Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: collaborations, mugs, pottery, soda-fired, special events, stamped

I’ve been working on these pieces for awhile.
And it finally feels GREAT to call them done!

I received a request from a local Chicago customer for a special order last Summer during the shutdown. He owns & runs THE ECCENTRIC CAFE in Kalamazoo, Michigan… a part of Bell’s Brewery. Apparently, the bar has a lot of “visual intrigue”… wonderful collections & things to look at all over the place. In fact, it’s one of the only brewery pubs with NO TELEVISIONS!!!

So the request was that I would make a large “tankard” or stein for his newest collection. I LOVE making mugs… so I was definitely intrigued to tackle them on a much larger scale! He said he was “collecting them” from a few of his favorite potters around the country. So I was HONORED to be chosen to be part of his collection of favorites!!!

The request was that I can make any style, shape or form tankard “in my style”… and they had to hold more than 64-ounces! Knowing that I was going to be soda-firing them, I decided to make a couple extra just in case something goes wrong during the firing… a drip from the ceiling, a splotch of errant soda, or any other random issue that comes up while soda-firing. So here are the three finished pieces seen from both sides. Totally pleased with the finished results… and NO random soda mishaps!!!

Tankard #1 –

Tankard #2 –

Tankard #3 –

As I was making them, I was continually concerned that they wouldn’t be large enough… a minimum of 64-ounces. You know how clay shrinks when it dries… again when it gets bisque fired… and yet again when soda-fired. So I threw them fairly large with the shrinkage in mind… but after each step in the process they kept getting smaller and I kept getting more & more concerned!!! Turns out I was all good… BY FAR!!!… as each of them finished out with a volume of nearly 96-ounces each!!!

When I sent photos of them finished to Larry to choose which one he wanted… I was blown away when he said he loved them and wanted ALL THREE!!! Blown away!!! I was so excited that he loved them so much.

Last night I dropped them off … so nice to complete the commission and pass them off to the client. They will now be on their way to THE ECCENTRIC CAFE in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I can’t wait to see photos of them in “the collection” when they all come together. I know a few of the other potters involved… and it’s sure to be a pretty sweet collection! And then when “things” settle down a bit this summer, I may just need to do a roadtrip to Kalamazoo to see the pottery collection in person!

1 Comment


December 22nd, 2020

Oh, that green one!!!!
I need to visit this place!

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