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

My studio neighbor Cathi asked if I had any greenware to add to her bisque… of course I said “YES!!!” She was loading some odd-sized pieces and knew that she would have a few spaces for some “filler.”

On the bottom layer, she had this one low, flat cylinder planter form. I proceeded to surround it AND fill it with mugs!!! And even better, all of the new mini vases are stashed inside the mugs!

And a little more room on the top layer… to which I double-stacked my mugs with just a sliver of air-space at the top. About a 1/16th of an inch clearance for the lid to close!!! Plenty of space!!! And I got all 55 mugs into her kiln as “kiln filler”!!! Whoo-hoo!!!

Categories: art fair, glaze, kiln firing, porcelain

So I’ve been rushing around this week trying to get everything set-up for this Saturday’s Second Holiday Home Show. I’ve even glazed and fired a cone six glaze kiln just to replenish the shelves!!! I unloaded the kiln tonight… always fun to see the bright pop of colors in a cone six firing. A stark contrast to the earthy colors of a soda kiln firing. And I’m pretty pleased with how the glazes I’ve made are not only nice colors, but are also breaking & highlighting the stamped patterns really well.

Mark your calendar for THIS SATURDAY for “Mud & Metal” A Collaborative Holiday Home Show. It’s at my place this Saturday from 10:00am-6:00pm!

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Categories: kiln firing, pottery, soda-fired

A few more “treasures” revealed as I unloaded my soda kiln tonight. I’m pretty excited about these new larger lidded jars… they all turned out GREAT!!! Can’t wait to show them off in two weeks at my Holiday Home Show! Always the weekend before Thanksgiving. Mark your calendars!!!

Categories: kiln firing, mugs, soda-fired

A sneak peek into the kiln while unbricking the door. Looks like good things to come…
and more mugs for Mugshot Monday!!!

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Categories: kiln firing

So I finished loading the soda kiln late last night… and decided to pull an “all-nighter” and fire it right then & there. Now let’s just say, I don’t think I’ve done an “all-nighter” since college. But it is pretty great to have finished firing the kiln already… and it’s still beautiful & sunny outside!!! Who knows… I might be onto something here?!

Okay, so I’m a little tired… but then again what else is new?

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Categories: kiln firing

Think of it as three-dimensional TETRIS with pots! Packing as many pieces in as you can. Shelf by shelf. Post by post. Building it up from the bottom. Layer by layer. All the while pacing yourself to spread pots all through the kiln. WHile packing it tight, but not too tight. Remember, for a good soda firing you want a good amount of open air for good air movement during the firing.

The back stack is loaded first… one shelf all the way up.

And always trying to get pots as close as possible to the curved roof of the kiln. Gotta use every possible space. I even threw in a couple student pieces to fill the shelf as I had run out of tall pieces for the left side of the shelf.

The front stack is two shelves deep. Again, pacing yourself trying to get is as many as possible. But restraining yourself from packing it too tightly. I think I did pretty well. All of the pieces I had glazed & wadded fit… okay, so two mugs are sitting on the bag wall, but… and I even had some space for a few student pieces. Like the little row of pumpkins second shelf from the top!

Cone packs have been put in top and bottom. And now the kiln door has been all bricked up. Packed with pots. Ready to be fired!!!

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Categories: kiln firing

An empty soda kiln full of potential. Kiln bricks with a beautiful soda-fired build-up.
Soon to be packed with a LOT of pots!!!

Categories: kiln firing, process, production, stamped, textures, vases

So there was a gaping hole in the top layer of my bisque kiln…
I knew that I had to make something quick!

I “threw together” a couple tall slab vases… measured just to fit when the kiln lid closes. I finished assembling them JUST in time to teach my Tuesday night class. I put them on plastic grid and a banding wheel so I could rotate them in front of a fan to dry them quickly. During class, I skipped out (unnoticed) and ran upstairs to add some colored slip details and keep them spinning.

When class was finally over… they had to go into the kiln regardless of where they were at. I had to fill the space, but couldn’t wait any longer to get the kiln started. So they went in a little damp… with a bit of a pre-heat on the kiln… and fingers crossed.

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Categories: kiln firing, process, production

With my soda kiln scheduled for this coming Saturday, I knew that I needed to crank out some last minute work… and squeeze it all into one last bisque kiln. Sure, it might not be my finest job of packing a tight kiln, but all of the little “filler” pieces went into the bisque kiln a couple days ago! So for now, I just knew that I had to get things bisqued quickly so I had some time to glaze & wad before Friday night’s soda kiln loading.

Kiln Layer #1 – lidded jars, small pitchers, mugs and some ornaments.

Kiln Layer #2 – two stamped platters, two bowls… and some more ornaments!

Kiln Layer #3 – half of the third layer was filled with stacked stamped bowls.

Kiln Layer #4 – porcelain mugs, bowls and some stacked pieces to fill the height.

But, oh wait… there’s a gaping space on the top of the kiln!!! We can’t have that.
You know how much I LOVE a well-packed kiln. I wouldn’t be able to sleep if I left that empty space like that!

Gotta make something quick to fill that space!!!

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Categories: kiln firing, process, production

Started this morning with a quick kiln loading. I kind of surprised myself by having enough work to fill the kiln. I’ve been trying to make a lot of work quick… guess it’s been working?! As I have a full soda kiln firing scheduled for next Saturday. So all of these pieces will need to be glazed & wadded before then!!!

Bisque kiln layer #1 – Mugs, mugs and more mugs!!!

Bisque kiln layer #2 – More mugs, votives and ikebana discs…
with some ornaments tossed in too!

Bisque kiln layer #3 – Tumblers, plates and a large stamped bowl.

Bisque kiln layer #4 – Dessert plates and ornaments.

Bisque kiln layer #5 – More dessert plates and more ornaments.
DOn’t panic… the cracked shards aren’t mine. No harm. No foul. They are my studio neighbor Karen’s piece that she uses for glaze testing. I had a little extra space… and you know how I LOVE a well-packed kiln!!!

Packed tight all the way to the top. The lid of the kiln
will lower down to within a 1/4″ of the bows!!!

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