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

With Illinois rolling-back the mask mandate today, and people slowly going back to mask-less… I figured it’s time to share my latest collection of photos! Many of you might know that I have a somewhat “weird” affinity for roadkill… don’t ask. But after two years of pandemic issues, my newest collection seems only fitting as these have become the “new” pandemic roadkill.

Categories: ETSY Shop, mugs

Celebrating another MUGSHOT MONDAY with a quick reminder that there are several mugs still available in my ETSY Shop! Handmade pottery to enhance your morning ritual, whether coffee or tea… or hot chocolate with tons of marshmallows!!!… or even just marshmallows?!

Click here :

Categories: sunrise

Another beautiful morning… a bit warmer… and excited that our forecast says we “might” hit 50-degrees today?! Wouldn’t that be nice… before we head back to the cold, rain & grayness later this week!

Categories: seasons, weather

And sure, the sunrise this morning was beautiful… but the lake is still frozen along the beaches… creating these crazy cool textures… that kinda look like a huge snowball fight has taken place there… with the sunrise illuminating a few along the way!!!

Categories: bike, sunrise

Finally, a beautiful sunrise that coordinated with dry roads… no snowfall, no sleet, no rain, no melting snow… and clear skies!!! It seems like we’ve been “clouded-in” or “frozen-in” for so long! Felt so nice to get outside with a beautiful sunrise to share for a change. I’m so tired of gray… and more than ready for Spring!!!

Categories: process, production
Categories: classes, collaborations, color, creativity, surface decoration

It’s Underglaze Madness!!!

So we’ve seen a recent interest & surge in underglaze transfers around Lillstreet Art Center! Tons of students are starting to use these pre-made, commercial underglaze transfer sheets to add some surface decoration to their pots. We’ve had some recent discussions on whether these transfers are “cheating” or not?! I’ve also enjoyed watching some of my students trying different techniques to modify or use these transfers in different ways.

In my Intermediate Wheelthrowing class, Darcy has been using a lot of underglaze transfers on her work. We’ve all sort of fallen in love with this great mandala pattern.

We’ve also been giving her a hard time… by telling her how much better they would look if the back & white mandala were painted-in with bright colors! You know, kinda like a little paint-by-number fill-in situation. Luckily, also in this class is Christine who is all about bright colors & underglazes. Sounds like the perffect match, right?!

So we keep teasing Christine that it’s HER job to paint these in… and that’s going nowhere fast. Christine is not bowing to any sort of fun peer pressure!

But then Darcy came up with a great idea… and a fun challenge. She offered to make some basic cylinders, and then let us decorate them with colorful underglazes… and then she would put the underglaze transfers OVER the colored underglazes. She offered it up to our whole class… but only Christine & I took her up on it. So we each got two cylinders to decorate as part of Darcy’s challenge!

So my thought was to sponge-paint some blended colors onto the cylinder that might “mimic” and possible align a bit with the underglaze transfer.

And Christine went a different route with her ombre’ blend of underglazes. She had chosen a different pattern for her underglaze transfer… so she wasn’t as concerned with her pattern “matching-up” with the transfer pattern. Instead she went with two different ombre’ blends.


Luckily, Christine has a great assortment of underglazes that she has tested, tried at different firing temperatures and made amazing test tiles with. Thanks to Christine for sharing her high-fire underglazes… and for letting me use her colors for this fun little challenge!

After a couple layers of underglaze, we both called the “done” for our part of the Darcy Challenge!

And then Darcy came in later that night and added the underglaze transfers OVER our underglaze paintings! Pretty impressive… I think they look pretty great so far. Can’t wait to see what they look like after firing and a light layer of clear glaze to really make the colors pop!

Thanks for the challenge Darcy!!!
You know how much I LOVE a good challenge… and having people prove me wrong about the underglaze transfers being a way of “cheating.” I might need to reconsider when these come out of the kiln???

Categories: classes, glaze

Last night in my LILLSTREET THROWDOWN class, we looked at the glazed results from last week’s glazing challenge. It was the first time we’re ever done a Glazing Challenge for the THROWDOWN… and it was great to once again push them out of their comfort zone!

As a quick reminder, I gave them all plain bisqued cylinders and all they had to do was glaze them as best the could… considering their design, glaze application techniques & creativity.

It was so much fun to see all of the cylinder glazed & out of the cone 10 reduction kiln. It was tough to glaze them and “imagine” what they thought they would turn out after melting together tin the kiln!

WILL‘s cylinder – layered, sprayed, wax resist, ombre’.

CLARA‘s cylinder – underglaze pencil, sprayed & splattered glazes.

CLAIRE‘s cylinder – underglaze painted & dotted, then dipped.

TRACY‘s cylinder – dipped, overlapped, painted.

MELANIE‘s cylinder – dipped, dotted & dripped.

HELEN‘s cylinder – dipped, angle dipped, wood ash, bubbled, stain dripped.

CHELSEA‘s cylinder – dipped, banded & painted.
Chelsea isn’t actually in our class… but I had an extra cylinder to be glazed and she was in the other room teaching her class. So I offered her the chance to play along with my class… and she jumped right in without hesitation. Okay, she might have been a bit of a “ringer” as she taught a class last session all about creative glazing alternatives!!!

Categories: mugs

Adding some stamps… adding some shamrocks! I mean, St. Patrick would probably like a new mug too, right?! Hoping to have these mugs done & glazed in time for a fun online sale so you too could celebrate in style with a new “Irish” mug!!!

Categories: holiday, soda-fired, textures, tiles

Celebrating NATIONAL TILE DAY with a quick glimpse of my tile wall at home! Those who have made it to my Holiday Home Shows have had a chance to see it in person… but for the rest of you, here’s a few tiles to whet your appetite! Just shy of 3,000 handmade, stamped & soda-fired tiles on my wall.