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

Tonight was the second class for some of my Beginning Wheelthrowing students…
and they’ve already finished up their first batch of mugs! We’re off to a great start!!!



Categories: mugs, porcelain, soda-fired, stamped

A small, stamped soda-fired porcelain mug to celebrate Mugshot Monday!

Categories: classes, mugs, process, stamped, summer camp

It’s the third day for my Summer Campers and today they had to “finish up” their stoneware pots. So we did some trimming, some stamping, some adding of handles and colored slip detailing. Never too soon to start stamping, right???

Categories: mugs, patterns, soda-fired, textures

Just playing with some new textures, patterns, lines and new ways to make more mugs!!!
There’s definitely some good potential here. Time to push it further!!!



Categories: mugs, porcelain, stamped

Stamped porcelain mug with a thin white glaze.
Pretty much the “opposite” of the typical soda-fired colors & flashings!

Categories: art fair, glaze, mugs, stamped

Pricing & packing a fresh batch of glazed mugs for the Hinsdale Fine Arts Festival. Two days of fun in the sun in downtown Hinsdale in Garfield Park. C’mon by Saturday or Sunday from 10:00am-5:00pm!!!


Categories: classes, lillstreet, mugs, soda-fired

This past Tuesday night was the last class for my Simply Soda class for the Spring session. My beginning soda-firing students did a great job working through some of the “difficulties” and “unpredictabilities” of firing in the soda kiln. But after ten weeks, we made it to the end and everyone learned a LOT… including me!

To celebrate our last class, we had a little class challenge to finish with. At the beginning of the session, I had challenged each student to make enough mugs to trade one with everyone in class. So each student had to come with ten mugs for the trade… Peter already moved away, so nine… and then we played a little game. Going one person at a time, each student got to pick one of their group to call their won. By the end, everyone’s mugs had found a new home… and they were going home with one mug from each of their fellow students… and me!

So here are MY mugs that were up for the taking! Stamped and soda-fired B-clay.

And then AFTER The exchange, these are the mugs I came home with!!!

This sweet porcelain mug with subtle flashings and two white glaze stripes by Catherine.

A shallow “diner cup” with some great carved details at the bottom by Taylore.

A beautiful tankard mug by Cecelia with butter yellow slip and gray carbon trapping.

A sweet little mug made with B-clay and a Tom’s Purple glaze liner by Patty.

A fun little mug with indented dots across the surface with a Tom’s Purple liner by Katie.

A beautiful grooved mug by Stacey with a wonderful flashing on the mustard slip.

Unfortunately, Ed’s mugs were still in the soda kiln cooling. Just a day short of making the deadline. He participated  in the exchange and promised to fulfill his “trade” end of the bargain soon!

So all in all, I’d say my beginner soda students knocked it out of the park!
A great session… and a great exchange… and great additions to my Mug Collection!!!





Categories: flowers, mugs, soda-fired, stamped

Happy Monday.
Happy mini-Mugshot Monday!!!

Categories: artists, classes, mugs, textures

So I got an email from one of my Facebook Fans… Kate Chenok, a potter from the San Francisco area. She told me she was traveling for business and would LOVE to stop by my studio to meet me. She gave me her travel schedule and it aligned with the classes I teach on Mondays & Tuesdays. She suggested I check out her website to see her work… so I did. And I saw these wonderful little “folded mugs” on her website. And a plan started to develop…

Sure, she could easily stop by the studio and sit-in one of my classes while my students were working during Week #9. But I had a better plan… I figured it might be fun if Kate Chenok stopped by and then do a quick demo for my students! Perfect timing. Perfect plan!

So I asked her to swing by the studio on a Tuesday night. We’re in Week #9 of the ten-week session, and I thought my Beginner’s might like a little handbuilding “break” from the wheel. Kate got here a t little late… so we did a quick tour of my studio and Lillstreet… and then it was right into my classroom. Quick introduction and she was on for the demo.

We threw some quick slabs, and she showed how she adds texture using assorted texture forms, vinyl placemats, corrugated cardboard and more.

She then shared the patterns she uses to cut our a shape from the slab. Carefully aligning her textured design with the shape of the cut-out pattern.

And then that cut-out shape was carefully rolled and seamed together with angled edges… carefully seaming the seam with as little fudging & smudging as possible. The cutout darted sections are also scored, slipped and stuck together. Basically folding in the bottom of the cup.

After the darts are connected, she took a second to smooth out the interior and double-checking the security of the seam. All the while trying to keep the exterior pattern as clean and smudge-less as possible.

The square bottom “hole” that is created by the folding in of the darts needs to be filled. Another small piece of textured slab is scored and slipped into place.

After securing the bottom, a little refining of the rim is in order.

And then there’s the question of the seam. Is it smooth enough? Does it need to blend in better? Or should it be made more apparent?… or even decorated with little stamped buttons?!

After Kate finished her demo, we encouraged my students to step up and give it a go. Some of them were very excited… you could see it on their faces during the demo. So they pulled out their slabs and texture tools  and dove right in!!!

Kate was great… so sharing with her knowledge and time. Helping my students through every step of the process.

Such focus and determination by Carmina and Grace…

And here’s one of the “finished” pieces… a very sweet little pitcher that Grace made. She’s become quite the master of texture… and even added a bit of slip detail on top of the textured surface!!!

Huge thanks once again to Kate for stopping by and playing with my students. We all had a great time and learned a lot from her.

To see more about Kate Chenok and her work,
including her wonderful folded mugs, click here for her website.






Categories: classes, lillstreet, mugs

Last night in my Beginning & Advanced Beginning Wheelthwoing class,
we ended the Spring session with a fun class, potluck snacks and a Double Mug Exchange! At the start of class I challenged my students to make mugs to exchange during the final class. With a small twist… my brand new Beginners needed to make two mugs, but my returning Advanced Beginners needed to make “matching” mugs!!! Here are a “few” of the mugs that were up for grabs last night!!!

And two “individuals” by one of my brand new Beginners… pretty sweet, huh?!

And of course I had to play along too… so here are my contribution
to the Double Mug Exchange… two stamped and cone 6 glaze fired mugs!