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

It’s seems like I made these bowls quite awhile ago… simple bowls with some colored slips on some of the exteriors. Tonight we finally get to tackle them… as I’m providing some “demo fun” for my SURFACE DECORATION class tonight.

Categories: bowls

Finally finishing up this cutie! It was one of my class pieces from my “not-so-basic bowls” demo a couple weeks ago. In class I just did the two indentations… and suggested maybe adding a handle up & over. I think a few of them may have thought I was kidding… well, I wasn’t!!!

Categories: bowls, production, wheelthrowing

Cranking out a few more bowls before teaching class tonight. Gotta cover them with plastic so I can do more to them tomorrow. I have some big plans for these ones!!!

Categories: bowls, classes, sgraffito, tools

This week in my SURFACE DECORATION class, it was Sgraffito Night! I had suggested that they all bring some leatherhard pieces to carve through. I did a couple demo pieces & my students did their own thing too!!! So much better with good carving tools from DiamondCore Tools! My first demo piece was this small bowl with an ombre’ blend of white & black slips.

Categories: bowls, food, stamped

I’m pretty sure it’s not pear season in Chicago… but I was still happy to find some on sale at the grocery store! Just waiting for them to ripen… hoping that it’s not all on the same day!!!

Categories: bowls, stamped, surface decoration, textures

So after Tuesday night’s “bowls-bowls-bowls” demo… I took my class demo bowls up to my studio. And there “just might have been” a bit more stamping & detailing done tonight. Just making my not-so-basic bowls even more not-so-basic-er!!! Allegedly…

Categories: bowls, classes, surface decoration, wheelthrowing

Last night in my Beginning & Advanced Beginning Wheelthrowing class we tackled the right way to make BOWLS. And yes, I stressed throwing “bowls on purpose, and not cylinders gone bad!” So I did a quick demo for them… answering questions & showing them how to get a nice smooth curve inside their bowls, with no beginners ledges or indents!

And yes… I explained & demo’d my LOVE for a good spiral !!!

And then after the first bowl… I sent them back to their wheels so they could start practicing. Meanwhile, I continued to throw MORE bowls… a full bag of clay’s worth… while still helping & answering questions along the way!

After I had thrown all of my demo bowls… we were back to helping students make their own bowls. BOWLS. BOWLS . BOWLS!!! Towards the end of the class, I had my students regroup a my demo wheel so we could do some alterations & decorations to the bowls… making each one of them special & unique with some simple tricks & techniques. Turning each one into a “not-so-basic bowl.”

Bowl #1 – The Plain One. The first bowl… the standard for all of the other bowls to follow!

Bowl #2 – Two Little Flutes… one finger inside, one finger outside, pinch & twist.

Bowl #3 – And if two are cute… eight simple flutes might be cuter?!

Bowl #4 – A Flared out Flange… bent out over a finger on the outside of the bowl.

Bowl #5 – If a little flared flange is cute, maybe a bigger flared flange is even better?

Bowl #6 – Combined a flared flange with four twisted flutes.

Bowl #7 – A split rim… then pinched together in eight places.

Bowl #8 – A split rim indented on two sides with the side of my wooden knife… this one might just become a “basket” with a fun strappy handle up & over the top!

Bowl #9 – Another split rim… indented in four places. No one said a bowl needs to stay round!!!

Bowl #10 – Another split rim… four indented sides… and four “out-dented” sides?! Kind of a lotus-y quatrefoil effect.

After ten bowls, it was time to add a little thick slip into the demo. So we talked about how cool slip is… and that the colored clay can be used for some many applications. That it becomes “part of” your bowl… and it will not melt & run like glaze does. But I like to work with “thick” slip so I can benefit from the thickness & textures it can create.

Bowl #11 – A great spiral. A thick layer of white slip with the end of my wood knife dragged through while the wheel was spinning.

Bowl #12 – Thick slip with some fingerpainting… an index finger squiggled through while spinning on the wheel!

Bowl #13 – Thick slip with dragged-through lines using a rubber rib.

Bowl #14 – Again with my green rubber rib, and some chattering through thick white slip!

Bowl #15 – Ombre’ blend of black & white slips.

Bowl #16 – Another ombre’ blend… and then a spiral dragged through with my wooden knife.

Bowl #17 – Another ombre’ blend also spiraled through, but this time with my finger!

The goal of this demo is multi-faceted. First, I want my students to make nice, well-thrown bowls. Second, I want them to have an arsenal of tricks & techniques to use whenever they want to. Have fun woth your clay, make cool stuff… and if it doesn’t work out, do it again! IT’S JUST CLAY!!!

And for now they’re all up in my studio safely under plastic. Because there’s “a very good chance that there might just be some more detailing” to follow… stay tuned.

Categories: bowls, classes, stamped, stamps

This week in my SURFACE DECORATION class, the topic of the week was “Stamping & Sprigging”… mostly stamping! It was fun to show-off a bit, and demonstrate how I make my pots… and then encourage them to “borrow” the technique and find a way to “flip it” to make it an option in their own styles!!!

Categories: bowls, holiday

No matter how you celebrate, it’s always a good day for “tie-dyed” Easter Eggs, jelly beans & chocolate bunnies! Thanks to Keith for sharing today’s Easter Basket moment.

Categories: bowls, process, production, stamped, stamps

Still working in the studio… and I’ve moved on to stamping some serving bowls. Just have to pick the stamps I want to use… and then start pressing them into the “softer-than-leatherhard” clay one by one… by one… by one…