Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: kiln firing, pottery, soda-fired, stamped

Unloaded my soda kiln last night. Lots of bright colors…
not all browns & grays much to the chagrin of my soda students.
See, a soda firing CAN be colorful!

Now to pack it all up for this weekend’s art fair in Schaumburg!


Categories: kiln firing, process

So I’m rushing towards my next soda kiln. Lots of new pots in the studio. Some of them not quite dry yet… but I’ve got to get them bisqued tonight or they won’t make it into the soda kiln!!! So it may not be my best & tightest kiln loading ever… but luckily my soda students had some greenware that helped fill my kiln. So we shared some kiln space… and loaded carefully so as not to stack or nest any pots that were still damp. No explosions here!!!

Layer #1 – flower pots, mugs and some student mugs & cylinders.

Layer #2 – bowls, mugs, flower pot water dishes… and some student plates.

Layer #3 – stamped vases, bowls, mugs… and more student work!

Layer #4 – half a layer with a couple more bowls, and just a “few” stacked & tumbled to fit.

Categories: artists, friends, kiln firing

A potter friend of mine up in Minnesota announced on Instagram today that he had a not-so-”little” kiln incident. Everyone is okay… the pots not so much. It could have been so much worse. A good lesson in kiln safety for us all to remember. If you’re headed up to Minneapolis this weekend, be sure to stop by the Rogue Potters to offer some support. Just don’t expect any “new” pots from Randal. Sorry buddy!


Categories: kiln firing, production

Working in the studio trying to build enough new work to fill the soad kiln! It just seems so weird to me that my Summer Art Fair schedule is barreling towards me. And as always, I’m rushing to the finish line. Sure, I had months of cold winter months that I “could have” been working in the studio more. But somehow, I didn’t… and now I’m paying the price and cranking it out!!!

Kiln Layer #1 – a nestled tight layer of wall pocket vases.

Kiln Layer #2 – more wall pocket vases, mugs and a few mini vases.

Kiln Layer #3 – soap dispensers, mugs, ikebana vases and some mini vases.

Kiln Layer #4 – Flower pots, flasks, spoon rests, stars and ikebana vases.

And you know how I like to fill the kiln to the top… stacked high… flush to the top!
I figure as long as the kiln lid closes, I’m good. Right?!


Categories: classes, kiln firing

Did a quick studio “drive-by” this morning to unbrick the top of the kiln to cool it a bit quicker. My soda class will be unloading the kiln later tonight… but here’s a sneak peek of the beauties inside!!! More to come…

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!