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

After working with our underglaze transfers, my SURFACE DECORATION class then moved onto BUBBLES!!! I mean, who doesn’t love blowing bubbles?! We took a little bit of underglaze, added a smidge of blue dishwashing liquid & some water… then started blowing bubbles with a straw. The plan is to blow enough that the bubbles grow & overflow the sides of the cup onto your piece. Leave the bubbles alone… let them pop as they will leave behind some great bubble patterns. This works directly onto the pots… as well as onto newspaper to transfer later.

Categories: classes, surface decoration

This past Thursday in my SURFACE DECORATIONS class, we started working with color… and transferring underglaze “doodles” onto our pots. The idea is you can draw your pattern on newsprint, let it dry, and then transfer it to your pot by wetting it… kinda like a temporary tattoo when you were a kid. We found that some of the simpler line drawing with thinner underglazes worked better.

I tried one with layers of colored underglazes… but the green was kinda gloppy… and smudged when applied. Pretty cool technique… but we’ve all got a lot of practice to do if we want to “perfect” our technique?!

Categories: classes, television

So… word on the street says that a new season of THE GREAT AMERICAN BAKING SHOW will be begin streaming next Friday on ROKU. For all those people who LOVE the British version… this one has American bakers in the same white tent with the same judges!!! But here’s the kicker… ONE of the bakers is actually a student in one of my pottery classes this session! Can’t wait to see how this show plays out… drama under the tent… and to see how my student does in the competition!!! Truth be told… now I expect better treats in class too!!!

Plus, I apologize in advance for the “bad photos”… it was the best I could “screen grab” from the teaser trailer!

Categories: bowls, classes, stamped, stamps, surface decoration, textures, wheelthrowing

After class last Tuesday, I spent a little more time with my class demo bowls. Just did a little more stamping & detailing… making the bowls even more not-so-basicER!!!

And for now, they’re back under plastic for the night… going to have a LOT of trimming to do pretty soon!

Categories: flowers, vases

Another wet start to a Sunday morning… easy enough to brighten the day with a vase full of lilac blossoms. The scent always transports me back to my childhood when lilac bushes surrounded many a suburban backyard.

Categories: bowls, classes

Another fun demo for my Tuesday night class… teaching my Beginner’s how to “throw bowls on purpose, and NOT cylinders gone bad.” So I taught them basics of how a good bowl starts at the very beginning when you’re opening up your lump of clay on the wheel. We talked about how to get a nice smooth interior curve… without any indents or “beginner’s ledge” as we like to call it.

After showing them all how to make bowls with intention, my students when back to their wheels… while I threw a few more! The plan is to bring them back together after making my bowls so we can discuss how to make the bowls more special. I tell them that basically the wheel did all the work for them… making it nice & round & smooth. But now it’s up to them to start decorating & making it their own. So my demo is just a chance to offer up some fun options for them to “play more with their clay.”

After making my plain bowls… we moved on to the fun part of the demo!

Bowl #1 – Two fluted indentations… quick & easy… no one ever said the rim needs to stay round!

Bowl #2 – And if two fluted edges are good… maybe eight flutes are better?!

Bowl #3 – A flared out flange… basically folding down the upper rim to lay it flat.

Bowl #4 – A flared out flange and a fluted rim combined on one bowl.

Bowl #5 – If a flared rim is nice, maybe a wider rim is even nicer?

Bowl #6 – Our first split rim bowl… this one with two indents. My plan is to add a handle up & over to create a “basket” bowl.

Bowl #7 – Another split rim… this time indented on four sides.

Bowl #8 – Another split rim… dented in four times, and dented out four times!

Bowl #9 – Another split rim bowl with eight quick pinches around the rim.

Bowl #10 – A textured “flower” or “snowflake” at the bottom of the bowl using a metal dragonscaling tool.

After altering the first ten bowls, we moved on to a discussion about adding colored slip to their projects. How & when to do it… as well as what they might do with it later. We discussed more dramatic glazing over the textures… as well as sgraffito & other carving techniques.

Bowl #11 – A thick layer of white slip… and then a spiral made by dragging my wood knife through the slip while the bowl was rotating on the wheel.

Bowl #12 – Thick white slip with fingertip squiggles while the wheel is spinning.

Bowl #13 – Thick white slip with vertical marks created by dragging a plastic rib through the slip.

Bowl #14 – Thick white slip with rhythmic chattering marks.

Bowl #15 – Then we added a color, and made some ombre’ blended colors.

Bowl #16 – Ombre’ blends are nice… but add a spiral to make it more fun!

And for now they’re up in my studio under some plastic. I’ll give them a little time to stiffen up… and then “quite possibly” do a little stamping & detailing before trimming the bottoms.

Categories: bike, sunrise

While the clouds seem to have moved in for the day, this morning started off with clouds in all the right places. Beautiful sunrises reflections & lighthouse silhouettes to start the day.

Categories: glaze, kiln firing, mugs, textures

Another TEXTURE TUESDAY with some fun textures & glaze pooling effects on these soda-fired “hybrid” mugs! I’m always enamored with this glaze effect when it comes out of the soda kiln… and the glaze highlights & breaks in all the right places!

Categories: food, friends

When you can’t quite decide, it’s always best to have friend with you at lunch so you can split & share TWO yummy sides! Like these amazing pancakes we had out in Elmhurst… Blueberry & Lemon Cheesecake pancakes or Peanut Butter Cup pancakes! I couldn’t decide… so Emma was willing to share with me.

So?… which flavor would YOU choose???

Categories: mugs, soda-fired, stamped

Celebrating another MUGSHOT MONDAY with more stamped mugs straight out of my latest soda kiln. Bright colors & good flashing effects coming together on this batch of mugs! Looking forward to taking these to my first few art fairs this summer… coming sooner than you think!