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

So I made a deal with my students this session… that anyone who made a wheelthrown ornament like the demo… could have it fired in my soda firing next weekend. So far, it looks like only Christine will be taking me up on “the deal” with these little cuties!

Categories: classes, food

This week in my Tuesday night pottery class, we enjoyed some new OREOs “imported” from Croatia by my friend Tracy! Who knew that they even made a Travel Edition?!

Categories: classes, wheelthrowing

This week in my pottery class I showed my students how to throw taller cylinders… and to lift the extra clay up & away from the bottom. Then I challenged them to throw their own tallest two-pound cylinder. Looks like Jacob & Janet took it to heart, as they were pretty much neck & neck for most of their challenge!

Categories: classes, stamped, stamps, wheelthrowing

So I just sub taught Lisa’s Sunday morning pottery class… where we did my favorite “Demo On Demand.” We tackled stamping bowls, throwing off the hump, lidded casseroles… and sharing all of the tricks & tips I could pull out along the way. So much fun… those three hours just flew by!!!

Categories: classes, food

Last night in my pottery class, one of my students brought back some OREO’s from Canada… and yes, an “intentional” trip to Canada… not to be confused with my “accidental” trip into Canada last July!

Categories: bowls, classes, stamped, textures

After Tuesday’s class demo, I now find that I have a table full of not-so-basic bowls.
But you know my motto… MORE IS MORE.
So why not do a little more stamping & detailing?! So I did…

And for now they’re all stamped & detailed…
and going back under wraps so I can come back tomorrow to trim them all!

Categories: bowls, classes

Last Tuesday night I did my favorite demo for my wheelthrowing pottery class…
BOWLS ON PURPOSE… and not a cylinder gone bad!

I started by showing them all how to make a nicely rounded bowl from the git-go. Establishing the interior curve right from the start. Compressing the curve. Never letting an indented groove-ledge happen while pinching & lifting the clay. The using a plastic rib to flare it our and make a nice smooth curve. After that first demo, I “released” them all so they could get to working… making bowls! Meanwhile, I threw a full bag of clay to make nineteen bowls. I then called them all back to Part Two of the demo. This is when I encourage them to “play with their clay”… and tot try new techniques to alter & decorate their simple wheelthrown forms. To show them some quick tricks & techniques to give them some ideas of what they can do…and to show them that there are a million options… just try something! Have fun!!!

Bowl #1 – Here’s the basic bowl… simple spiral… the basis of all the bowls to come!

Bowl #2 – Tweaked – just two simple finger twists on opposite sides. Simple. Cute.

Bowl #3 – Fluted. If two tweaks are cute, maybe eight flutes are better?

Bowl #4 – Narrow Flange – Just an inch of the rim flared out to widen the bowl.

Bowl #5 – Wide Flange – If a narrow rim is good, maybe a wider flange is better?

Bowl #6 – Flared & Fluted. Combining the flared out flange and the fluted tweaks!

Bowl #7 – Stamped Bottom. A surprise in the bottom made with a metal dragon-scaling tool.


Bowl #8 – Cloverleaf – Dented in on fours sides to create a clover shape.

Bowl #9 – Pinched Split-Rim. First I split the rim using the pointed end of my wooden knife, and then pinched it back together in eight places.

Bowl #10 – Split-Rim Lotus. Another split-rim bowl… but then dented in & dented out.

Bowl #11 – Crazy Churro – We started with a triple split-rim… but then I dented it accidentally,,, so I dented it more, and altered the shape to “camouflage” my first mistake. It got a little crazy… but might lead to something else?

Bowl #12 – Squared – I dented four corners and then flattened the sides in.

Bowl #13 – Overlapped. I cut through the sides of the bowl, and then overlapped the edges to close it in a bit more.

After altering the shapes, I decided ti was time to introduce the option of suing colored slips as a decoration technique.

Bowl #14 – White Slip Spiral. I covered the entire interior with white slip, and then dragged through the slip as it was rotating on the wheel.

Bowl #15 – Banded. Another white slip covered bowl, this time banded with the rounded end of my wooden knife.. The Potter’s Thumb.

Bowl #16 – Chattered. A complete layer of thick white slip, chattered through with a green rubber rib. Rhythmic tapping of the rib through the slip as it was spinning in the wheel.

Bowl #17 – Ombre. A blended color slip mixing white and blue Mazzerine slips

Bowl #18 – Ombre Squiggle. Another ombre blend, but then sguiggled with the rounded end of my wooden knife.

Bowl #19 – Splattered. A full layer of blue Mazzerine slip, and then a quick splatter of white slip… I had intended to do more, but the squeeze bottle got clogged. And my students all thought this looked great. So we stopped with one good splatter!

After class, I brought all of the bowls back up to my studio. They’re now under plastic as their is
a very good chance” that there might just be some more stamping & detailing that happens to these bowls before they’re done! Allegedly…





Categories: classes, food

Last night in my pottery class, my students tackled their toughest challenge yet…
figuring out the newest “mystery flavor” of OREOs!!!

Definitely a touch of cinnamon… so our top guesses were cookie butter… churros…
windmill cookies… or my favorite guess by Susaanna…

Categories: classes, food

So last night in my Tuesday night pottery class we “may” have had too many OREO’s… if that is even a thing?! Patty “imported” some from her recent travels… Banadas from Portugal, and the Bites & JoyFills from Finland. Kate brought in the rest of the “repeat” treats! Too many to finish in our three-hour class… but we sure gave it a valiant effort!

Categories: classes, food

And oh, but wait there’s more… Dan brought back a sweet “souvenir” to share with the class. It was kind of a layered chocolate fudge, peanut butter & OREO cookie chunk of yumminess!!!… YES, PLEASE!!!