Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: bowls, classes, color, patterns, process, textures

This week in my SURFACE DECORATIONS class, we tackled a couple different techniques for a fun tie-dyed effect… you all know I’m a kinda big fan of tie-dye!!!

So we started with a “squiggly” version… where I took a large plat platter, painted a layer of thick slip on top, and then dribbled some blobs of colored underglazes on top of it. Not really sure how this will work… but I’m always ready to try something new… it’s just clay, right?!

And then I took a plastic rib with a scalloped edge… a cake decorating tool… and started to squiggle through the layers of slip & underglazes to blend, blur & texture the plate. In hindsight, I kinda wish the plastic rib were either softer or thinner… as it was a bit tough to get some good squiggle up by the curve of the rim.

So here it is so far… I’m going to let it dry slowly and trim the bottom when it gets leatherhard. Still contemplating if it might “need” a bit of stamped texture somewhere?! And if so… where???

After bisque firing, I’m assumiong I’ll probably just sue some clear glaze to make the colors “pop” and give it all some shine. The downside might be… that I’m not fully confident that the colors of the underglazes will actually “survive” the high-fire cone 10 temperatures. But we’ll find out soon enough…

Not quite traditional “tie-dye”…. but pretty fun & groovy nonetheless!

Categories: bowls, classes, patterns, textures, tools

This week in my SURFACE DECORATIONS class, we did a bit of carving for texture & pattern! I started with two bowls with slightly thicker walls, trimmed at leatherhard, and then we sat down to carve. Using my sharp DiamondCore Tools gives me nice crisp lines, grooves & incisions… and I’m always willing to let my students give them a try too… a mix of carving tools & trimming tools for an assortment of lines!!!

Categories: classes, patterns, platters, process, stamped, textures

In my Monday night Intermediate Wheelthrowing class this week, one of my students was stamping wonderful patterns on her thrown platter. Wonder where she got THAT idea?!

It looks AMAZING Christine!!!
I guess my work here is done…

Categories: craftsmanship, creativity, patterns, textures

Simply enamored with how the carpenter here creatively used the ends of the boards to highlight the woodgrain patterns & textures. So simple… yet so elegant & amazing!!!

Categories: flowers, garden, patterns, pottery, soda-fired, textures, vases

So I’ve been trying to grow some of my own bittersweet over the past few years. First on a trellis in my back yard…. err, cement courtyard in a large pot. A few years later I moved it to my front yard garden to grow up a street lamp. I’ve always gotten pretty good leaves… but this year was the first time I’ve ever found the flowers & berries on my plant! Very exciting… as it’s completely growing up & taking over the lamp post!!!

Categories: bowls, patterns, stamped

One bowl. Two stamps. Lots of repetition…
Just to make another stamped & textured rim. I like how the stamped pattern creates this kind of chevron effect around the rim!

Categories: patterns, platters, process, stamped

Once my slip & plate were on the drier-side of leatherhard, it was ready for my class demo last Thursday night. I had already trimmed the bottom of the piece… but now I needed to shave off the top layer of white slip.

The “plan” for sanggam is to shave off the top layer of slip and leave it filled in the stamped impressions! Like I said… this is my first time really trying this technique. And what better place to do it than in class as demo for all of my Thursday night students?!

Turns out that my T2 Arc Trimming Tool from DiamondCore Tools was the perfect too for shaving off the white slip! It’s nice & sharp, and the curved edge seemed to fit in all the right placed without shaving off any gouges or lines!

And now that I have all of the pattern revealed, I’m planning on smoothing it out a bit with some sandpaper after to dries completely… with my mask on of course!!!

Categories: patterns, platters, process, stamped

After stamping the pattern into my platter, I filled all of the stamps & covered it all with a thick white slip.

It took a little while to get it all filled in… as the thick slip wasn’t filling the indentations easily. So I had to “press it in” with the paintbrush – kinda tapping & squishing it in before smoothing it out.

Once the stamps were filled in… I smoothed it out, and added a second layer of slip to ty and cover the pattern completely.

Categories: mugs, patterns, stamped, textures

Just finishing off another batch of my new “wheelthrown-handbuilt-combo” mugs… whew!… done in time to teach class tonight!

Still looking for a new name for them… any suggestions???

Categories: bowls, classes, patterns, soda-fired, surface decoration

Speaking of class demos… here’s my first bowl using the water erosion technique! Remember, I used shellac to paint on the pattern and then wiped away the surface of the background… leaving the protected areas a little raised from the background. I then glazed it in a forest green celadon glaze that turns blue when the soda atmosphere hits it. So the wide range of colors that go around the bowl are all from the “magic” of the soda kiln firing… not me!!!