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

So, another month has come to an end. Which also means that another “deadline” for the monthly Holiday Ornament Challenge has come as well. I know I put off making mine until the very last moment. But being in the studio all day long today while firing the soda kiln turned out to be the perfect opportunity to get my ornaments made! So I started by making some textured stars… some outlines, some solids… well okay, the solids are really just the cut-out form the outline ones!

And then I did a little assembling & “bulging” of the solid star to make it them even more dimensional. I’m thinking that they might still get a coat of white slip on the center star to help them “pop” from the other one. We’ll see…

And what about Sarah Chapman’s ornament you may ask?… well, it seems as though another month has passed that Sarah didn’t have time to make her entry. I know she’s been busy with last weekend’s Bucktown Arts Fest, and dealing with a lot of family issues since the passing of her mother. So maybe we need to give her a pass?… or not. Maybe we just call her a slacker?!!!

Categories: kiln firing

Soda mixture going in. Flames shooting out. Cones going down.
All is right with the world… err, well at least in the kiln room!

Categories: kiln firing

Cone 8 is down on top… and the bottom one is trying its best to catch up!!!

Categories: kiln firing, process

Glazing is done. Thankfully. I hate glazing! So I’m always thrilled when it’s done!!!
Equally pleased when I eventually get my studio cart down into the kiln room – and all of the pots made it there in one piece! I “strap ’em in” with strips of masking tape. Kind of a “safety belt” for the glazed pots so they can survive the bumpy trip downstairs from my studio via the rickety freight elevator!!!

So first up… stacking the back set of shelves. It’s always like a game of Tetris fitting in as many pieces as possible, while pacing yourself to mix the big & small pieces evenly throughout the kiln. And don’t forget about leaving a little space for air-flow so the soda has some way to travel through the pots. I have a tendency to pack the kiln as tight as I can… and I think I’m off to a good start.

Once the back stack is done, it’s time to start the front stack which is two shelves deep. More space to fill with more pots! Again… get in as much as you can without packing it too tight. Delicate balance… that I always err on the side of packing too tight!!! Especially when you’re getting ready for another art fair where I’ll have a DOUBLE booth space!!!

“Art In The Barn” in Barrington, Illinois – September 28th & 29th, 2013
More details to come…

So it’s packed all the way to the top where I always try to fit in right up to the curve of the arch. Or in this case… lack of arch!!! In fact, as soon as I unload my kiln on Monday night, this kiln is being demolished Tuesday morning to be rebuilt woith a better & safer kiln arch. This kiln has been “well-used” and too many of the bricks have been moving around. So it’s time to be replaced. I’m just glad that I got in for this firing BEFORE they tear it down!


Categories: nature

As I was in the studio glazing, I could hear the sounds of a storm rolling through. So I checked it out from the third floor of Lillstreet… and luckily, had brought my camera along. I t was pretty impressive being able to see the actual storm from moving through… and the fact that we were right on the edge of the storm. Oh and look, there it is… the actual EDGE of the storm!!!

Categories: glaze, holiday, ornaments, process

And speaking of filler pieces… I’m spending a few extra hours glazing up my spiral holiday ornaments. I had made plans with a friend of mine who was going to come over Thursday night to be my “glazing assistant” and these ornaments were going to be her job. I was really looking forward to spending time with her, chatting & glazing, and getting them done at the same time. However, Nancy got stuck late at work and couldn’t make it. So… I’m glazing them tonight – pushing my glaze & loading time back a couple hours!!! I think I need to find a more reliable assistant… I’m just sayin’.

And now that they’re all glazed, now I need to go back to wipe the glaze off the top surfaces to leave the glaze only in the stamped indentations. This might take awhile. I guess I made more of these than I thought?!…

Categories: glaze, process, studio

More glazing… and now the second side of my studio cart is full. Just a few more filler pieces and I should be ready to start loading.

And I must admit… I’m kind of excited about my new teapots! I haven’t made any for far too long. I just hope that they turn out as well after the firing. They’re too much work for them to get “ruined” with a bad glaze job!

Categories: nature, sunrise
Categories: bike, sunrise

After a couple days of gloomy fog & mist, it was refreshing to have a clear sunrise morning once again! It was already pretty warm… looks like it could become another hot one today?!

Categories: glaze, process, production, studio

It was a long & productive evening in the studio. I’m loading the soda kiln tomorrow night… and I still have a LOT of glazing & wadding to do. Tonight I filled the front half of my studio cart… tomorrow I tackle the other side. When the cart is full, I know I’m pretty close to a full soda kiln!