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

Here we go… wedged & ready to get busy!!!

Categories: clay

While in Minneapolis, early Saturday morning I went over to Continental Clay to pick-up my order. Ed was waiting for me on the loading dock… ready to load my car with two kinds of clay! Lots of boxes spread evenly… weighing down the car! So nice of Paula & Ed to schedule a Saturday pick-up for me while the store is only open Monday-Friday!

Categories: clay, process

The morning after… trimming scraps ready to toss into my reclaim bucket!

Categories: clay, studio

While I was in my studio all day yesterday firing the soda kiln, I had plenty of time to do some “Spring Cleaning”… which included pulling out another batch of reclaimed clay from my orange bin. Piling it up on a large plaster bat to help absorb the extra moisture. It will take a few days until it stiffens up enough to start wedging my new free reclaimed clay!!! My favorite kind of clay… did I mention “FREE”???

Categories: clay, process

Finally got around to wedging up my pile of reclaimed clay! It sat on my large plaster bat for awhile as the extra moisture evaporated & the clay was finally stiff enough to wedge. So a little “elbow-grease” and now several bags of FREE CLAY!!! My favorite kind of clay!!!

Categories: clay, process, studio

After a long & enjoyable holiday break, I figured it was finally time to venture back into the studio to turn out another batch of reclaim clay. It’s been slaking down in my reclaim bin for a little longer than normal… so I actually had to add a little water back in to soften it up a bit… just so I could turn it out to dry it up again!!! HA!!!

Categories: clay, process, studio

Spending a little time this evening crushing up some of my dried reclaim scraps… trying to make them as small as possible so that they slake down faster in my reclaim bin. Sure, it takes a little effort.. but reclaimed clay is the best! Because it’s FREE!!!

Categories: artists, clay, collaborations, handbuilding, wheelthrowing

So I had a little “summer camp” situation in my studio over the summer. My friend Kristen asked if her kids could stop by for a little “private” summer camp experience in my studio. I’ve known the kids forever… so of course I said yes. Although I haven’t really done much with them since they took my Lillstreet Chess Camp a couple years back.

We started with some wheelthrowing lessons, and then they each gave it a try. AJ went first, followed by Lizzy. I think they were both a little surprised that it wasn’t quite as easy as it looks!

But then I also “flipped the script” a bit on them… and told them they would have a handbuilding project as well. They thought they would be able to make whatever they wanted…. but, oh no, that’s not how I play!

I think they had all kinda forgotten about a little drawing that AJ had done back when he was in second grade. He was trying to raise money to buy himself a new set of LEGO’s… and his mom Kristen set-up a little gallery show for him to show-off his artwork. I purchased this drawing at that gallery show… and have had it in my studio ever since.

So I pulled it out… and challenged them each to make a handbuilt “cup” that was “inspired” by AJ’s monster drawing from so many years ago.

On their next visit, they trimmed their wheelthrown pieces, and finished working on their handbuilt monster cups. The final touches were put on with some colored underglazes. Once they dry, I will bisque fire the monster cups and glazed them with a clear glaze. Their wheelthrown pots will be glazed as well… to match their color choices of course!

As you can see, Lizzy went for a more literal approach in building her cup. I especially liked her use of textures to mimic the patterns in the drawing. While AJ went a little off on his own “version” of the monster… with a great triple-eye & vertical mouth situation!

So much fun playing with these kids… they were so much fun. Glad we could work out this Mini Summer Camp this summer… two days of clay fun in my studio with AJ & Lizzy!

Categories: clay

After a crazy flurry of pottery & Pirate production in my studio lately… it was a MESS!!! It felt great to do a little cleaning & re-organizing today. Including pulling out a new batch of reclaimed clay. This time a large pile of porcelain that I received dry in bags from a friend who doesn’t like to reclaim her own clay. So I do the labor… and I get a pile of FREE PORCELAIN!!!

Categories: clay, lillstreet

When the classroom reclaim buckets seem to take on a life of their own!!!