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

Spent a lot of time stamping… and stamping… and stamping. Adding some texture to my latest batch of bowls… soon to have HOLES. As these will quickly be turning into berry bowls!

Categories: bowls, patterns, process, production, sgraffito, tools

I just found two bowls that I made “awhile” back, and painted the interior with colored slip. I wrapped them up in plastic… and then apparently forgot about them. And it’s been “quite’ awhile… so they were harder & drier than I would like them to be. But with my one of my extra-sharp DiamondCore Tools they still carved like a dream!

Categories: classes, patterns, porcelain, sgraffito, tools

So much fun to see one of my Tuesday Night pottery students “test driving” her new V-tip DiamondCore Tools for the very first time… first time with this tool AND first time carving all together!!! Looks like Jen is off to an AMAZING start… a little carving prodigy in the making!!!

Categories: patterns, sgraffito, tools

Carved with my DiamondCore Tools!
Just needs a little brushing to clean-up the scraps after they dry!

Categories: bowls, patterns, process, stamped, stamps

After Tuesday’s “not-so-basic-bowls” class demo… I felt that the bowls might “need” just a little more embellishment. A little stamping here. A little finessing there. Cause after all… MORE IS MORE. So here are some quick pics of the bowls… and the stamps that did all of the magic!

So for now they’re back under plastic for another night…
back tomorrow to trim the bottoms!

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Categories: inspiration, patterns, textures

Great patterns & reliefs on pressed ceiling tiles in the theater lobby at Drury Lane. Might need to make some new stamps now???

Categories: Chicago, patterns, tiles

Simple mosaic in the underground Jackson “L” Station
on my way home from the Shamrock Shuffle.

And then a not-so-simple mosaic ceiling in the atrium dome of Marshall Field’s…
err, I guess we’re supposed to call it Macy’s now?!

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Categories: patterns, process, production, stamped

Stamped, trimmed and now painting a layer of colored slip accents on these cuties…
little flower pots for my Spring art fairs!

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Categories: patterns, porcelain, process

So after accepting the “thrownback THROWDOWN challenge” from Taylore…
and throwing my platter with a layer of black slip, it was time to start the sgraffito decoration process. Now let me just say from the git-go, that I am NOT a proficient sgraffito-ist. In fact this might be my very first intentional sgraffito project… something more than just some¬† cut-line leaf patterns. I had to do a bit more planning on this one to determine my pattern, with textures and contrasts before even starting. When I finally had a plan in my head, I could begin the process. And here we go…

I started with a pointed oval cut-out pattern and a needle tool.
A little light tracing to get me started before I put the first cut in.

It’s hard to turn back once that first cut is in place!

The second cut?… not so bad..

Loving my new carving tools from DiamondCore Tools.
Great quality blades giving me nice smooth lines! They glide right through the clay!

I must admit that once you get going it gets kind of addictive! A little here. A little there.
Some texture here… some “shaded” areas with half of the slip carved away.
I like the color variation and the texture working together.

After awhile my pattern started to come together.
Kind of an organic leaf pattern with a bit of a stylized Art Deco twist.

So lucky to have this great collection of carving tools. Each blade is a different shape for a different cut mark. Each of them extra sharp thanks to DiamondCore Tools. The sharper the blade, the smoother the cut. So fun to finally put them to a real use… as they were probably intended!!!

But I will admit that it was tough to use them all… as I have definitely found my favorite!!!
It’s the V-tip Pencil Carverthe yellow one! I love the sharp beveled edge V-cut it makes into the clay. A bit of width to the cut with a crisp bottom line inside.

Part way through I switched to the Square-tip Relief Carver to do a little relief carving apparently, who knew?... but more to just take out wider areas of the black slip. Trying to create a cleaner white area with a bit of a deeper, smoother cut. And some extra color contrast happening on my platter.

After awhile feverishly working away in the studio, I ended up with this… for now.
And I’m pretty darn pleased with myself. Not bad for a first attempt…
might be onto something here?!

Although I’m still not 100% confident that I’m done carving?!
I think one of the hardest parts to this is actually knowing when to call it done.
You could carve away forever… and end up with a plain white plate!!!

So we’ll see… the “Sgraffito Surprise Challenge” continues tonight in my LILLSTREET THROWDOWN class. Each of my students should be bringing in their complete platters too. I can’t wait to see them all done. I’ve seen a few along the way, a few sneak peeks here & there, but I can’t wait to see them all. Until then, I think I might have an hour or so before class to consider adding a bit more… because you know my theory… More Is More!

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Categories: patterns, seasons

Morning snow on the backyard garden bench.
Texture. Pattern. Snow.