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

So the past couple weeks have been CRAZY!!!
Far too many projects going on. Throwing new pots.
Stamping. Trimming. Drying. Firing. Glazing.
Times two with my recent soda kiln and the cone six firing.

Not to mention all of the terra cotta “ghouls” that I’ve been working late nights just to get them done. No time to sleep. No time to breath. I’m stretched beyond belief yet again. Not even sure if I would be able to get everything done for ART IN THE BARN this coming weekend?! And did I mention teaching Tuesday night too?! Okay, you get it right… over-committed, over-stretched.

And then this happens…
I get an e-mail Thursday mid-morning. Basically it’s a request from the TV show “EMPIRE” to make some vases for them. My Wisconsin potter friend Amanda is friends with the Props Manager on “EMPIRE” and she’s the one who connected all of us. My understanding is that they need some identical vases for them to film in a scene. Sounds like the vases are going to smashed in the scene… and they’ll have 16 times to get it right for all the necessary angles. They just need them bisque fired… as one of their Props Crew will be painting them to look like they’re expensive antiques. All sounds great… except for the fact that I still don’t have time!!!

But you know I can’t say “No” to a great opportunity like this.
So I said yes… and then I started to freak out. How can I get this done???

I made it into the studio about 4:30pm Thursday night. The plan was to throw all of the vases as fast as possible. They said they wanted the vases between 14″-16″ tall. So I started by wedging up my sixteen balls of clay.

After throwing one tall vase, I realized quickly that it was going to be too much time & effort to throw all of the vases that tall. With the incredibly fast turn-around time, I decided it would behoove me to throw them as two-part vases. So I set off to throw all of the bottom halves.

Followed by throwing all of the top pieces.

It was late by the time I finished, so I went home for a couple hours of sleep… and then returned very early in the morning to start assembling them.

After a few hours I had them all assembled, cleaned up a bit with a definitive “foot” flange and set out to dry.

Here’s the real kicker…
they wanted the vases bisque fired and ready for pick-up by Monday!!!
Yep, normally a project like this would take a week or two… not a day or two!

So I set them all on a raised plastic grid covered with a few sheets of paper. I figured the paper would help soak up & disperse the water from the clay. And then being raised up, air can get under the vases to dry more evenly. So I set a fan on them and hoped for the best. As it was, I had to get home to start packing to get to ART IN THE BARN. Good thing I could squeeze these in under such tight time restraints. I just hope the client from 20the Century Fox Television is happy with their new vases!!!











September 28th, 2016

Wow, very impressive. No ‘s’ cracks or joining cracks!?! You know so many “tricks of the trade”!!!

February 22nd, 2019

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