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

Tonight in my Advanced Beginner’s Wheelthrowing class we tackled trimming, handles & making mugs! Working with the cylinders they threw last week… they cranked out a LOT of mugs tonight! Not bad for only their second class of the session!!!

Categories: glaze, mugs, stamped

Still playing with some new mug shapes for the New Year. Looked up and saw this sweet little one sitting on a shelf in my studio. Must have slipped by from one of my last holiday kilns?! I think I’ll have to re-visit this shape… I’m kinda diggin’ it!!!

Categories: friends, mugs, soda-fired, textures

Looks like my pal Allison is starting her day of right…
with a bit of morning steam from her “wake-up call” in one of my mugs! Thanks for sharing your morning with us on Instagram @apmolloy !

Categories: classes, mugs

It’s always nice to get back to work in the New Year. To get back to a bit of a routine again after “sliding though the holidays.” Always fun to get back to teaching… to meet your new students, plan out the syllabus and getting them all fired up again! We’ve all been off for awhile now. Everyone is so happy to be back!!!

To get us started, we made a few simple mug cylinders. But one of my New Years plans is to “play” a bit and try out a few new shapes & profiles. Sometimes the work, sometime they don’t!!!

For my Monday night intermediate class, we discussed how to “alter” some of the shapes, so we worked on indenting, squaring-off, faceting (which we didn’t keep)… and a few more ideas! And then my Tuesday night Beginners started off with some more basic cylinders… which they will trim and add handles to next week!

I, of course, just added a few more stamped details to the mix in my studio tonight… MORE IS MORE… and still, some of them work, some of them don’t… and some of them might need a little re-visiting later?!!!

Mug #1 –

Mug #2 –

Mug #3 –

Mug #4 –

Mug #5 –

Mug #6 –

Mug #7 –

Mug #8 –

So for now these mug cylinders are all under plastic wrap for the night. I will continue to work on most of them in my studio. The last three I’ll save for next Tuesday’s Beginner’s class when we’ll discuss trimming & adding handles. They’re going to be “surprised” when they finish their first batch of mugs at their second class!!!

Categories: food, friends, mugs

Looks like Tatiana is getting ready for a relaxing night at home! Celebrating another MUGSHOT MONDAY with two of the mugs she snagged during my studio mug sale before Christmas! Vino, snacks & more – have a great night Tatiana!!!

Categories: family, friends, mugs, pottery

I packed up the pottery “starter sets” and shipped them out… anxiously awaiting The Big Reveal on Christmas! With things being as they are this year… the family “got together” to open their presents online!!! Not the best screen-grabs… but you can kinda see the excitement & joy of their new pottery! With the “gift-givers” a bit blurry, but still in the bottom left corner!

And since then… it’s been fun watching them all start using their new pottery collection! Each of them showing off parts of their new collections!

And Matt has already found “space” on his kitchen display shelves… although methinks he’s going to “need” more shelving pretty darn soon!

Categories: family, friends, holiday, mugs, pottery

Another great Christmas SURPRISE…
I was also asked to make a couple “sets” of pottery for three different families. The parents who requested these “sets” have QUITE the collection of my pottery. They’ve been collecting my work for years… and probably have TOO MUCH if that’s even possible! I know most of their kids have some “random” pieces… a mug here, a bowl there… but not a good “set” of anything!

So the request was to make two bowls, two mugs and two juice cups in three different colors for three different families. They love the stamped patterns… but didn’t want them to be all “matchy-matchy”… so they wanted the stamps to all be different. Similar, but different.

And to make matters worse…
imagine ME not being able to share the photos of these pieces as I was making them!!! I was so careful not to share too much to ruin the surprise! I had fun making the sets… but so tough NOT to show photos along the way!

The “celadon” green set traveled to Kristy & Matt in Wisconsin!

The cobalt blue set went to Karen & Annie in Maryland.

And the green set was delivered to Jody & Ira in Pennsylvania.

And oh, but wait there’s more…
I figured since each of the families was getting a nice “starter set” courtesy of their parents… maybe they needed a plate to go with it too??? Especially since I’ve kinda been “adopted” into the family. I’ve even been referred to as “the favorite son”!!!

A title I’ll gladly take… especially since they only have daughters!

Categories: mugs, nature

Another MUGSHOT MONDAY… this time while hiking up north along the lakefront. Sure, it was a bit chilly, but proper layers and a mug of hot chocolate… perfect combo for a perfect afternoon out in nature.

Categories: collaborations, mugs, pottery, soda-fired, special events, stamped

I’ve been working on these pieces for awhile.
And it finally feels GREAT to call them done!

I received a request from a local Chicago customer for a special order last Summer during the shutdown. He owns & runs THE ECCENTRIC CAFE in Kalamazoo, Michigan… a part of Bell’s Brewery. Apparently, the bar has a lot of “visual intrigue”… wonderful collections & things to look at all over the place. In fact, it’s one of the only brewery pubs with NO TELEVISIONS!!!

So the request was that I would make a large “tankard” or stein for his newest collection. I LOVE making mugs… so I was definitely intrigued to tackle them on a much larger scale! He said he was “collecting them” from a few of his favorite potters around the country. So I was HONORED to be chosen to be part of his collection of favorites!!!

The request was that I can make any style, shape or form tankard “in my style”… and they had to hold more than 64-ounces! Knowing that I was going to be soda-firing them, I decided to make a couple extra just in case something goes wrong during the firing… a drip from the ceiling, a splotch of errant soda, or any other random issue that comes up while soda-firing. So here are the three finished pieces seen from both sides. Totally pleased with the finished results… and NO random soda mishaps!!!

Tankard #1 –

Tankard #2 –

Tankard #3 –

As I was making them, I was continually concerned that they wouldn’t be large enough… a minimum of 64-ounces. You know how clay shrinks when it dries… again when it gets bisque fired… and yet again when soda-fired. So I threw them fairly large with the shrinkage in mind… but after each step in the process they kept getting smaller and I kept getting more & more concerned!!! Turns out I was all good… BY FAR!!!… as each of them finished out with a volume of nearly 96-ounces each!!!

When I sent photos of them finished to Larry to choose which one he wanted… I was blown away when he said he loved them and wanted ALL THREE!!! Blown away!!! I was so excited that he loved them so much.

Last night I dropped them off … so nice to complete the commission and pass them off to the client. They will now be on their way to THE ECCENTRIC CAFE in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I can’t wait to see photos of them in “the collection” when they all come together. I know a few of the other potters involved… and it’s sure to be a pretty sweet collection! And then when “things” settle down a bit this summer, I may just need to do a roadtrip to Kalamazoo to see the pottery collection in person!

Categories: holiday, mugs, studio

So the first mug “snagged” from today’s MUGSHOT MONDAY STUDIO SALE was “The Grinch” mug! And then the new owner got home to find a gift of macarons & tea waiting for her… and her heart grew three sizes that day!

A quick reminder that the MUGSHOT MONDAY SALE continues until 7:00pm in my studio. Lots of great mugs still looking for the forever homes!