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

Hard to tell size & scale of my March chain… but with my own little “Carol Merrill” at the ready to model for me, it looks even better when someone is wearing it. Huge thanks to my friend Christine for being around today as I “drafted here” to model it for me!!!

2021chainchallenge – #handmadechain – #chainlinks2021

She’s a trooper… and great artist… yes, she’s the one who made the amazing OREO planter for me!!! Huge “props” to Christine!!!

Categories: bowls, challenge, handbuilding, soda-fired

After soda-firing, my chain looks great with some flashing marks to help accentuate the textures on some of the links. Might not be what all of the metalsmiths expected from a chain challenge… but I think I succeeded again! Yeah, I’ll show them!!! HA!!!

#2021chainchallenge – #handmadechain – #chainlinks2021

Categories: challenge, handbuilding

You know how I LOVE a good challenge… and this is the third month of the 2021 CHAIN CHALLENGE started by my pal & metalsmith Sarah Chapman. I’ve been working on my March chain entry for awhile now… as I don’t have the “luxury” of cranking out a clay chain last minute if I want to get it fired. Since today is the last day of March, it’s also the big DEADLINE!!! So here’s a glimpse into the making of my chain for the challenge! Constructed ring-by-ring, sprayed with a little slip… and then soda-fired.

2021chainchallenge – #handmadechain – #chainlinks2021

Categories: process, production

Have I mentioned lately how much I love trimming?! It’s a great time to “refine” the bottom of every piece… to clean-up the googly random messiness that is typically on the bottom after removing pieces from the wheel.

Categories: animals, nature

And then THIS happened!!!

This little cutie was a brave soldier and came over to say hello! He just sauntered over while the other deer stayed a good “social-distance” away. This guy didn’t care… he just wanted a little human interaction… much like the rest of us these days!

Categories: animals, nature

While biking through the forest preserves yesterday, it’s always fun to try to spot the deer along the way. It was a little tougher than normal yesterday as everything is BROWN still!!! But still a great game… and I counted a total of twenty-eight! Another good day!!!

Categories: animals, nature

Yesterday afternoon I made it out for a beautiful bike ride up to the Chicago Botanic Garden and through the Skokie Lagoons. I found this wonderful area that has become a rookery for Great Blue Herons!!! There were at least 35 nests up there… many of them with a heron perched on top!

Categories: mugs, process, production

Now with handles attached, these “wheelthrown-handbuilt-combo” mugs needed a bit of color. So I dipped the top portion of them into a thin colored flashing slip. I held them upside-down by the footring & dipped them in the bucket… and then “floated” them on kiln bricks so they could drip-dry!

The slip does a really good job of “filling” any of the little cracks & imperfections… as well as adding color. These flashing slips will change colors & add some flashing drama when fired in the soda kiln!

Categories: mugs, process, production, stamped, stamps, textures

So I’ve just finished stamping the newest batch of cylinders… getting one step closer to becoming mugs! Stamping each of the cylinders with my own handmade stamps… one stamped impression at a time… again, and again, and again…

MUG 1 –

MUG 2 –

MUG 3 –

MUG 4 –

MUG 5 –

MUG 6 –

MUG 7 –

MUG 8 –

MUG 9 –

MUG 10 –

So now they’re back under plastic for the night…
as I’m hoping to trim the bottoms tomorrow.

Categories: process, production, stamped, stamps

Stamping patterns one indentation at a time… over & over again… to get a repetitive textured pattern all the way around the mug. I like to make my own clay stamps with my own patterns… better than buying someone else’s designs! I don’t sell my stamps… but I do teach my students how to make them & encourage everyone to try.