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

One of my returning students came in this session and said she wanted to focus on words & typography. She ended up with this great trick of using letter pasta! She presses the pasta into the moist clay. And burns them out in the bisque firing to literally put her voice into her pots… or in this case, Kenny’s voice!!!

Ya’ gotta love the organization… wioth the perfect containers in the perfect box. And then each containers holding letters that are pre-separated. I would expect nothing less form a good Montessori School teacher.

And here’s her mug… ready for any “Gambler” in the family!


June 6th, 2013

Interesting idea for creating text on pots. Seems like that would be a lot of work separating all that pasta, though. Why does she not just use stamps?

June 9th, 2013

Interesting idea. Does she not get any cracking due to the clay shrinking onto the pasta letters?


June 21st, 2013

Thats an amazing idea! What a way to put you into your mug!
Very nice

July 1st, 2013

What a fabulous idea. Can’t wait to try it out!

July 10th, 2013

Nope. No cracking. I think that the letters are small enough, absorb some of the water, and at that scale, the shrinkage is pretty small in relation to the overall pot. Or maybe she’s just been lucky?!!!

September 29th, 2013

I love love love this idea! Can’t wait to try it this week! Wonder if it would work on clay pendants?

leslie vaughan

November 27th, 2013

Love this idea! I had the same idea and bought the pasta but never tried it due to lack of time. Thanks for showing us that it really works. I think the great part here is that you don’t have to clean up or keep track of stamps and in a classroom everyone can have all the letters they need without having to wait their turn.


January 11th, 2014

I was wondering, do the noodles smoke in the kiln when being fired?

January 14th, 2014

CHRISTIE – Honestly, it never crossed my mind. I assume they must smoke a bit, but I think they would burn-out & disappear faster than they would smoke. I’ve never noticed any smoke coming out of the kiln… but I’m also not putting six million pasta letters into one kiln. So I’ve never worried about it. Good question though.


January 22nd, 2014

I would love to see the finished mug! Such a great idea!

January 29th, 2014

Yes, it is a great idea!
I’ve had a lot of incredible students.
Click HERE for a link to the blog post
that showed the final results on some of Tracey’s pieces.


March 13th, 2014

I would like to see your pottery after Bisque firing and then a finished product. I bet it is very nice,


March 26th, 2014

Where do you get the alphabet noodles? I have only found very small ones that are too small.

March 27th, 2014

NANCY – I found mine at my local “Jewel” grocery store. In the pasta section. I’ve heard you can sometimes find them at the Dollar Store as well. But they are small. Maybe they look larger in the photos? They are pretty darn small.


April 6th, 2014

Is there any way I can order this “Gambler” mug? Or a place online I can purchase it?

April 7th, 2014

JESSICA – That wonderful “Gambler” mug was made by one of my students. I think she only made one of them. But she might be willing to make more. You can contact her directly via e-mail…


August 27th, 2014

Is it safe for the kiln to do the bisque firing in an electric kiln to burn off the pasta?

August 28th, 2014

EMILY – Yes, it is totally safe. The “amount” of pasta in the big kiln is SO negligible. Tiny letters don’t have much actual “pasta” in them… it burns out quickly!!!


September 9th, 2014

One more question. How big are these letters? I’ve only been able to find pasta that’s about 1/8 inch tall. Your pictures look to be about a half an inch.

September 9th, 2014

EMILY – They’re pretty tiny. I’d say 1/8″ is about right. Maybe a teeny smidge bigger?? It would be fun if the pasta-makers made them in assorted fonts & point sizes, huh?!!! But alas, I’ve only found one size & one font. Mwah, mwah, mwah…


February 21st, 2015

Great idea. I am just wondering if you can paint over the pasta in the greenware stage. So for an example if you paint over the white earthenware in black that after it has been fired the letters will remain white?

February 21st, 2015

Yes. I think that should work… as long as the what you are painting over with is not too runny. You need it to sit on top of the pasta, and NOT run under the pasta. So I usually use a thicker colored slip to paint over instead of an oxide or stain wash. I would to a few test runs before diving in head-first! Good luck.

May 15th, 2015

This girl came to my school and taught us how to do pottery – unfortunately mine looks like a monkey did it -_-

Nancy Simpson

October 9th, 2016

That is so unique, I can’t wait to try this when I get my kiln. Thank you for such a great idea.

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