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

And by the time the afternoon was over, all of my class demo bowls had been trimmed and are now drying overnight. Another quick set of bowls done… for now.

Categories: bowls, process, production, tools

So while it snowed this afternoon, I was trimming…
and using my favorite Bison Trimming Tool to make the perfect spiral ribbons of clay!

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!


Categories: classes, process

For this week’s LILLSTREET THROWDOWN class,
I decided to introduce my students to one of the most under-rated & frequently forgotten tools at Lillstreet… THE EXTRUDER! So after a quick demo on how to actually assemble and use the extruder.. they were challenged to make two matching mugs with the extruder as their primary tool! A bit overwhelming when you’ve never used and extruder… and then see that there are so many options!

And then they started extruding… realizing it wasn’t quite as easy as I had made it look.. and putting all their weight behind it…

And then realizing that teaming-up and working together might be the better plan!

Once they had their parts & pieces extruded, it was time to start assembling their mugs!
Dave with a very measured & precise approach…

Whereas Donna started with one plan of assembling vertical extrusions…

But then changed her technique in mid-stream…


Categories: bowls, process, stamped, stamps, YouTube

And if you want to see how I prefer to make a SUPER bowl…
click here for a stamping process video on my YouTube Channel.
But if you want to see some teaser photos first…

Categories: mugs, porcelain, process, production, stamped

Back in the studio making my favorite thing… MORE MUGS!!!
Finally getting around to finishing up the porcelain cylinders & threw & stamped last week. So I started by trimming the stamped cylinders now that they are leatherhard. After trimming, I put them back under plastic so they don’t dry out too much.

Then I pulled handles for all of them with some more porcelain. I like to set them up with the handle-curve already established.

When the handles set-up enough to work with them, and they’re no longer squishy,
I cut out the section of the handle I want to use.
A bit of scoring & slipping for the top attachment… score both sides, slip on one.

A little smoosh.. a little smudge… and a little wiggle to get it to attach well.

After smoothing the top of the handle into the mug, I then do the same to the bottom
attachment of the handle. I like to do the top one first so I can actually “see”
the curves & proportions of the handle as I attach the bottom…
cutting, altering and changing things along the way.

A little blending… a little smoothing…
until it looks like it part of the mug, and not just slapped on the side!

Score… Slip… Attach… Smooth… Repeat…
Score… Slip… Attach… Smooth… Repeat…
Score… Slip… Attach… Smooth… Repeat…

Soon enough the batch of mugs was complete.
All cylinders stamped, trimmed and now well-handled!

Even better from the side… at least I think so…

And for now they’re under wraps for the night…
so that the moisture levels can even-out a bit before I open them up to dry!



Categories: mugs, porcelain, process, production, stamped, stamps

Stamping… leaving an impression…
or two, or three, or more in the porcelain!


Categories: mugs, porcelain, process, production, stamps
Categories: mugs, porcelain, process, production

Playing with porcelain again… making more of my favorite…

Categories: process, production, stamped

Some time during the holidays, I got a request for a large oval casserole.
Of course I didn’t have one in the size & color they wanted…
so now I’ve got to make one. And I never make just one!!!… I’m making TWO
to hedge my bets, make sure at least one of them works and to give them a choice!

So I start by throwing a bottomless cylinder. I let it set-up for a bit on the plastic bat. When it is no longer tacky& squishy, I wire it off the bat, take it off very carefully – transferring it to a larger plastic ware board. Then I carefully form it into an oval shape. When it stiffens up a bit more, I stamp the textured pattern around the top edge… and then put it back under plastic so it can rest and dry a smidge more to leatherhard.

After pulling a slab on my wedging table, it compress and let it stiffen up a bit.
Then I take the bottomless cylinder and place it on the slab so I can trace the exterior curve.
Then some scoring & slipping…

And then I flip over the bottomless cylinders, do a minor bit of trimming, and then score the bottom surfaces.

Flip them back over and place them on the slab where I’ve already scored & slipped.
I press them together firmly, but gently, to make sure the scoring & slipping connect well.
I let them set-up together overnight under plastic.

When I got back into the studio, I continued by trimming off the excess clay slab.
I use my green Sherrill MudTool to scrap off the excess, smooth the edges, and compress it all into place. I like how this one tool can trim & smooth all at once!

Any extra clay can also be trimmed off with a needle tool.

Then I carefully flip the oval over, and gently paddle the corner to confirm that the slab-to-side attachment is secure. I also like how it creates a slight beveled angle along the bottom.

And after paddling & trimming off any excess clay, I go around and gently smooth it all together with my finger tips. I always wont to make sure it looks like one cohesive piece – and not a cylinder with a slab slapped on the bottom!

Gently flip it back over… and now the oval has a bottom!!!

Next up… HANDLES!!! You know these oval casseroles will be hot and hard to get out of the oven of they don’t have handles. I start with rolled coils – all of the same length. Remember, I’m making two ovals so four coils… two handles per oval.

I take the rolled coils, press a textured roller into them, and then score & slip them into place on the ends of the oval casserole.

And there it is… an oval casserole ready to go. Well, not quite. So for now, they’re all assembled and ready to dry slowly. I like to leave them on my plastic wareboards, but with a sheet of paper between them. The paper assures that it wont’ stick to the board, as well as helping to dry the slab a bit faster as it “wicks” the moisture away. I loosely cover them with plastic so the drying a start slowly. I’ll keep them covered overnight and open them up tomorrow for a full drying session.

When they’re fully dry, they will need to be bisqued.. and then glazed.
Two more oval casseroles… hoping to make that “one” that they requested in the first place.