Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: mugs, pottery, soda-fired, stamped

Just a reminder that today is my first “MUG-SHOP MONDAY” to be posted on Facebook… just one hour away! Yep, I’ll be posting the “official” Photo Album on my Fire When Ready Pottery Facebook at 10:00am CST. The first person to claim a mug by leaving a comment of “MINE” gets it. And when they’re gone, they’re gone!!! These are just a few more “teaser” photos!

Categories: mugs, pottery

Okay, so we’ve all become so accustomed to Mugshot Monday…
so let’s try something new… as I’ll be switching it up a bit.
Why not make it a “Mug-SHOP Monday” for this coming Monday?!

Monday morning at 10:00am CST I will be posting a photo album on Facebook with a dozen handmade mugs that are going up for sale! I don’t do a lot of online selling… but I figure right about now you’ve gotten tired of that old, boring mug you’ve been sequestered with. Might be time for a NEW ONE!!!

So check out my Facebook Fire When Ready Pottery page
at 10:00am CST on Monday, March 30, 2020. The first person to claim a mug as “MINE” in the Comments section of each page of the Photo Album will get that mug! Each mug will be $55 which includes shipping & handling within the contiguous United States. Easy enough right?… presuming that USPS plays along and we’re still allowed to ship things out during this crisis!

So here’s a SNEAK PEAK of the twelve mugs going up for sale on Monday. Remember, there is no shopping from this preview…
that can only be done Monday morning on my Facebook page… click here!

Mug A –

Mug B –

Mug C –

Mug D –

Mug E –

Mug F –

Mug G –

Mug H –

Mug I –

Mug J –

Mug K –

Mug L –

Categories: artists, friends, My Talented Friends, porcelain, pottery

This afternoon on INSTAGRAM LIVE, I got to watch one of my former teachers Steve Lee working in his studio at The Archie Bray in Montana. He did a few demos of how he trims pieces on a chuck, carves his designs and inlays his colored slips. We also got a sneak peek of their soda kiln being loaded.

This social distancing is new for all of us, but in some weird way we’re getting to “see more” of everyone on social media. Weird, right?!

If you follow Archie Bray on INSTAGRAM, it sounds like they’re going to try doing these LIVE events every Friday afternoon during the pandemic. Check it out for a little more ceramic inspiration… and great diversion from all of that self-isolating going on!!!

Categories: artists, friends, pottery, workshop

If you’re looking for a little clay inspiration tomorrow while you’re still social distancing… I think you might want to watch these two Instagram Live videos. The first one will be at 2:00pm CST with my former teacher Steven Lee who is now the head-honcho at The Archie Bray!

The second one will be my pal Mikey Stumbras starting at 4:00pm CST. I know we’re all looking for good things to fill our days & spark our creative spirits. Here are two good ones! I know I’ll be watching both of them too!

Categories: artists, pottery, television

Cheers to the endings of the Pottery Throwdowns!!! The British TV Show aired its finale this week for “The Great Pottery Throw Down.” Click the link below to watch the final episode. Coincidentally, our LILLSTREET THROWDOWN “finale” class was this week also!!! We had a great class, great project, and GREAT FUN!!! More photos & stories to come… until then, see who won the British version!

Click here to watch the final episode on YouTube!

So their FINAL CHALLENGE was to build an entire tea set… based on the Alice In Wonderland stories. They each took a different approach, some more literal, some more whimsical, some more “handmade.”

And yes… HE CRIED AGAIN!!!
We love when Judge Keith breaks into tears…
but at the same time, kinda hate when he breaks into tears!
Enough already… sometimes IT”S JUST CLAY!

No. spoilers here… WHICH POTTER WILL WIN???
Will it be Matt?… or Rosa?… or Jacob?
You’ve got to watch to find out!!!

And yes… one of them will win the “big” POTTERY THROW DOWN trophy!!!

