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

My cylinders have been stamped & trimmed.
But to make them into mugs, they need handles. And tonight was the night.

Twenty-one handles on twenty-one cylinders makes twenty-one mugs!

So I start with small pieces of clay. I pound them on my table and rotate them so they start to form this little “carrot-shaped” wedge of clay. I make enough of them to create handles for all of the cylinders in waiting.

Then I pick them up from the fat end, give them a pinch, and start pulling the handle. With a wet hand, I slide down the clay with a bit of pressure. The friction draws the clay down – stretching it and making it thinner at the same time. Once I get it thinned down to a good “strap handle” width & thickness, I gently give them a “flip” so they can stand up like this. The flip gives them a gentle curve and sets them up pretty close to the curved handle shape I want. It also keeps them out of my way while they set-up a bit. After a few minutes, I put a piece of plastic over them very loosely. Then I start attaching them – oldest & driest handles first. And the plastic keeps the rest from drying out too quickly as I work through them all.

When the freshly pulled handles stiffen up a bit, I cut out the portion I want to use and carefully attach them to the cylinders. After a bit of scoring & slipping, they stick in place and I try to smooth everything in for a neat attachment.

After they’re all attached, I wrap them up overnight so the moisture levels can even out a bit. After a 24-hour rest, I will paint them with some colored flashing slip and then let them dry the rest of the way.

Then it will be off to a cone 06 bisque kiln… then glazing… and then my next soda kiln!



October 26th, 2013

Hi Gary, I love seeing how you make your pots, please keep on posting! Your works are gorgeous… any chance of an Etsy shop or another online shop? Also, I wonder if some day you would share a tour of your studio space? I’m curious!

October 27th, 2013

HEY LIZ – Thanks for the great comments. As of right now, I do not have any sort of online shop. I keep thinking that I need to start up an Etsy shop, but time keeps slipping away. I’d rather make pots, than do all the busy-work of selling them online. I do art fairs in the Chicago area… and my next big show is my Holiday Home Show. It’s in my condo with pots in every room of my place. Every year it’s the weekend before Thanksgiving. So it’s just weeks away. And yes, of course I would always be up for a studio tour. You’ll be amazed at how small my space actually is!!! It’s tiny!!! Just let me know if you’re thinking of stopping by and I’ll try my best to be there. Keep me posted.

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