Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: friends, platters, soda-fired, stamped

And now… finally...
Christmas “secrets projects” can be revealed!!!

So I got a request for a “special order” to make a set of four soda-fired dinner plates. They were to be for some very good friends of mine… actually, my VERY FIRST art fair friends ever!!! They wanted four dinner plates that were very “neutral” so that any of their other more colorful pottery pieces would still work along with them. When I took the order, I made sure to mention that I don’t make a lot of soda-fired plates as there’s a larger propensity for them to warp during the firing. I also explained the inherent randomness of soda-firing… which they are fully aware of as they have quite a collection of my work!

So I made their dinner plates… taking extra caution to compress them really well, make sure they’re not over-worked, and very careful not to pick them up in a way that might warp them. They had asked for four “matching” plates that each had a different stamp pattern. They looked great after the bisque firing, so I glazed them for my latest soda-firing. I even made sure to us a LOT of wadding under the plate… probably double what one would normally use!

Here they are glazed… with a tenmoku inlay into the stamped impressions. A thin spray of tenmoku in the center area which should turn an “neutral” amber color… and a very light spray of a green glaze for a bit of a subtle random accent.

And then it was time to soda-fire them. So I placed them towards the back of the kiln. Making sure that they were placed on NEW flat kiln shelves! I was confident that these plates were going to work out… as they’re a commission order for very special friends!!!

When I unloaded the kiln, I was very excited about the “neutral-ness” of the plates! They’re going to LOVE them… as Rosene’s favorite color is BEIGE!!! Which I keep advising her that BEIGE is indeed NOT a color!!!

And here they are… the four “matching” dinner plates each with a different stamp pattern! With very subtle accents… and yet very “neutral.”

Again, the GOAL was a set of dinner plates… very neutral…
each with a different stamped texture!

After they came out of the kiln, as I was stacking & packing up the pieces… only then did I notice that TWO of plates were perfectly flat… while the other two were not!!! Two of the plates were warped terribly!!!

Ugh…. WARPED!!!

As these were a SET OF FOUR… two warped and two flat were not going to work for me!! I was going to need to make some replacements VERY QUICKLY… so they would be ready for Christmas!!!

Categories: nature

With the bright sun & blue skies, yesterday was a great chance to get outside to play along the Lakefront. Sure, it was a bit chilly… but I went up to Illinois Beach State Park for the day for plenty of hiking, bare trees & crashing waves all around. At times the sound was deafening… and yet so rhythmic & soothing at the same time.

Categories: mugs, nature

Another MUGSHOT MONDAY… this time while hiking up north along the lakefront. Sure, it was a bit chilly, but proper layers and a mug of hot chocolate… perfect combo for a perfect afternoon out in nature.

Categories: food, holiday

Hoping everyone is having a “sweet” Christmas today. Whether you’re safely flying solo, or sharing your “bubble” with family… I just hope you’re all staying safe & enjoying some holiday sweet treats!!!… hmmm?… maybe I need to try ala mode next?!!!

Categories: family, holiday

Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday today despite all of the challenges. ‘Tis the season to be extra-creative with how you celebrate with family & friends… without being able to be “with” anyone today! I know I’ll be celebrating solo again today, yet “celebrating” with my family via ZOOM with trivia games & a gift exchange later this afternoon!

Vector illustration with Christmas elements
Categories: family, food, holiday

And here it is – fresh out of the oven!

My new 2020 “solo-holiday” tradition continues! Make a pie. Eat a pie! Should be cooled down just in time for my family ZOOM Christmas get-together. Too bad I can’t share… and I’ll just “rudely” be eating in front of them!!!

Oh well, more for me… HA!!!

Categories: food, holiday

Added the top layer of crust and a few decorative touches! Making it all very festive for my new “solo-holiday” tradition! Ready to go into the oven…

Categories: food, holiday

It’s all in… my Christmas pie is all coming together nicely!!!

Categories: food, textures

Playing with pie crust… and upping my game this time.
I’m trying a new recipe for homemade pie crust!!!
A little more work, but hoping it’s all worthwhile!

I had to “borrow” two rolling pins from my studio yesterday… one smooth to roll it out, and a groovy textured one from Stodola Rolling Pins to make it a bit more fun!!!

Categories: food, holiday

Things are cooking in the kitchen…
starting to smell really festive in here!