Categories: pottery, teaching

So I just watched this week’s episode… The Quarter Finals of THE GREAT POTTERY THROW DOWN! Where we go from four potters to three. And then I realized that somehow I forget to post last week’s episode where we went from five to four! So here it is… with a fun outdoor pit firing, some sgraffito carving and another great wheelthrowing challenge!

Click here for the link to watch the episode on YouTube!

Categories: artists, pottery, television

And then if you’re going to binge-watch two episodes back-to-back, here’s a few images from this week’s episode of THE GREAT POTTERY THROW DOWN. This episode is The Quarter Finals with their largest handbuilding project where some get “wet & messy”… as well as a little “wet & fussy” decorative spot challenge of underglaze transfers along the way! And then next week is The Final episode… WHOO-HOO!!!

Categories: pottery, process

So then this happened… after carefully taking our spoons to the kiln room, and asking the monitor if we could carefully slide them in… he said he would take care of them for us. Only to find one of Jen’s ladles broken on the “reject shelf” just a few minutes later. Thankfully there was a note… we knew they were fragile… and I tried my darnedest to fix it for her. We’ll just have to see if it “survives” another trip to the kiln.

I get it. We all do… and I know the kiln loader is putting in hundreds of fragile pieces! It was just bad timing as we had just offered to put them in ourselves… so if it were going to break, it would have been Jen breaking her own piece… instead of the monitor!

Categories: classes, pottery, soda-fired

After the “eventful” firing day Saturday…
and a full cooling day yesterday, it was time to come back and unload the soda kiln with my workshop participants. I stopped in on Sunday to help speed-along the cooling process, as well as early Monday morning pulling a few bricks off the top row.

When the class showed up, we started taking off the kiln door brick. It’s always fun to see the “treasures” inside kind of reveal themselves layer by layer!

Eventually the entire door was off… and they could all see their newly soda-fired pots!!!

We unloaded the kiln, took all of their pots into the classroom while we cleaned the kiln, scraped the shelves and re-kiln washed the shelves. Once all of the busy-work was done, we could enjoy our potluck… and admire our new pots!!!

Cassie’s pots…

Kate’s pots…

Martin’s pots…

Christi’s pots…

Dan’s pots…

Charles’ pots…

Jacob’s pots…

And a couple of my mugs… as a little kiln filler along the way!

All in all, a great firing. Even with the crazy firing “issues’ we had, the work still came out nice. Good amount of soda, lots of flashing, nothing too crazy!!!

I think all-in-all, everyone had a great time in the Soda Workshop. I know three days are not really enough time to “learn” everything about soda-firing… but it was at least a good primer for them. Kind of a quick glance to see if they “like” soda-firing or not… before the addiction truly begins!

Categories: classes, kiln firing, pottery, soda-fired

Tonight was the kick-off of my 3-Night Soda-Firing Workshop at Lillstreet Art Center. I’ve been firing the soda kiln for awhile now, and it’s always fun to share some of that knowledge with my students. The first thing I always stress is that soda-firing is very random based on the air flow of the flames & where the soda mixture lands. So we can “try our best” to plan for want we want… but no guarantees!!!

We started with a discussion & overview of soda-firing… then quickly moved onto glazing & wading our pieces. It was great to have some of my current & past student sin the workshop, as well as a couple “newbies” to Lillstreet. The group bonded quickly and were very helpful – working as a team to get everything glazed & wadded.

Once we were all glazed & wadded, we started to load the soda kiln. Always an interactive project with all students taking time to understand the process, the placement and the hopeful results of how location in the kiln might affect their final fired results. And then the loading began…

We discussed air flow, and how it will affect their pieces. The importance of putting different clay bodies in different areas of the kiln as each kind has a different finished effect. Luckily, we had just the right amount of work to put into the kiln… with just a few of my own pots to help fill-in here & there!

Once fully loaded, we added in the cone packs and then started closing up the brick door. Brick-by-brick. layer-by-layer…

When the door was finally bricked & closed… we called it for the night. For tomorrow I will fire the kiln, with students coming back in the evening to help add the soda mixture into the kiln.