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

So excited that Christine’s latest batch of ornaments came out of the kiln beautifully just in time for Christmas! She made her first ornaments in my class last session and soda-fired them in my kiln. But now this batch she played even more with underglazes with a clear glaze in a high-fire kiln. Very festive & very fun!!!

Categories: ornaments, soda-fired, stamped

There’s always room for one more ornament… so remember that your tree would look better with a handmade, wheelthrown & soda-fired ornament on it… or two, or three… And not-quite-coincidentally, I’m hosting my last HOLIDAY HOME SHOW this Saturday from 10:00am-6:00pm. My friend Amy Taylor will be joining me with all of her beautiful jewelry too!

Categories: ornaments

After dinner, I helped my Dad put up his Christmas tree…and ran across some of the crafty ornaments I made when I was a bit younger. The vintage family ornament collection!!! Yes… I did a LOT of macrame back in the day!!!

And yes, nothing says Christmas like six different kinds of pasta, glue, white paint and a thumbtack!!!

Categories: art fair, ornaments, pottery, soda-fired

Huge THANKS to everyone who came out this weekend for my HOLIDAY HOME SHOW. So much fun to kick-off the holiday season with so many friendly faces sharing stories, sharing yummies & sharing our love for pottery!!! More holiday fun to come…

Categories: classes, ornaments, soda-fired

So remember how I made a deal with my students and only Christine took me up on it… and she got to soda-fire her ornaments in MY soda kiln?! Well here’s her very first batch of wheelthrown ornaments EVER!!! She did a good amount of underglaze ombre gradations… too bad several of the colors burnt out and disappeared. Still beautiful. Still festive. Still SO CUTE!!!

She has a lot of fun… and a LOT of questions about soda-firing. So much fun to share the excitement of soda-firing with someone who loves to learn everything!!! I think she got some great results… and hopefully will continue on with her soda-firing enthusiasm!

Categories: ornaments, process, soda-fired

And for those of you who keep wondering or asking about how I soda-fire my ornaments… well, here you go! I make these little clay tripods, bisque fire them, dip the tips in kiln wash and then place each ornament upside down on the tripod. Sure, one or two of them might “jump off” during the firing… but it’s a small price to pay for a lot of beautiful ornaments that have nice soda flashing all around each ornament.

And then the next question?… YES, I throw the tripods away after each firing.
Maybe I could re-use them?… but my gut tells me no.
I know that pieces shrink during the final soda-firing. And I’m afraid that if I use an “already-shrunk” tripod with a “still-to-be-shrunk” ornament, the difference in shrinkage during firing might not work well… and there might be some “shifting” during the firing and ornaments might fall off. So I hedge my bets… and make new tripods for every ornament firing!

Categories: ornaments, soda-fired, stamped

Not only did I get a lot of bowls, mugs, vases & more out of my soda kiln…
I also go a box FULL of wheelthrown ornaments!!!

Some of them need a smidge of cleaning up…
and then all of them will get a metal ring to hang from!
Lots of ornaments at the HOLIDAY HOME SHOW this weekend!!!

Categories: ornaments

One of my students “took me up” on my offer to fire their wheelthrown ornaments in my soda kiln. Christine was the only one who took me up on it… and here are her colorful ornaments with a lot of underglaze details. It will be interesting to see how much of this color survives the soda kiln?!

Categories: glaze, ornaments, process, production

These ornaments have been wiped off so the glaze stays in each stamp… headed into my soda kiln when I load this evening. These will be fired upside down on little tripods… get a metal ring after firing… and then make their big debut at My Holiday Home Show next weekend!!!!

Categories: glaze, ornaments, process, production

Adding a bit of tenmoku glaze into the stamped impressions on my latest batch of holiday ornaments. I’ll wipe off the top surface to leave the glaze neatly inlaid in each stamp.