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

Last evening, we did my FAVORITE class demo of every session for my Beginners & Advanced Beginners. It’s the demo where I show my students how to make a basic bowl on purpose… instead of a cylinder gone bad!!! So we cover the basics of bowl-making…. and then I continue to make a LOT More bowls while they go back to their wheels to start throwing. After I’ve made a good number of bowls… a full clay bag full…¬† I call them all back to my demo wheel so we can start playing with the bowls. I threw them all on plastic bats and did NOT wire them off, so that they are still centered on the bat. I can then easily put them back on the wheel and they’re still centered.Bowl by bowl, we go through a whole lot of options and techniques for altering & decorating each of the bowls.

My goal is to show them some tricks… but more importantly to show them that they can actually PLAY with their clay. That they can push it further than they think… and make it their own piece of work. That bowls don’t always have ot be round… nor left exactly how the wheel made it for them.

BOWL A – This is the “starter” bowl… simple, round, just as they all came off the wheel.

BOWL B – Two simple flutes to the edge, so much cooler already!!!

BOWL C – And if two finger flutes are good, eight might be even better?!

BOWL D – A small flared flange and a groove line where the change of direction happens.

BOWL E – If a small flange was nice, maybe wider would be better?! Kinda like one of those fancy restaurants where you get the huge plate with one small fancy morsel for a huge price!

BOWL F – Combined flared flange and finger fluted accents.

BOWL G – A fun “flower” decoration made in the bottom of the bowl with a simple dragonscale tool.

BOWL H – Split rim bowl pinched back together in eight places.

BOWL I – Very similar to the one before, except the bowl was “bulged out” and rounded more by hand between the pinch marks.

BOWL J -Another split rim pinched “in” and pinched “out”… and then formed into a square.

BOWL K -A simple round bowl with a solid coverage of white slip inside.

BOWL L – A simple covering of blue slip with a spiral pattern from the end of a paintbrush being dragged through while the wheel was spinning.

BOWL M – Another bowl with more blue slip. Partial spiral in the bottom. And some banding around the sides that were then dragged through vertically to create the “grid” effect.

BOWL N – A thick layer of white slip with a finger squiggle through it while the wheel is spinning.

BOWL O – A layer of blue slip with a chattered pattern through to reveal the clay color below.

BOWL P -This one is funny because it started out as a newspaper stencil demo. I cut a few squares and used them as a pattern stencil. But when I pulled them out, I didn’t really like the design, AND I couldn’t find all of them. Ha!!! So I dug around to pull them all out and then re-covered it all with slip and did a little banding in the bottom.

BOWL Q – A blended ombre effect with white and blue slips.

So now they’re up in my studio and under plastic. Once they set-up a bit, I will do a little more stamping, detailing & trimming of the bowls. Hopefully my students were inspired by a few of the techniques… and might actually try making some not-so-basic bowls with a little design flair!!!


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