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

Tonight I worked in the spotlight. And not in a good way.
Once again, the fluorescent lighting in my studio is on the fritz. They’ve changed the bulbs, but now apparently it’s the ballast that needs to be fixed?! So I’ve been working in the dark now for about a week… waiting to see the light!!!]

Until then, I’m working in the warm “glow” from my task lighting mixed with a bit of annoying flicker from the fluorescent lighting. Fun, huh?!

Last night I trimmed my cylinders, so tonight it was time for handles!!! I start by making these little “carrot-shaped” pieces of clay. One for each handle. One for each mug… and usually, at least one extra in case I goof up somewhere along the way.

Then I pick them up from the fat end and start “pulling handles” the traditional way. Wet hand sliding down the “carrot” with a bit of friction to help “massage & stretch” the clay into a strappy handle. Then I loop them over and stand them up on themselves. so they can stiffen up a bit with the curved-handle-shape already started.

Loved the shadows being thrown through the handle loops from my “moonlight” task lighting.

Once they’ve stiffened up, I start to attach them to the cylinders. Cutting out the section of the strappy handle that I want, bending it a bit more to fit the mug and then attaching. Score, slip, attach, repeat. Score, slip, attach, repeat…. repeat… still in the yellow “moonlight” glow…

Eventually I had them all done…. a couple dozen new mugs ready to be wrapped up for the night. When I come back, I’ll do a few minor touch-ups, add some soda colored slips and then let them start drying.

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