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

Early studio morning wedging & pulling handles…
making up another batch of mugs!!! For tomorrow we race again…

Categories: classes, mugs, pottery, process, production, stamped

For the end of this summer session, my Tuesday night pottery students have been challenged to make two matching mugs to trade on our last night of class. Of course, I’ve got to make mine too… so I threw the cylinders in class showing them how to make “matching” pieces… and then I did a bit of stamping and now adding handles! I’m making two sets… just in case something goes “wrong” along the way!!! Just hedging my bets….

Categories: bowls, classes, process, production, wheelthrowing

This week in my Tuesday night Wheelthrowing pottery class, we tackled making “bowls on purpose instead of a cylinder gone bad.” I like to show them how to make a real” bowl with intenti0n, instead of letting a cylinder get away from them and being okay with the “bowl-ish” shape they end up with. So for the demo, I show them how to throw a nice bowl with a beautifully even curve on the interior. No grooves. No indentations. No beginner’s ledge.

Once we cover that first how-to-bowl… then I throw a bunch more while they go back to their wheels to make some bowls… on purpose. After I’ve thrown all of my demo bowls, we reconvene at my wheel to do some quick altering & decorating. My goal is always to show them how to have fun with their clay, to get over the “preciousness” and to encourage them to do something extra to make it “their” bowl instead of just a round bowl that the wheel kind of made for them!!! This is my favorite demo every session!

Bowl #1 – Two simple fluted edges opposite each other.

Bowl #2 – And if two flutes are good, eight might be better?!

Bowl #3 – A wide flanged rim flared out.

Bowl #4 – That same flanged rim flared out and then fluted in four places.

Bowl #5 – A simple “flower” accent pressed into the bottom of a bowl using a metal dragonscale tool.

Bowl #6 – A split rim pinched back together in eight places.

Bowl #7 – Another split rim, this time pinched & flared out in flour places, and inwards in another four places.

Bowl #8 – Sticking with the split rim fun, but this time doing a “scalloped” edge efect.

And then it was time to introduce colored slip as a design option.
I pretty much stuck to white slip as it has a nice contrast to the darker stoneware I was using.

Bowl #9 – a thick layer of white slip with a spiral dragged through it as the wheel was spinning.

Bowl #10 – Think white slip later with some simple banded accents through the slip.

Bowl #11 – A layer of white slip, with one dramatic brush stroke accents swoop!!!

Bowl #12 – A thick layer of slip squiggled through with a finger… like finger painting!!!

Bowl #13 – Another layer of thick white slip, then chattered through with a rubber rib… tapping up & down from the center outwards as the wheel is spinning.

Bowl #14 – A very simple spiral of white slip made with a slip trailing squeeze bottle.

Bowl #15 – A layer of thick white slip with banding and vertical stripes dragged through.

Bowl #16 – Thick white slip with vertical drag stripes, and then a thick grooved spiral in the center.

Bowl #17 – Getting a little ” crazy” with slip, we added some black slip for an ombre gradation effect, an then a spiral dragged through it.

And for now they’re all under plastic in my studio… waiting for a little more detailing…
and who knows?… “maybe” a little stamping here & there???

 

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Categories: mugs, porcelain, process, production, stamped

There’s been so much going on these days, that it was tough to find time to finish these mugs! Spray. Re-cover. Repeat. I was so happy that I finally found time last night to get them done. Score. Slip. Attach. Repeat.

My handles start out with a wedged “carrot” of clay. I then pull them the traditional way… with a bit of water and lot of friction!

When I have the handles pulled to my desired width & thickness…
I like to flip them into a loop, stand them up to let them stiffen up
with the curve already established.

So for now they’re drying slowly under plastic. I’ll do a last-minute cleaning & smoothing of the attachments today when I take off the plastic.

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Categories: patterns, porcelain, process, production, stamped, stamps, textures

Working on another set of porcelain mugs… stamping patterns & textures into them.
So here’s the before & after shots, as well as the stamps that did all of the magic!

Mug One -

Mug Two -

Mug Three -

Mug Four -

Mug Five -

Mug Six -

Mug Seven -

Mug Eight -

Mug Nine -

Mug Ten -

Mug Eleven -

Mug Twelve -

Mug Thirteen -

Mug Fourteen -

Mug Fifteen -

Mug Sixteen -

Mug Seventeen -

Mug Eighteen -

Mug Nineteen -

Mug Twenty -

Mug Twenty-One -

So for now they’re all wrapped up under plastic… waiting at least another night until they stiffen up enough for me to start trimming the bottoms. Once trimmed, they will all start getting handles to become mugs!

 

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Categories: mugs, porcelain, process, production, wheelthrowing

Feeling a little uninspired this afternoon… so it’s back to my favorites
MAKING MORE MUGS!!!

Playing with porcelain and throwing another batch of cylinders
that will soon be stamped, trimmed, handled and MUG-ified!!!

Categories: clay, porcelain, process, studio

Just pulling out another batch of reclaimed clay. This time it’s a huge batch of slaked-down porcelain that I turned out onto my large plaster bat. All scraps from another potter friend who doesn’t like to reclaim clay. But I sure do!!! It’s going to take a few days before it sets-up enough that I can start wedging it. A lot of work & waiting… but then again, you know how much I LOVE FREE CLAY!!!

Categories: process, stamped, summer camp

Today was the third day of my Wheelthrowing Summer Camp…
and the kids trimmed their pots, decorated, added handles, slip-painted…
and “allegedly” may have done a tiny bit of stamping for fun textures!

Categories: porcelain, process, production, sgraffito

White porcelain pieces now with black slip banding… just waiting for them to set-up
to leatherhard for trimming & some sgraffito carving through the black slipped areas.

Categories: clay, process, studio

After weeks of slaking down, my stoneware scraps reclaim bucket was finally ready
to turn out onto my large plaster bat. You know how much I love FREE CLAY!!!
Can’t wait for this pile to set-up a bit, and then let the wedging begin!!!