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

With “Art In The Barn” coming up this weekend, I knew I had to make more ceramic
pumpkins to “cash in” on the seasonal festivities! So I started by throwing a bunch of
terra cotta cylinders. Trying not to get overwhelmed by the “mess” of terra cotta!!!

The next day, after they had stiffened up a bit, I trimmed the bottoms a little bit.
Then, with the edge of a square chopstick, I added some pumpkin lines and fluted the top
a bit to make it look as though the top was removed.

Then it was time to give them a face… and a little personality. I decided to just press the
details into the pumpkins instead of carving through like a Jack O’Lantern. I figure people
might rather use them for holding Halloween treats… like my favorite… plain M&M’s!!!

After the faces, I also added little “balls” for feet on the bottom to raise them up a bit.
Plus a few little “warts” to make each pumpkin a bit more “authentic.”

I let them dry overnight – and then painted them the next night with colored underglazes
to really bring them to life. I did some with orange underglaze, but decided to leave a few
of them “plain” terra cotta color.

They dried again overnight, and then were painted with low-fire clear glaze the next night.
Which for some strange reason, is this funky shade of green?! Luckily, it transforms
to a nice clear glaze during the firing. Also making the underglaze colors really pop.

Then it was into the kiln for a quick 12-hour firing to cone 04. A day of cooling and they finally
came out of the kiln this evening. Just in time to go to Barrington for set-up tomorrow!

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