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

It was a big night of glazing last night. A lot of bisqued pots needing to be glazed for this weekend’s soda kiln firing. I start by adding some tenmoku glaze accents as inlays in the stamped patterns. When it dries, I carefully wipe off the top surface to keep the glaze only in the stamped recesses. Lots of glazing… lots of wiping. And that’s just for starters!

Categories: process

And I especially LOVE trimming when you get that one ideal trimming ribbon
that just coils up perfectly. You know the one!

Categories: process, production
Categories: pottery, process, production, stamped, teapot

For the final challenge of my LILLSTREET THROWDOWN class, my students were tasked with making a teapot with matching cups & saucers. They have also learned that I love a good challenge… so I’m now making the same.

But you know I can’t make just ONE… so I’m doing FIVE!!!
All assembled and freshly slip painted with colored flashing slips for the soda kiln.

TEAPOT SET A

TEAPOT SET B

TEAPOT SET C

TEAPOT SET D

TEAPOT SET E

Categories: classes, lillstreet, process, production, stamped, teapot

So we’re now in the final week of classes for this session. Which means my LILLSTREET THROWDOWN students are working frantically on their final challenge… okay, maybe a “double” challenge?! A week and a half ago in class they got the assignment of a teapot for the last class. So they all started out making their best renditions… although several of them had never made a teapot before!

Then last week in class I surprised them with one last twist of a challenge. Now that they have a teapot started… now they need to make two cups & saucers to go along with that teapot! All to be “finished” greenware by this Thursday’s last class. SURPRISE!!!

And of course, I too was challenged to make a teapot along with them… so I am! You know I love a good challenge. So I’m working on my teapots…. yes, plural… you know I can’t do just ONE of anything!!!

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Categories: mugs, process, production, stamped

Attaching handles to freshly stamped mugs.
I always attach the top first, and then “play with” the bottom attachment
to get the size & proportion right… like this one that’s still a bit too big!

Categories: mugs, process, production

Mugs in the making… freshly pulled handles soon to be attached!

Categories: patterns, process, production, stamped

Stamped, trimmed and now painting a layer of colored slip accents on these cuties…
little flower pots for my Spring art fairs!

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Categories: process

One of my favorite parts of the process… easily in the Top Three!

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Categories: patterns, porcelain, process

So after accepting the “thrownback THROWDOWN challenge” from Taylore…
and throwing my platter with a layer of black slip, it was time to start the sgraffito decoration process. Now let me just say from the git-go, that I am NOT a proficient sgraffito-ist. In fact this might be my very first intentional sgraffito project… something more than just some¬† cut-line leaf patterns. I had to do a bit more planning on this one to determine my pattern, with textures and contrasts before even starting. When I finally had a plan in my head, I could begin the process. And here we go…

I started with a pointed oval cut-out pattern and a needle tool.
A little light tracing to get me started before I put the first cut in.

It’s hard to turn back once that first cut is in place!

The second cut?… not so bad..

Loving my new carving tools from DiamondCore Tools.
Great quality blades giving me nice smooth lines! They glide right through the clay!

I must admit that once you get going it gets kind of addictive! A little here. A little there.
Some texture here… some “shaded” areas with half of the slip carved away.
I like the color variation and the texture working together.

After awhile my pattern started to come together.
Kind of an organic leaf pattern with a bit of a stylized Art Deco twist.

So lucky to have this great collection of carving tools. Each blade is a different shape for a different cut mark. Each of them extra sharp thanks to DiamondCore Tools. The sharper the blade, the smoother the cut. So fun to finally put them to a real use… as they were probably intended!!!

But I will admit that it was tough to use them all… as I have definitely found my favorite!!!
It’s the V-tip Pencil Carverthe yellow one! I love the sharp beveled edge V-cut it makes into the clay. A bit of width to the cut with a crisp bottom line inside.

Part way through I switched to the Square-tip Relief Carver to do a little relief carving apparently, who knew?... but more to just take out wider areas of the black slip. Trying to create a cleaner white area with a bit of a deeper, smoother cut. And some extra color contrast happening on my platter.

After awhile feverishly working away in the studio, I ended up with this… for now.
And I’m pretty darn pleased with myself. Not bad for a first attempt…
might be onto something here?!

Although I’m still not 100% confident that I’m done carving?!
I think one of the hardest parts to this is actually knowing when to call it done.
You could carve away forever… and end up with a plain white plate!!!

So we’ll see… the “Sgraffito Surprise Challenge” continues tonight in my LILLSTREET THROWDOWN class. Each of my students should be bringing in their complete platters too. I can’t wait to see them all done. I’ve seen a few along the way, a few sneak peeks here & there, but I can’t wait to see them all. Until then, I think I might have an hour or so before class to consider adding a bit more… because you know my theory… More Is More!

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