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

Earlier & darker. Seems like my ride just gets earlier every day?!
Because I’m now trying to add a swim in the lake to my morning routine…
Bike… Swim… Sunrise… Bike… Shower… Breakfast… Summer Camp…              Repeat.

Further down the road, miles & minutes had passed, and the sky was finally brightening up.
The morning sky went through a lot of transitions this morning… an AM quick change!!!

Soon enough, the clouds began to “warm up” with wonderful shades of pinks & oranges. A beautiful contrast to the dark gray clouds just hanging out over the lake.

As the pink clouds began to dissipate, the morning sky took on beautiful shades of orange.

Finally, the sun popped out over the horizon. A welcome sight.

And then the orange disappeared as the sun began to shimmer across the water.

Beautiful. And well worth the wait.


Categories: bowls, process, stamps

This past Tuesday night, I did a demo on making larger bowls. Remember, last week I introduced making “bowls on purpose” instead of a cylinder gone bad. This week we went a little further. And I showed them how to make a larger bowl… with a larger piece of clay! When I took my demo bowl upstairs to store it in my studio, it was still too wet to stamp. So I let it sit under plastic overnight so I could finish off the bowl with a little stamping!!!

Here’s the bowl after the first round of stamping.  Just a single row of stamping around the rim can make a HUGE difference. Suddenly, it’s no longer just a plain round bowl.

Next, I took the rounded end of my large loop trimming tool and did a little decorative curving of the edge. Lining up the curves in between each of the stamps.

And if one line of stamps is good… wouldn’t two rows be even better?! So I added another of stamps with a smaller “detailing” stamp just for fun. And sadly, you can’t see it, but I added another row around on the outside of the bowl too!

So here’s the “finished” bowl after stamping. Now it still needs to dry slowly to leather-hard so I can trim it. Then the usual… trimming, drying, bisque firing, glazing & final glaze firing!

Categories: mugs, stamps

Tonight I knew I had to get a “handle” on things…
So many trimmed cylinders in my studio that needed handles attached.
It’s not going to be a MUG if it doesn’t have a handle!

So I hunkered down and started pulling handles & attaching handles.
Score… score… slip… attach… smooth… curve… set aside… repeat.
40 Cylinders + 40 handles = 40 Mugs!!!

Now that I have 40 mugs in this latest batch, they’re going to stay under wraps overnight so the moisture level can balance out a bit. Plus, I still need to keep them leather-hard enough that I still can add colored slip accents tomorrow evening!


Categories: classes, studio, summer camp

Another LONG day at the studio today!
Summer Camp this morning with 5-8 years olds.
Summer Camp this afternoon with 8-12 year olds.
And my Beginning Wheelthrowing Class this evening with adults.
Full spectrum of classes & ages.

Oh yeah, and I trimmed all forty mug cylinders too!!!

Categories: summer camp

Today at Summer Camp we painted color wheels with tempera paints.
The perfect use for cardboard pizza rounds!

The kids started be drawing the lines on their boards to make the sections. Once they were drawn, they were ready to start painting. We discussed primary colors, secondary colors as well as hues & shades. They were given red, yellow & blue paints for the interior ring of solid colors, as well as black & white for the lighter & darker rings. They had to mix all of the colors themselves. I was only their to coach & encourage.

All of the kids did a really good job. Of course, some did a better job than others of staying inside the lines. But then again, it’s art… so who cares, really?! I was just more concerned that they were not rushing through the project. Instead, I wanted them to grasp the concept and learn a little something about color theory.

Those who “complained” that they had already done color wheels before were challenged to do a tougher version. So they had to split their boards into twice as many sections. And then do all of the tertiary colors in between!

When the kids finished their color wheels, if there was still time left, they were then challenged to do a two-color gradation.


Categories: bike, sunrise

Low, dark clouds on the horizon again.
I wasn’t expecting much of a sunrise as I assumed the clouds might just block the sun.

But as luck would have it, the wind changed, the clouds moved and “incredible” happened! I love when the sun & clouds work together in perfect harmony and beautiful light rays splash across the sky!

Categories: mugs, process, production, stamps

Last night I threw cylinders. Forty of them out of my newly reclaimed clay.
Today I was prepared to stamp them all after Summer Camp. So first I had to pick out a few stamps… and yes, I have more than “a few” to choose from. In fact, I have five tool boxes just like this one!!! Can you say addiction?!

Then I set to it… stamping each cylinder one by one, cylinder by cylinder, stamp by stamp, impression by impression. Sure, some of them were a little on the wet side of leather-hard. But I’m kind of finding that I can “play with them more” when they’re just past that edge of squishy!

A little close-up of a cylinder in mid-stamping. With each and every impression, I make sure to support the clay from the inside as I press the stamp into the cylinder – so as to not warp or squish the cylinder.

One by one. Mug by mug. And soon enough… all forty were stamped! So I wrapped them up for the night… and I hope to trim them all tomorrow after a full day of summer campers!!! And then if all goes well, I might be able to start adding handles & slip decoration by Wednesday night?!


Categories: bike, sunrise

This morning started out dark. Dark clouds. Shades of blue. Kinda gloomy.

But then, those same dark clouds turned beautiful shades of pink. Still a bit ominous with the layers of darker clouds hovering low above the horizon.

Then, just a quickly, the beautiful rose colors disappeared… and the horizon seemed to open up with bright clouds stretching across the sky! Another beautiful morning through all of the transitions!

Categories: mugs, process, production, studio

This evening was a very productive night in the studio. Wedging & throwing!
Already putting my new reclaimed clay to good use…

And since I’m just now beginning to build a whole new kiln’s worth of pots, you know I’ve got to start with my favorite… MUGS!!! So tonight I started by throwing the basic cylinders out of the new clay I just finished reclaiming. And I must admit… the clay was pretty darn sweet.  It threw very well. A good mix of who-knows-what???

Categories: nature

Another beautiful day… for another beautiful bike ride!