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

Tonight in my Wheelthrowing class I surprised one of my students with some new clay jewelry!! Katie has been in my class for awhile, and has been playing with a lot of marbled clay this session. A few weeks back, she used the scraper to get a thin layer of marbled clay off her bat after removing the pot. She was going to just throw it in the reclaim, but I stopped her and told her she should make “something” out of it. It was such a cool slice of marbled clay. She didn’t feel like using it to make anything… but I did!!!

And Katie LOVED them… and immediately wore them in class!!!

Categories: classes, clay, wheelthrowing

With the “success” of our marbled clay experiments, last night one of my students continued wheelthrowing with colored clays. Katie used white porcelain, as well as blue & black porcelains she made with mason stains. We’re all LOVING how these pieces have been turning out. A fun novelty to be exploring during these crazy days! They’re looking great Katie!!!

Categories: classes, clay, soda-fired, vases, wheelthrowing

One special piece that came out of my soda kiln firing, was this vase that was a class demo from a couple weeks back. We’ve been playing with some colored clays & marbled wheelthrowing. This piece started with “white” B-clay, brown clay, and a “green” B-clay we made with mason stains. It was an experiment to see how it would turn out in the soda kiln with nothing but the soda atmosphere to “glaze” the exterior. Looks like a great success to me!!! I think we’re onto something…

Categories: classes, clay, color, vases

And here’s the vase I threw last night as part of my marbled clay class demo… now trimmed & skinned to reveal the marbling better. Enamored by the three color combo, the layers & ripples. We decided in class that maybe this one should be soda-fired with no glaze on the outside just to see how the soda effects alter or enhance the marbled surface! That’s the plan!

Categories: bowls, clay

After a bit of trimming & shaving the “skin” off my marbled clay demo from last night, the layers of colored clay were clearly revealed. Nicely layered & evenly distributed. Now I need to start thinking about how I’m going to glaze it… to enhance the colored clays and NOT obliterate it with some thick gloppy glaze!

Categories: classes, clay

After doing my “simple” demo version of marbled clay… one of my students Kelly decided to tackle it with a bit more precision. Cutting, layering, sticking together & making her own version of a Rubik’s Cube!!! I can’t wait to see what she makes with this amazing colored cube next week in class!

Categories: bowls, classes, clay

Tonight in my Intermediate Wheelthrowing class, we played with some marbled colored clays. We used a light B-clay, a brown clay, and a special “celadon” green clay I made by wedging some Mason stain into it earlier in the week.

A bit of layering, just a little bit of wedging and I got some nice marbled effects in my two demo pieces. When they dry to leather-hard, I’ll trim them and “shave off” the outer skin to reveal even more of the marbled effect.

Categories: clay, mugs, process, production, stamped, stamps

So I’ve been stamping another batch of mugs! A little “something” different as they wre made with a new kind of clay. A tilemaker friend of mine bought some new clay and didn’t like how it “felt” when he started using it. And then when he fired his tiles, they all cracked during the firing. So he believes there might be something wrong with the clay?! He passed it on to me to give it a try… and here I did. I will agree it felt a little goopey & sticky… a little more finicky… but ultimately I made some cylinders for mugs. It was a little tougher to get them to stand up & hold their shape. But I’m sure I’ll get used to it… as he’s planning on passing his “bad” clay onto me!!! Bring it on… CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!!!

Mug 1 – before & after…

Mug 2 – before & after…

Mug 3 – before & after…

Mug 4 – before & after…

Mug 5 – before & after…

Mug 6 – before & after…

Mug 7 – before & after…

Mug 8 – before & after…

Mug 9 – before & after…

So for now

Categories: clay, process, summer camp

So I keep telling the kids to keep their wet clay under plastic so that it doesn’t dry out. Spray it water if necessary… but keep the extra scraps under plastic!!! We talk a LOT about not letting their clay dry out too fast.

And THIS is why!!!
Because now they need to reclaim it themselves… making terra cotta slip out of their scraps. Because dry clay is not usable for their dinnerware sets!!! So now they need to do some manual labor… all part of the clay process. And an important lesson to learn.

So we start by having them pulverize their dried terra cotta pieces – pounding & crushing with rolling pins. For once,. it was a good thing that everyone has to be wearing masks!!!… as this can be a bit of a dusty process.

And then as they get it crushed down to small pieces & powder, we scoop it into plastic buckets.

Then we add water and they get “the privilege” of stirring forever to make it smooth! After all of this work to make something out of the clay they let dry out too much… they might re-think keeping their clay wet under plastic a bit more next time!

And if not… at least we have a LOT of really nice smooth slip now!!!

Categories: artists, clay, handbuilding

Just sharing a little TEXTURE TUESDAY flashback… back to last week when Pam posted this for her Texture Tuesday post! And flashing back even further to wonderful memories of her amazing Northwoods cabin, the beautiful lake, the tranquility, serenity and the fun of leaving behind a handmade ceramic leaf for her to find!!!