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

Always feels a little weird to take black slip & paint it on pristine white porcelain…
that is “cherished” as perfectly clean WHITE clay. Now with some black splattered on it.

Categories: porcelain, production, wheelthrowing

Playing with porcelain again. Pretty in white… with some sgraffito plans in the making…

Categories: process, production

Lots of pots later… and almost all of the kiln shelves… the kiln was full. I tried my best to squeeze in as many pots as I could all the way to the top! It’s like a game of TETRIS with pots & shelves. Gotta stack ‘em right. Tight… but not too tight. Next to brick up the door, do a little preheat to dry things out and then home for a quick “nap”… for kiln firing started early this morning!

Categories: glaze, process, production

Okay, so the first side of my studio cart is glazed, wadded & loaded.
Time to turn around the cart and start filling the other side with work.
I’ve found that a “full cart” pretty much equals a full soda kiln.
Give or take a few pieces that I might need to glaze as I load?!

Categories: glaze, process, production, soda-fired

Starting off the day by gluing my wads onto the bottoms of the pieces I glazed yesterday… getting them ready for the soda kiln… as well as making room on my work table to glaze the rest of my bisque today!