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

Last night in my Beginning & Advanced Beginning Wheelthrowing class we did my FAVORITE demo of the session! I started with a class demo on how to throw a basic bowl on purpose… and NOT just a cylinder gone bad. A nice smooth curve though the bottom of the bowl… and no “beginners ledge” near the bottom! So we did the demo… made a bowl and they went back to their wheels to start making their bowls… on purpose!

While they were throwing their bowls, I continued to throw more of mine. After throwing a bunch of basic bowls, we reconvened for more demo. Where I showed them some quick decorative tricks, rim alterations and colored slip to make their bowls not-so-basic anymore!

Bowl #1 – four fluted edges

Bowl #2 – if four is good, maybe eight fluted edges is better?

Bowl #3 – flared out rim

Bowl #4 – an even wider flared out rim

Bowl #5 – combined flared rim and four fluted points

Bowl #6 – two indents… with the intention of adding a basket handle over the top from indent-to-indent.

Bowl #7 – a split-rim… pinched back together in eight places.

Bowl #8 – a split-rim with four indents to make it kind of like a quadrefoil shape

Bowl #9 – another split-rim with four INdents & four OUTdents.. giving it kind of a lotus shape!

Then we switched our focus to colored slips… again with the plan of just showing them some “quick tricks” and encouraging them to play & try more things!

Bowl #10 – a full coating of white slip inside with a paintbrush spiral

Bowl #11 – a fuill layer of white slip with a wooden tool dragged through it while the wheel was turning to reveal the darkness of the clay as a spiral.

Bowl #12 – finger-painting a squiggle through the white slip while the wheel is spinning.

Bowl #13 – rhythmic chattering with a plastic rib through the white slip while the wheel is spinning.

Bowl #14 – a full coating of white slip, the vertical lines dragged through with a rubber rib, and then the center re-applied & smoothed out with just the cutest little spiral ever!

Bowl #15 – I introduced using two colors of slip with simple banding.

Bowl #16 – and then an ombre blending, with a spiral dragged through.

So for now they’re under plastic so they don’t dry out too quickly… as there’s a “good chance” that there just “might” be a bit of stamping, texturing & embellishing of these bowls before the dry too much.

MORE IS MORE!!!… right???

Categories: clay, process, summer camp

So I keep telling the kids to keep their wet clay under plastic so that it doesn’t dry out. Spray it water if necessary… but keep the extra scraps under plastic!!! We talk a LOT about not letting their clay dry out too fast.

And THIS is why!!!
Because now they need to reclaim it themselves… making terra cotta slip out of their scraps. Because dry clay is not usable for their dinnerware sets!!! So now they need to do some manual labor… all part of the clay process. And an important lesson to learn.

So we start by having them pulverize their dried terra cotta pieces – pounding & crushing with rolling pins. For once,. it was a good thing that everyone has to be wearing masks!!!… as this can be a bit of a dusty process.

And then as they get it crushed down to small pieces & powder, we scoop it into plastic buckets.

Then we add water and they get “the privilege” of stirring forever to make it smooth! After all of this work to make something out of the clay they let dry out too much… they might re-think keeping their clay wet under plastic a bit more next time!

And if not… at least we have a LOT of really nice smooth slip now!!!

Categories: process, production, terra cotta, The Ghouls Collection

So it was a productive afternoon in the studio playing with pumpkins! Each one getting a little personality of its own… quirky little smiles, shifty eyebrows of warts or maybe even a little cowlick of vines & leaves! Next up… some fun color accents to make them pop!

Categories: process, production, terra cotta, The Ghouls Collection

Now they’re starting to look a bit more like pumpkins… but now they’re gonna need to get some personality… and maybe some warts too?!!! Would love to keep going but I’ve gotta teach class tonight… so the “pumpkinizing” will continue tomorrow!

Categories: process, production, terra cotta, wheelthrowing

Throwing some quick rounded cylinders that will “grow” into pumpkins as they move through the process! I made a few different sizes… including some smaller ones, as smaller is sometimes cuter! And who doesn’t like a “cute” pumpkin???

Categories: process, production, studio, terra cotta

Getting ready to “grow”… errr, throw… some new pumpkins in my studio today! Starting with some terra cotta… getting ready to make a fun & muddy mess today!

Categories: process, production, stamped, wheelthrowing

Thrown & stamped all in one day. I LOVE when that happens! A quick batch of spoon rests on Friday-Funday… where a LOT of the day was spent outside playing on my bike!!!

Categories: mugs, process, production, stamped

Adding a few accents of colored flashing slip to this latest batch of mugs… just trying to build enough work to fill my next soda kiln!

Categories: mugs, process, production

Spent some time tonight adding handles to finish off my newest batch of mugs! Score, slip, squish, attach, repeat… repeat… repeat! So now they’re all attached and back under plastic for the evening. Tomorrow I will add some colored slip accents for the soda kiln firing to come!

Categories: mugs, process, production

Just pulled a few more handles… making a few more MUGS!!!
Fourteen in case you’re counting?!