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

Looks like it might be time to consider glazing something?!

Categories: kiln firing, process, production

So I loaded another bisque kiln Friday night. I wasn’t quite ready to fire my own kiln, but with the addition of my student’s class work it filled up quite nicely. My Monday night soda students will be excited to get there soda slip test cylinders back so soon!

Layer #1 – the ying-yang of mugs – half porcelain, half stoneware with iron.

Layer #2 – oval casseroles, mugs and some new berry bowls

Layer #3 – some textured square vases and Melissa’s “M.C. Escher” oval casserole from my Tuesday class. She has worked on it so much that I just felt it would be safer if we put it right into this kiln… and avoided the dangers of the classroom kiln,

Layer #4 – an oval casserole and the test cylinders for my Monday soda class.

So close to the top… packed tight all the way up… just how I like it.
I even had to double-stack some cylinders using the varying heights to fir under the lid!

Categories: classes, kiln firing

As we near the end of the Winter session, many of my students are rushing to get their “challenge projects” completed & glaze fired for the last class. So we opted to load a class bisque kiln with some of their pieces last night. It will speed up the process a smidge, and it was a great first-time kiln loading experience for most them.

Sure, not my tightest packed kiln ever…
but I did manage to squeeze in a few of my own pieces as “kiln filler.”

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!


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!!!


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?





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!!!



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!!!