mainly because I haven’t seen the rest of them yet!!!

Categories: glaze, stamps, textures

Tonight I made it into the studio to pick up some new pots that had just come out
of the cone 10 studio kiln. I don’t know what Corinne did “special” while she was
firing the kiln, but everything turned out beautifully!. With all of my glazes
“breaking” in all the right places! Thank you Corinne… I’ll be your “kiln filler” any time!

Categories: holiday

Happy Chinese New Year… Happy New Lunar Year… Happy Spring Festival…
Whichever… you choose!!!

Categories: nature

The snow finally hit Chicago today.
We’ve had a few flurries here & there… but nothing like today!
And of course, the worst of it was during the evening rush hour. So my 8-mile
drive from “glitter gig” to the studio took me just over two hours and fifteen minutes!!!
And this is what it looked like most of the way… green street lights & red tail lights!

And not a single City snow plow along the way! What’s up with that???
Who would have thought that less than two weeks ago I was riding my bike
along the lakefront enjoying beautiful sunrises?!

If I didn’t need to make it to the studio to “top off” a cone 10 kiln tonight
I would have definitely gone straight home. But thanks to Corinne, she had
some space left in her kiln and was asking for people to fill the space…
and you know I’m the “King Of Kiln Filler”!!!