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

Thrown on Tuesday night, and trimmed tonight… just minutes before my SURFACE DECORATION class. I can’t wait to see what my students do with these “blank” cylinders… as tonight’s technique is mishima!!! More photos to come…

Categories: classes, glaze, patterns, textures

Last night in class, one of my Beginner’s has started doing these wonderful carvings into her pots… and wondering how to best glaze them to show-off the textures & patterns. We decided to paint black underglaze into the design, gently wipe off the top layer leaving it only in the grooves… then spraying a thin translucent glaze over the entire pot. Can’t wait to see how Kristen’s carved masterpieces turn out!!! She’s so excited…. and well, she should be!!!

Categories: classes, lidded jars, process, production, stamped

Last night in class, we finished off Part Two of last week’s lidded jars demo. Tackling the knobs on the lids… with two knobs created while trimming (closest to the jars) and the other two with cute little finials wheelthrown onto the lids from an attached nugget of clay. Always good to have options!

Categories: classes, food

Last night in class we had to get a little “creative”…
as the “yellow towel” was upstairs in my studio!!!

Categories: classes, glaze

One of my Intermediate students has been “struggling” with getting the right glaze results for her intricate pots… lots of carving, stamping, painting, illustrations, etc. The classrooms glazes have been “covering” all of her hard work.. so she’s been testing some commercial cone 6 glazes when I fire my cone six studio work. Looks like Christine is getting some great results. Can’t wait to see where this glaze journey progresses!

Categories: classes, flower pots, process, production, stamped

Spent a little time in the studio this afternoon “finishing up” some of my recent class demo pieces. This was a request from my Intermediate Class to make a large two-part stacked piece. Kelly requested a planter… but I kinda think this landed somewhere “between” planter & vase?! I stuck with planter… and added drainage holes and threw a water trip tray today to go with it.

Categories: classes, process, surface decoration, textures

Last week in my SURFACE DECORATIONS class, I showed my students how to use sprigs to decorate their bowls. Basically, a sprig is the “opposite” of a stamp… where you press clay into these handmade “molds”… pop them out… and then score & slip them onto the bowls. So sprigs “stick out”… whereas my usual stamping in more “pressed in.” Kinda fun… we’ll see how this looks after some glaze plays with the new textured surface!

Categories: bowls, classes

Getting things ready for tonight’s SURFACE DECORATIONS class demo. Sure, I might not be there tonight (road trip!!!)… but I’m confident that I have the BEST SUB EVER lined up & ready to put them through their paces!!! Can’t wait to see what they do to decorate these slip-covered bowls tonight!!!

Categories: classes, color, surface decoration

My students LOVED last week’s “tie-dyed” demo night with my SURFACE DECORATIONS class. After the shaving cream demo, they all decided to give it a try… splashing colors, smelly shaving cream & water melting away the “evidence” to leave behind some great colored results!!!

Categories: bowls, classes, color, surface decoration, tie-dye

After marbling & spinning, we started our final “tie-dye” demo of the night… shockingly with a thin layer of shaving cream on newspaper. I know my students were pretty darn confused at this point.

Then I took some colored underglazes and dribbled drops & squiggles all over it. I thought I could use a large straw to move the underglazes… kinda like a big pipette… using my thumb or pinching off the other end to keep it stuck in the straw. FYI… didn’t work so well.

Once I had the underglaze colors spread out over the shaving cream, I dragged a tool through it to swirl the colors a bit. And yes, my students were still confused & intrigued…

Then I took a straight-sided & smooth vase… pre-bisqued… and literally rolled it over the top of the colorful swirls. The porous bisque piece grabs the underglaze & shaving cream You want the underglaze to touch the pot… more than the shaving cream. You want the color, NOT the aromatic white fluffy stuff!!!

Once I had rolled the whole surface, I let it sit for a few minutes… and everyone was STILL intrigued…

After letting it sit for a bit, we moved to the classroom sinks…

And yes, we LITERALLY just ran the water over the surface!!! It dissolves off the shaving cream, but leaves most of the color “attached” to the pot. The water does most of the work… so don’t scrub it or rub it off.

Once the shaving cream is gone… all you have left is colorful “tie-dyed” underglazes!!! You’ll need to let it dry overnight before glazing it. My “plan” is to do a bright color inside… maybe blue… and then a thin coat of spayed clear over the outside to help the colors POP!

Of course, these are underglazes… and we’re firing to cone 10… so there’s really no guarantee that these colors will all “survive” the firing. But we talked about high-fire underglazes in case they really like this technique!