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

So my reclaim pile of clay has been sitting on my plaster bat for awhile…
as the extra moisture settles out and the clay stiffens up. It was still a bit sticky to the touch, but firm enough to get started with the cutting, wedging & bagging part of the process. I start by shaving off large chunks of the clay with my wire tool.

You can see that my reclaim clay mixture is just that… a MIXTURE.
I am more than willing to mix-up all of my assorted reclaim scraps. I will add in any kind of clay as long as it’s a high-fire cone 10 clay body. So you can see there are still some sections of porcelain, darker, ochre clay, lighter B-clay, some organic grayness… and unexpectedly, some blemishes of terra cotta red that must have gotten in there accidentally. Luckily, there wasn’t a lot… so I figure it will just blend in and add a bit of iron-richness to the clay… and it won’t affect the final firing temperature of the mixed clay.

Cause after all… as I tell my students… IT’S JUST CLAY!!!

I take the large chunks and lay them out on my wedging table so the canvas can soak out some more of the extra moisture. I do a very brief wedging of the clay, and then shave off layers and re-stack them into small piles.

I take the stacked piles, cut them in half and stack them back on themselves. Cut the stack in half and layer them on top of themselves again. Repeat a couple times and the layers begin to get thinner & thinner as the clay mixes evenly. It’s a LOT quicker & easier than just straight wedging. The layers squish together easily with a little bit of gravity & slamming down on the table to help along the way!

A bit of quick wedging, and then I set it aside to carve off another chunk from my reclaim pile.
Piece by piece… slice by slice… chunk by chunk…

As I wedge up the piles, the clay is still a bit wetter than I want, so I throw them out stretched as a quick slab… and stand them up so they get some extra air exposure.

Some more wedging of the pieces and they get placed in clear bags. I don’t worry too much about a “perfect” wedging at this point, as I know I will do more wedging when I get around to actually using the clay.

So after a couple hours of cutting, layering & wedging…
I now have well over a hundred pounds of reclaimed clay.
FREE CLAY just from a little work… my favorite kind of clay!!!

 

 

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Categories: clay, process

It felt great to back in the studio today… even if it was just to make a few new stamps, water the plants, take down some Christmas decorations and to turn out a LOT of reclaim clay that’s been piling up & slaking down for quite awhile. Can’t wait to make something outta this big gooey mess!!!

Categories: clay, porcelain

Rainy morning means no sunrise… and an early morning in the studio playing with porcelain…. full of potential.

Categories: clay, creativity, lillstreet

If Rene Magritte were a potter…
he would have seen the humor as well. Strange pieces found in the clay reclaim buckets
by the Lillstreet Claymakers!

And a bit of Magritte inspiration…

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Categories: clay, porcelain, process, studio

Just pulling out another batch of reclaimed clay. This time it’s a huge batch of slaked-down porcelain that I turned out onto my large plaster bat. All scraps from another potter friend who doesn’t like to reclaim clay. But I sure do!!! It’s going to take a few days before it sets-up enough that I can start wedging it. A lot of work & waiting… but then again, you know how much I LOVE FREE CLAY!!!

Categories: clay, summer camp, wheelthrowing

After two days at the pottery wheel, my Summer Campers were cranking out some nice pots… trying to stay focused, elbows down, arms locked in, fingers steady, centering their clay… and eventually making a LOT of pots!!!

Categories: clay, summer camp, wheelthrowing

This is my first week back at Lillstreet Summer Camp!
And my kids are having a wonderful time and making some pretty sweet pots
in Wheelthrowing Camp! Goopey messy fun!!! WHOO-HOO!!!

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Categories: clay, process, studio

After weeks of slaking down, my stoneware scraps reclaim bucket was finally ready
to turn out onto my large plaster bat. You know how much I love FREE CLAY!!!
Can’t wait for this pile to set-up a bit, and then let the wedging begin!!!

Categories: clay, special events

Just got home from a wonderful weekend in Minneapolis for NCECA 2019…. the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts. A lot of pottery, inspirations, shopping and meeting up with a lot of other pottery friends!! More photos & stories to come!!!

As an added bonus… it was a BEAUTIFUL weather weekend in Minneapolis! So I made sure to get outside to see some of the sights outside of the Convention Center too!

 

Categories: clay, process, production, wheelthrowing

Now that all of the berry bowls are stamped, trimmed and drilled with holes…
now they need drip plates to catch the water after washing your berries!
Here we go… giddy-up!