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

It’s the end of the month, and time for another installment of the 2021 CHAIN CHALLENGE. Another handmade chain piece… this time made out of a bicycle inner tube and possibly the longest inner tube valve stem ever as the pendant. I think it turned out nice, even though I was a little “Presta” for time!!!… get it???


Categories: summer camp

And as always, we all follow my Summer Camp Rule #3… “If you make a mess, you WILL be cleaning it up.” And apparently that includes spilling water drops from the sink to our classroom across the hall. If you spill it, you gotta clean it up before someone slips.

Categories: glaze, summer camp, terra cotta

A splash of color. A smudge of fun.
zColorful glazes on terra cotta… all part of SUMMER CAMP FUN!!!

Categories: summer camp, terra cotta

This week my Summer Camp is SCULPTURE CAMP!!!
On Monday my campers made handbuilt flower pots & water drip trays with sculptural accents. I have slightly younger kids this week… 8-9-10 years old! They glazed their terra cotta pieces yesterday… as they were preparing to start their BIG sculptures when these are finished!

Categories: mugs, process, production

Handles pulled… then looped over so they can start to firm-up a bit. I flip them like this so that they get the curve established right away while the clay is freshly pulled. If they start to stiffen up while straight, they’ll be harder to curve later. Plus, they stand up this way… so no weird marks or blemishes from laying them down on the table. Once they stiffen up, I will cut out the part I need & attach it to the mug. The rest of the clay will go back in the bag!

Categories: mugs, process, production

Time to make the handles… starting with wedged clay that has been cut-up and formed into “carrot” shapes ready to be pulled the traditional way. I like to pull them separately & then attach them to the trimmed mugs. I also like the cool shadows making it like a little “clay-henge.”

Categories: flowers, nature

Pretty little hydrangeas blooms popping open…

Categories: process, production

Well, this is what happens when you’re so accustomed to using your handy-dandy Giffin Grip … and need to go back to the “old-school” way of centering & trimming your pots. I had a lot of cylinders to trim… and one of them got away from me!!! Flew right off the wheel. Even my wonderful trimming tools from DiamondCore couldn’t save this one!

Categories: tools

You know how I LOVE my Giffin Grip!
It’s such a wonderful pottery tool that makes centering & trimming so much easier! And I was banking on it for trimming all of the commission mugs! So imagine my surprise when I put it on the wheel and it wasn’t centered any more?!!! Apparently one of the black clips on the underside had cracked from over-use!

Luckily my studio neighbor was there… and tried to fix it for me with some plumber’s putty and a big vise clamp! I know they sell replacement parts, but we’re hoping this might work!!!

Categories: classes, sgraffito

Always fun to see my students so pleased with their work. Like Helen & Susaan showing off some of their sgraffito pieces carved during our SURFACE DECORATION class last session!