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

No sunrise this morning. Just cold gray skies.
At least we have some beautiful Spring flowers to brighten the day.

Categories: mugs, process, production

Another fresh batch of mugs with new handles.
The perfect way to finish off another Mugshot Monday!

It all started with some stamped cylinders and some freshly pulled handles.

And ended with another batch of mugs… stamped, handled and ready to start drying!

Categories: mugs, soda-fired, stamped
Categories: bike, sunrise

So nice and warm this morning.
Beautiful sunrise, beautiful clouds… and a beautiful tailwind home to boot!!!

Categories: flowers, soda-fired, stamped

Spring flowers in a stamped & soda-fired tumbler. So nice to have a bit of Spring inside.


Categories: bowls, process, production, stamped, stamps

The bowls from last Tuesday night’s class have been sitting in my studio under plastic for a few days. Last night I finally got around to doing some stamping & detailing. I would love to continue this demo with my students in class, but I’m always afraid that they will dry too far if I were to wait until next Tuesday. So hopefully, they will see how their class demo bowls have progressed here on the blog… just like the rest of you!

Flanged Bowls with a border of stamps.

Flared & Fluted Bowl with a border of stamps.

Wide Flange Bowl with a border of stamps.


Split Rim with pinches… with little balls of clay attached at the pinch-points with a small stamp.

Two-Fluted Bowl… I thought it would be fun to stamp just one side of the bowl.

Dragonscale Flower… so I used the same dragon scale tool to decorate the rim.

Split Rim, Pinched & Rounded Bowl – I added small balls of clay at the pinch points, and then textured just the inner rim of the split using a pointed wooden tool.

Lotus-fluted Split Rim – the previous textured split rim was nice, so I did it again!

Slip Spiral Bowl with a stamped rim.

Ombre Slip Bowl with a simple textured rim.

Banded Slip Bowl with a simple textured rim.

Slip Chattered Bowl with a textured rim from a rounded wooden tool.

And now that all of the demo bowls have been stamped & detailed, they are back under some plastic hoping to be trimmed tomorrow,

Categories: holiday, nature

Some good advice to follow. Just in case you’re barking up the wrong tree.

Categories: classes, mugs, process, stamped, stamps, workshop

A fun day today in the northern suburb of Vernon Hills. I was one of the workshop presenters at the NSC Art Fest. High school students from the northern suburbs all came to Vernon Hills High School for a full day of art, presentations, workshops and inspiration.

I even had my own room…

The focus of the workshops were for the high school art students to learn, participate, make something and go home with whatever they made. So I came in a few hours early to throw some quick cylinders for them to use later in the day.

I let the cylinders set out so they could stiffen up a bit before the students got there. They even spent some time in the breeze by the open door to help speed up the process.

A few minutes before they came in, I smoothed out the bottom edges since they were still far to wet for trimming… but at a good moisture level for stamping. When the kids first came in, we did some quick introductions around the table, followed by my PowerPoint presentation. All about me. My life, My history. My process, My views on life and success.

After the presentation, we sat around the table for awhile and made some stamps. They rolled their coils and carved some patterns. They finally started opening up and talking. I must admit they were a lot more quiet than I expected High School kids to be. It wasn’t until I realized they were each from a different school that it dawned on me. So we did a little “ice-breaking” to warm them up a bit. Okay, so maybe I even had to pull out some of my old go-to jokes. Maybe. Allegedly.

Once their stamps were done, we moved to the other work table where they each got one of the cylinders I had thrown earlier in the day. I has also brought a whole tray of my own stamps for them to use. So after a little demo, they each set-off on stamping their cylinders. As they completed their stamped designs, we then added handles to them so each student would have a finished mug!

“Look Ma… I made a mug today. Whoo-hoo!!!”

My two workshop assistants were great. They were there to help me get settled in… but when they were done, they thought they were free to go. Free to hang out. I of course had other plans… and put them to work. First they got to throw their first pots on the wheel. Very fun. And then later in the workshop when they thought they could just stand around and take pictures… I of course had other plans. So I handed each of them a cylinder and made them start stamping as well. Thanks for playing girls.

And it wasn’t just my assistants… I also had to put Stephanie, one of the VHHS art teachers to work as well. She’s been to my studio in Chicago before… but this was the first time she had the chance to use my stamps to make her own masterpiece!!!

Looks like she was having a good time!!!

Once they were stamped and we had added handles, it was time for a little more detailing with colored slip. The kids had fun accentuating their stamped mugs with some spots of color.

At the end of the workshop, we put the finished mugs outside so they could dry up a little quicker. Not my normal practice, but we had to get them ready to go home right away. The slip had to dry quickly so the kids could carry their mugs home.

Special thanks to my friend Allison who helped set up this entire Arts Festival… and hooked me up as one of the workshop presenters. I had a wonderful time working with some great kids. Hopefully they had some fun making mugs today! They looked great.

Categories: food, mugs

Okay, so I stopped off at the grocery store this morning on my way into work. I noticed a cardboard endcap display, empty but partially filled with empty cardboard boxes to fill in the bottom. Normally, one would just walk by wondering why the store would leave an unattractive & unfilled cardboard display on the store floor. But THIS time… my eye was caught by a very familiar logo. And, oh but wait there’s more… one of my favorite words next to it.

Are you kidding me?
So I looked a little closer. Closer than any “normal” shopper would…
Only to find that the cardboard boxes were completely empty. Mwah, mwah, mwah…

So then I set out on a somewhat frantic search throughout the store.
They have got to be somewhere!!!

Check the candy aisle. Check the seasonal foods. Check the endcaps.
Check the check-out lanes. NOTHING!!! I searched everywhere… salivating.
Only to find out that they were no where in the store!!! They must be taunting me!!!

So here’s the deal…

You can mail them, ship them, drop them off in person.
Don’t care. I MUST have them!!! Simple as that.
Of course I “welcome” multiple submissions, but keep in mind…
the FREE MUG is only for the very first person!!!

And so the challenge has begun!!!

Categories: bike, sunrise

This morning was quiet & subtle. Layers of clouds that continued to change as the sun kept trying its best to pop through the low lying cloud layer. Some pretty color early on before the color of the day turned to gray.