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

And now they’re even starting to look a bit like ornaments… as I just did some stamping & trimmed off of the “stump.” Next I need to handbuild caps & rings to hang them from!!!

Categories: clay, porcelain, process, studio

Another pile of slop! This time it’s a creamy blend of porcelain reclaim sitting on my plaster bat. Should be ready to wedge in a day or so… and then it’s FREE CLAY ready to go!!!


Categories: bowls, process, production, tools

Berry bowls here we come!!!
And who doesn’t want to play with power tools in the studio? The quicker & cleaner way to drill holes in bowls is with an actual power drill. Go figure!

So I start by marking where the holes will go with my MKM Decorating Disks. They help even space out the holes so you know where to drill. Then you just let it rip!!!

The clay will fly up and leave behind some burrs which are easy to brush off after they dry a bit. A couple minutes and a stiff paintbrush… and maybe a bit of smoothing.

With a little brushing & smoothing, your berry bowls will be done in no time! So much faster & easier than cutting them out by hand. So much so… that this power drill tip was actually featured in Ceramics Monthly!!! Click here to see the article!




Categories: bowls, process, production, stamped

Time to do a bit of refinement on the bottoms of these bowls…
trimming a clean foortring setting the stage for some holes soon to come!

Categories: process, tools

So while those freshly-thrown bowls are stiffening up a bit, I thought I’d do a little carving on one of the bowls from my class bowl demo. So with some banded areas of green slip on B-Clay that has dried to leatherhard, I set out with my Zebra Tool from Diamond Core Tools.

This one is my favorite… it’s the #P1 V-Tip Pencil Carver.
Nice sharp blades give clean lines and a beautiful v-shaped incision cut.

Okay, so I’m kinda regretting carving in the center. I think I liked it a lot better before I messed it up?!

Categories: mugs, process, production, stamped

Adding handles. Making mugs… one of a kind one at a time!
A quick baker’s dozen… plus one!

Can’t think of a clever phrase for fourteen of something. Can you?


Categories: classes, process

So we started our Great Lillstreet Throwdown class last night with a bit of inspiration…

Which revealed the chosen challenge for the evening… CHIP & DIP BOWLS!!!
And then I did a demo for my students… none of whom have ever made one before.
Perfect choice. Perfect challenge!!!

So I threw a sample one for them… discussing some of the factors & parameters to watch out for. Proportion, design, consistency, even wall thickness and making it look “as finished as possible” since this is basically a THROWING challenge, and not a finishing challenge!

And then I gave them 30 minutes to throw their own version of a chip & dip bowl
using six pounds of clay! On your mark, get set, GO!!!

And then with about eight minutes left, “Ry-Ry Joshblue” asked if they were allowed to use colored slip… of course I said YES< whatever it takes to make your chip & dip bowl look more “finished.”

Meanwhile, everyone else was still trying to finish up their chip & dips!!!

At the end of the thirty minutes, we had some pretty amazing results!!!
Keep in mind, my students had never throw a chip & dip before. Ever… until now!
And look at their amazing results!

And oh, but wait there’s more… none of my students brought some AMAZING COOKIES!!!
Yummy homemade chocolate chip cookies by “Clay Eagerman.”

Remember, my students now all have their “superhero” pseudonyms…
scroll back a few posts here on the blog to find all of their pictures and new names!!!
And then remember to VOTE for who you think is going to win The Great Lillstreet Throwdown as they’re earning points for every challenge & project along the way!

Cookies were so good… that we even had a little “Lady & The Tramp” moment over the chocolate chip cookies. Best part?… these two cuties don’t go together… each of their better-halves were right there watching this go down!!! And didn’t really care… as the cookies were THAT good!!!



Categories: clay, process, studio

My latest batch of goopey reclaim clay has finally settled up after about a week on the plaster bat. So today I pounded it up a bit with just a smidge of wedging. Full wedging will take place when I’m actually ready to use the clay. Until then it will be bagged up for storage. Storage of FREE CLAY that is!!!

But it seems to never fail, that as soon as I finish up with one batch of reclaimed clay…
it’s already time to start the next batch! So here are some dried scraps ready to go.

And I pulverize them as fine as possible with a rolling pin before putting them into my reclaim bin. Once the clay is in the bin, I add enough water to cover the clay scraps. I let it sit for a few weeks with some occasional stirring & mixing up. Eventually the clay slakes down, the water evaporates and I’m ready to pull out the reconstituted clay onto my large plaster bat… and another cycle begins…


Categories: clay, pottery, process, production, wheelthrowing

Wedged balls of clay…

So much potential in each one. Especially when starting up studio production again.
I’ve been looking at my calendar trying to schedule art fairs, summer camps, bike rides, races and more!!! And a slight wave of panic washed over me… so it’s back in the studio! Full steam ahead!!!

Categories: clay, process, studio

Sometimes reclaiming clay seems like a never-ending process. Just as soon as I empty out the “big bucket of goo” onto my large plaster bat… the big bucket gets filled up again with dried clay awaiting its turn to slake down.