Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: art fair, artists, bowls, collaborations, glaze

Stacked, packed and ready for this weekend’s art fair in Glenview!
Join us this Saturday & Sunday for ART IN THE GARDEN..
it’s a great little grassroots art fair with some talented friends showing, playing
& collaborating together!

Click here to check us out at


Categories: art fair, bowls, glaze, kiln firing, stamped

After this morning’s sunrise bike ride, I swung by the studio to unload one last kiln for this weekend’s ART IN THE GARDEN. And I was quite pleased with these large bowls. These green glazes worked perfectly with the stamping… pooling, breaking & running in all the right places! Can’t wait to show these off and to send a few off to good homes… maybe with a little add-on thanks to my “cohort in crime” Cory McCrory!!!

Categories: art fair, artists, bowls, collaborations

So my friend & co-collaborator Cory McCrory has busy been doing her part…
maybe the storms passing through have influenced her work?
It will all come together next weekend at ART IN THE GARDEN.
Looks like maybe she’ll be a big dip, and I’ll be a chip off the old block?!!

Mark your calendar…
ART IN THE GARDEN : A Grassroots Art Fair
Saturday, September 8th, 2018 – 10:00am-5:00pm
Sunday, September 9th, 2018 – 10:00am-5:00pm
1205 Hutchings Avenue, Glenview, IL 60025
One block west of Waukegan Road, between Lake Street and Glenview Road.



Categories: bowls, glaze, stamped

Looks pretty, right???

Well look closely…
I’m pretty sure you’re NOT supposed to be able to see THROUGH the bottom of a platter?!
I think I may have trimmed this one just a bit too close. It looked good after bisque, but it seems to have “opened up” during the glaze firing. Not so good.

Categories: bowls, glaze

After unloading my soda kiln, I also had a cone six glaze kiln to unload.
Lots of fun colors & patterns inside.

They’ll be making their big “debut” at ART IN THE GARDEN next weekend…
quite possibly with a little extra somethin’-somethin’…

Categories: artists, bowls, collaborations, textures

With ART IN THE GARDEN just a week away,
the collaborations are quickly coming together.

My fellow collaborator Cory McCrory has been assembling textured slabs for her part of our project. Looks like things are coming together nicely!

Categories: bowls, production, stamped, wheelthrowing

Throwing clay. Throwing large.
Big shallow bowls to hold big things… or lots of little things!!!

Making LOTS of large bowls for my upcoming show ART IN THE GARDEN
in Glenview. Gotta move them along quickly if they’re going to be glazed in time!

Now if only they had a companion?…     Cory???

Categories: bowls, production

Making some large shallow bowls for an upcoming collaboration!
Got a busy weekend coming up, but gotta get these done too???
Hopefully it will all come together in the end.

Categories: bowls, stamped

So I spent some time after camp today stamping, detailing rims and trimming
the bottoms of my class demo bowls. I mean, if they are supposed to be
“not-so-basic-bowls”… more is more, right?!



Categories: bowls, classes

Last night in my pottery class, it was my favorite demo of every session!
The night that I teach my students how to make a bowl on purpose, instead of a cylinder gone bad. Starting with a nice smooth curve on the inside… NOT a flat bottom, a corner or a “beginner’s ledge” where the curve should be. So I did a throwing demo to show them the basics… and then sent them back to their wheels to practice making some bowls.

While they were throwing,  continued to throw more bowls. Sixteen in total… one full bag of clay… in case you were counting. Once I had all sixteen of them thrown, we reconvened the group for Part Two of the class demo. This is the FUN part. Where I get to show them a bunch of fun little tricks to make them all different. To give them a bit of style & flair! Just some quick tricks to encourage my students to “play” more with their clay. To take some time to make each bowl special & individual to themselves. The wheel basically makes the smooth round bowls… so now they need to mix it up and make them special.

Bowl #1 – FLUTED RIM
Just four simple fluted accents evenly spaced around the rim.

Bowl #2 – FLUTED RIM #2
And if four fluted accents was nice, maybe eight would be even better?!

Just a gentle “fold-over” of the rim to flare it down a bit. Keeping a steady finger on the outside about a inch below the rim, and the the inside fingers help “fold” the clay out over that finger.

And if a narrow rim was nice, maybe a wider one is even better?
It’s like one of those fancy restaurant bowls where they give you one tiny little scoop of food and charge you a fancy arm & a leg!!!

So if we like fluted, and we like flared… why not do both.
Flare out the rim first, and then add the fluted accents.

With a small metal dragonscaling tool, just a few little indents makes a cute flower…
a fun little surprise at the bottom of a bowl of soup or ice cream!

With the pointed end of my wooden knife, I carefully split the rim and then pinched it back together in eight places. Creates a few good places for glaze to pool and make some great effects in the firing.

Another split rim, this time “dented” inwards at four places with the side of my wooden knife… creating a clover-like shape. Who says bowls need to be round???... NOT ME!!!

Another carefully split rim gently “dented” inwards and outwards.

I introduced my Beginners to the concept of colored slip. And tried to explain to them o=how much easier it is to make a two-color, inside-outside bowl with colored slip, than it is a glazing time. So much easier to get a clean dividing line using slip and a paint brush than trying to dip in a bucket of liquid glaze. The other benefit of a nice, solid covering of colored slip is that I can do some decorative carving through the slip to reveal a pattern in the base clay color.

After making a solid layer of French Green slip, I used the end of a wooden paintbrush through it while the bowl was spinning – easily creating this spiral pattern.

Everyone loves finger painting… so I filled this bowl with a layer of thick white slip. And then while the bowl was spinning, I stick in a finger and did a little squiggle. I love how the thick white slip creates some depth & waves which will play well in the glazing process.

After another later of thick white slip, I used a green rubber rib to create a chattered repetitive pattern. Spin the bowl nad tap the rib up & down from the center up tthe side. And breath… don’t panic. Once you’ve started, keep going. Don’t freak out!!!

Bowl #14 – OMBRE
Just a smooth gradation of color from French Green to White. At this point it’s smooth color… but there’s a good chance there may be some sgraffito carving though this later when it gets to be leatherhard.

Another gradation of French Green to White slip… and then a couple bands taken out with the wooden end of a paintbrush. And I’m kinda diggin’ the groovy spiral swirl at the bottom!!!

When we got down to the last bowl, I encouraged my teaching assistant Susan to do the last bowl. She did a bit of denting, pinching & curving to give the bowl a pretty cool shape.

So for now they’re all up in my studio under wraps.
There’s a “pretty good chance” that there may be some stamping & detailing
in their not so distant future. Just guessing….