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

After two recent art fairs, it’s time to start up the process again. I’d love to start throwing… but first things first. A little housekeeping with a pile of goopy & gooey reclaimed clay setting up on my plaster bat. A couple days there, a lot of wedging and soon enough I’ll have a LOT of free clay to play with again!!!

Categories: process, production, soda-fired, stamped

So flasks seem to be all the rage these days?!
So many potters are tackling this trendy topic.
o I decided I needed to jump into the pond… afterall, all the cool kids are doin’ it.

I started by throwing bottomless cylinders… trying to keep them pretty thin so the flasks won’t weigh too much. When the stickiness had dried off of them, I stamped them and then squished them into tight ovals. I always find it interesting to see how so many cylinders that take up so much table space can be “squished” down onto one board in such a short amount of time.

I then made slab tops that domed over the tops.
Score & slip… score & slip… scratch & attach… repeat… repeat… repeat…
And then I attached some thrown spouts to finish them off.

When they were all assembled, I added some colored flashing slips to the tops and small details in the stamped textures. These “colors” will be a LOT more apparent & colorful after the soda firing.

After bisque and soda firing…. we now have finished flasks with some rubber stoppers to close them up. So for now they’re price, packed and ready for their BIG debit tomorrow at the Hinsdale Fine Arts Festival.





Categories: process, production, terra cotta

Quick production… fast turn-around… trimming and trying to get them done quick!!!
These flower pots need to get in a kiln quick so they’re ready to go to the
Schaumburg Prairie Arts Festival this coming weekend!!!


Categories: process, production, terra cotta

Just trying to squeeze in one last batch of work. Terra cotta flower pots that I “hope” will be done in time for the Schaumburg Prairie Arts Festival next weekend. Plenty of time… ha!!!

Categories: art fair, process

The kick-off of my art fair season is SO quickly approaching…
and of course I’m “racing” to get my show postcards in the mail. I’ve been sending out small batches out over the past few days… and I REALLY Need to get the rest mailed out soon!!!

And for those of you who might not be on the active mail list…




Categories: kiln firing, process

So I’m rushing towards my next soda kiln. Lots of new pots in the studio. Some of them not quite dry yet… but I’ve got to get them bisqued tonight or they won’t make it into the soda kiln!!! So it may not be my best & tightest kiln loading ever… but luckily my soda students had some greenware that helped fill my kiln. So we shared some kiln space… and loaded carefully so as not to stack or nest any pots that were still damp. No explosions here!!!

Layer #1 – flower pots, mugs and some student mugs & cylinders.

Layer #2 – bowls, mugs, flower pot water dishes… and some student plates.

Layer #3 – stamped vases, bowls, mugs… and more student work!

Layer #4 – half a layer with a couple more bowls, and just a “few” stacked & tumbled to fit.

Categories: process, production, stamped

Finishing up some flower pots for some quick-drying & bisque firing. Stoneware with ochre and some colored flashing slips for my soda firing next weekend… and drip trays to boot.

Hoping to have them all ready for the Schaumburg Prairie Arts Festival in two weeks!

Categories: bowls, classes, process

Just some quick photos from one of tonight’s bowl demos for my Simply Soda class.
I coated the bowl with wax before carving the leaf pattern… and let it dry for a few minutes.
Then I painted the exterior and filled-in the grooves with colored slip…

After it set-up for a few minutes, I wiped the excess off the wax layer.
Thus filling in only the carved grooves for a colorful slip inlay.




Categories: clay, mugs, process, production, studio

Like a bull in a china shop… quite literally. One false move and I just took out one of the new mugs. Note to self: dried greenware is VERY fragile! A great reminder. Luckily, that “set” had five… so now we’re down to four matching mugs!

Categories: mugs, process, production

Another batch of cylinders are trimmed and ready to become mugs! Yep, the “quadrant-ed” ones!!! So I start by cutting small blocks of clay, and then begin my slamming them down and rotating until I get this compressed “carrot” shape. One for each mug…. and usually one extra “just in case” something happens along the way!

Then I pull my handles the traditional way. Holding the “carrot” in my left hand and pulling it long with a bit of water and friction. Eventually you’ll get a strap of clay – a portion of which will become the handle. I like to flip mine over into a loop so they can set-up close to the shape they will become.

After a good amount of scoring & slipping, handles are attached and we now have MUGS!!!
I like to keep my mugs covered with plastic overnight so the moisture levels between cylinder & handle can balance out a bit. No need to rush them to drying after all of the work you’ve put into them already… what’s one more night if it helps keep your handles from cracking off?

So now they’re all “assembled”… and waiting for some colored flashing slip accents!