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

Last night was my favorite demo of every session. The night we discuss making “bowls on purpose” instead of a cylinder gone bad. So I start with a simple demo of the basic bowl and how to use a rib inside to shape & refine. My students then go back to their wheels to practice while I throw a bunch of very similar basic bowls. Once I have a “full bag of clay”s worth of bowls, I call them all back for part two of the evening’s demo.

The second part is where we talk about making some creative alterations to their bowls. To add some design & interest. To play with their clay – and not be satisfied with that plain old round bowl that the wheel pretty much made for you. Instead, we talked about some simple tricks and introduced the use of colored slips for even more decoration. And how to “commit” to the process, have fun and don’t think of the clay as being “too precious” to try new things. It’s just clay. Here are my demo pieces…

Bowl #1 – A simple bowl… made more fun with two simple pinched flutes.

Bowl #2 – Fluted in eight places… a simple two-finger flip & twist.

Bowl #3 – Flared flange rim.

Bowl #4 – Flared flange with four fluted edges.

Bowl #5 – Simple concentric bands pressed in to give the glaze a place to puddle & pool… using the rounded end of my wooden knife.

Bowl #6 – Wide flange flared out.

Bowl #7 – Patterned texture created with the edge of a rounded rib… pressed in all the way around. Then a small concentric circle in the middle to “hide” the random points created during the texturing.

Bowl #8 – Simple flower texture impressed with a dragon scale tool.

Bowl #9 – Split rim pinched back together in eight places.

 Bowl #10 – Split rim fluted outwards in four corners, and then gently curved further outwards in between the fluted points.

 Bowl #11 – Split rim fluted both inwards & outwards.

 Bowl #12 – Thick white slip with a simple spiral dragged through while spinning on the wheel.

Bowl #13 – Thick white slip covering the interior. The banded lines & squiggles using a thin wooden tool with a rounded end.

Bowl #14 – Thick white slip covering the interior. And then a repetitive “chattering” with a plastic rib. Tapping through the white slip as the bowl is rotating on the wheel. Start in the center and work your way out towards the rim.

Bowl #15 – Several layers of thick white slip, then a finger squiggle through the slip while rotating on the wheel.

Bowl #16 – White slip painted over a “newspaper” stencil letter. Wet the newspaper stencil, carefully press it onto the bowl, paint the edges with slip and then cover the whole surface. Let sit for a few minutes and then carefully pull out the newspaper stencil.

Bowl #17 – White slip & blue slip in a blended ombre effect.


Categories: holiday, production, terra cotta

The hats are made, but still need to be painted, glazed & fired
before their “Ghoulish” debut this Saturday at ART IN THE BARN…
and that’s just the half of it.

Wish I could “cast a spell” to get them done faster…
yeah, them AND the other half I’m still making too!!!

Oh yeah, and did I mention that’s it’s a “Limited Edition” of forty?!
That means I still have a LOT of painting & glazing to do!!!

Categories: glaze, mugs, process, production, studio

As my latest bisque kiln continues to cool…
I thought I would get a start on all of the glazing that I need to get done!
And why not start with my favorite?… MUGS!!! Okay, so there’s a few.

Categories: kiln firing, production

So I’m getting ready for another soda kiln firing next weekend. And this is my last bisque kiln before then. It may not by my tightest packed kiln ever, but I was pleased to get everything in… without too many open spaces. Cause you know how that kills me!

Kiln Layer #1 – wall pocket vases & mugs.

Kiln Layer #2 – large stamped platter, miniature vases and tiles.

Kiln Layer #3 – large stamped platter #2 and more tiles.

Kiln Layer #4 – ovals, teapots and urns.

Kiln Layer #5 – a few more ovals on a half shelf… and on top of other pots!


Categories: process, production

Okay, so I went with off-the-side!!!
Handles have been attached and colored slip accents have been added.
Now they’re drying on an elevated plastic grid to help speed up the drying process evenly. I’m running a little late… these will “hopefully” go into my bisque kiln later tonight? Very late tonight after I teach my pottery class, then a slow pre-heat overnight!!!

Categories: process, production

My latest trio of teapots is one step closer. Still under wraps to keep them workable.
They now have their lids & spouts… just waiting for their handles!!!
Over-the-top  – or – off-the-side???

Categories: production, tiles

Whew… just finished assembling & gluing all of the tiles in place…
800 all together!!!

Another fun collaboration project with Cory McCrory done… and drying!
Remember, the “Big Reveal” is this weekend at ART IN THE GARDEN in Glenview!!!
A fun group of Talented Friends hanging out in Amy Taylor’s backyard garden!!!

For more information & full show details, click here to follow us on Facebook.

But for now, they’re sitting on top of my dining room table drying.
All ready to travel to Glenview tomorrow morning for the “Big Reveal.”

And after seeing this… maybe I need consider tiling my dining room table for real?!

Categories: process, production, tiles

Still gluing. Only eight more collaboration pieces to go!!!
Ahhhh…. FUMES!!!

Categories: kiln firing, production, tiles

With an art fair next weekend, and a collaboration project in the works, I’ve really got to get these tiles bisqued. And I might as well fill the whole kiln with a “few” other things too, right?

Bisque Kiln Layer #1 – mugs, mugs and more mugs!!!

Bisque Kiln Layer #2 – assorted bowls, spoon rests, soap dishes and some tiles.

Bisque Kiln Layer #3 – mugs, soap dispensers, a teapot, and two large platters.

Bisque Kiln Layer #4 – more mugs, tumblers and a lot of tiles.

And here’s the BULK of my textured tiles for the collaboration pieces I’m doing with Cory McCrory. Packed tight, piled high with a bit of air space between the rows. Fingers crossed that the heat makes it into that dense pack of tiles okay?


Categories: porcelain, production, stamped

I love when you can throw some pieces in the morning,
stamp them AND trim them all in one day!