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

The flock has flown into the kiln… ready for a bisque firing.
And let me just say, I’ll feel a LOT better when these have all successfully “survived” the bisque firing. So much safer when they are “solid” and not so fragile as when they’re just dried clay!

Categories: handbuilding, process, production

So they’re finally assembled… lidded jars with birds on them!
Wheelthrown & stamped lidded jars with handbuilt birds on branches as handles! I’ll let them sit out to dry slowly so I can put them into a bisque kiln early next week.

And then I need to figure out how I’m going to finish them… soda-fired, glazed, details, oxides, underglazes… so many options!!! And yes, there’s already a plan brewing…

Categories: handbuilding, process, production

Now that my birds have all been assembled, I let them sit in the damp box overnight to even out the moisture levels and let them “stiffen up” just a smidge. So tonight I started attaching them to the lids of the jars. Like avian handles… birds on twigs & leaves. I used a few folded yellow Post-it Notes to help prop-up and support the branches while they set-up. I had hoped to make the birds a bit more realistic… but these make me smile!

Categories: handbuilding, process, production

And slowly the “flock” is coming together… lots of feathers, lots of wings! The damp box is working great. I don’t do a “lot” of handbuilding… but this commission project requested “birds.”

So I’m giving them BIRDS!!!

Categories: handbuilding, process, production

It’s been kinda fun to watch these little guys come together. Every little piece you add makes them cuter & more magical.

First it was the tails… but then what a difference a beak can make!

Categories: handbuilding, process, production, studio

Making leaves & adding heads… and loving the damp box!
Keeping everything in one place and at the right wetness to keep working with things!

Categories: handbuilding, process, production

Starting with some pinch pots… back to Handbuilding 101.

I’m not sure how long these “birds” will take me, and I want to keep them moist & workable. So I’ve added a plaster slab into the bottom of a plastic container. I just pour some water onto the plaster slab which soaks it up instantly… and a lot more water than you would expect. Then I can just set my pieces on top of the damp plaster, close the lid and everything will be pretty much as I left it… and ready for more attachments!

Categories: artists, creativity, friends, handbuilding, My Talented Friends, teapot

So my friend Cory McCrory has been working on a new teapot for an upcoming show. And don’t for a moment think it is a “normal” teapot thrown on the wheel like I would make. Oh no… that’s NOT how Cory rolls!

Instead, Cory makes these elaborate, handbuilt sculptures with paperclay that have made me smile for YEARS!!! We first met at the Hinsdale Fine Arts Fair when our booths were one row away from each other. I could see her work, she could see mine… but we didn’t have a lot of time to go over and look as we were both busy in our booths. But I could already tell from a distance that I was enamored already!!! I finally made it over to her both and instantly fell in love with Cory AND her amazing work!!!

So if you’re NOT following Cory on Facebook or Instagram, you definitely should be!!! She’s been working on this amazing teapot for the past couple weeks… and graciously been sharing photos every step of the way. I’ll post a “teaser” of the finished underglazed version as it goes into the kiln here. But for the full “start-to-finish” Photo Album, click here for a link to her Facebook page.

Categories: classes, creativity, handbuilding

Just when they thought they were done
as a fun little challenge for my LILLSTREET THROWDOWN class, I decided to divide them into teams of two for a little clay game. Kinda like PICTIONARY… but with clay instead of paper & pencils. Hysterical to watch this play out… as we were adding a few extra points that I was hoping would break a tie in the class standings.

Any idea what these two “insta-clay-drawings” might be?…

Lillstreet Art Center.
See the pot inside the building? Too funny!

Categories: classes, handbuilding

After building cubes in class last week, my LILLSTREET THROWDOWN students were challenged to turn them into “traditional” building blocks. One side of the block had to feature a letter they chose randomly “from-a-hat” & another side had to be a sgraffito-carved animal that starts with the same letter. The remaining sides had to be carved, slip trailed and decorated with the theme!

Dana’s set of building blocks…
L is for LION. T is for TIGER. O is for OTTER. Y is for YAK.

Donna’s set of building blocks…
Z is for ZEBRA. D is for DACHSHUND. N is for NIGHTCRAWLER. P is for PIG.

Taylor’s set of building blocks… not quite so colorful, not quite so done yet…

Melanie’s set of building blocks… unfortunately, not quite done yet…

Helen’s set of building blocks…
E is for ELK. V is for VOLE. A is for Aardvark. W is for WOLF.

Christine’s set of building blocks…
S is for SHEEP. C is for CRAB. A is for ALLIGATOR. H is for HORSE.

Tracy’s set of building blocks…
U is for URCHIN. Q is for QUETZAL BIRD. W is for WHALE. X ids for X-RAY FISH???