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

I’ve been toying with some new pieces in my studio. We’ve talked a lot about spoons around the studio over the past year since NCECA Milwaukee. I must admit that it’s been a lot of talk… and not much spoon-making. Until now.

Here’s my first batch of spoons – still needing some refinement and firing!
So far… I’m kinda digging spoon!!!

Categories: production, stamped

It was a productive day in the studio today. A large batch of tumblers thrown & stamped. Some in soda clay, some with B-Clay. All waiting to be trimmed & painted with accents of colored slip.

Categories: bowls, production

During today’s Open House at Lillstreet Art Center,
I stayed focused and threw a dozen small bowls in my studio.

Then it was time to separate them into three sets of four…
and make some design “alterations” to make each set different from the others.

The first set received a split rim with indentations both in & out to form a lotus effect.

And then a little stamped embellishment….

The second set got a hypnotizing spiral through white slip.

And then detailed with a single stamp around the rim.

The third set got a split rim, pinched together and fluted out.

Then a stamped accent at each pinch point and a small stamp tap inside.

So now the three sets are covered & wrapped in plastic overnight.
I’m hoping to get them trimmed and done tomorrow.


Categories: mugs, process, production

Today I finished up my latest batch of mugs with some colored slip accents. The slip will change colors and do some fun “flashing” effects in the soda kiln. Or at least that’s the plan… you never know for sure until it comes out of the kiln!!!

Categories: mugs, production

Today was all about finishing some mugs.
First I trimmed them all. And then wrapped them up while I made the handles.

I start with little chunks of clay gently thrown against the table to make “carrot” shapes. For some reason, I’m not sure why, I stand them up as I’m making them?! Like little soldiers waiting to go into service. Or in this case, kinda like a little Stonehenge of Handles?!!!

Then I pull each handles individually the traditional way. After I get them to the right thickness & width, I loop them over on themselves and stand them up again. This way, the curve is already set as they stiffen up a bit.

When the handles get to the right stiffness, I start attaching them to the cylinders. The tricky part with doing this many is trying to keep the handles from drying too fast and all at the same time. So I keep them under wraps and give them an occasional spray of water. Then it’s some scoring, slipping & attaching of the handles.

One after another… score… slip… attach… repeat.

Now that they are all “handled,” I’ve got them under plastic wrap for the night. That way the moisture levels can balance out a bit. Tomorrow I will do some final detailing, smoothing and add some colored slip accents before I set them out to dry.

Categories: mugs, production, stamped

Tonight I did a lot of stamping on a lot of cylinders that will become my latest batch of mugs. This batch was made with soda clay… destined for my next soda kiln firing.

So for now they’re all wrapped up for the night. Tomorrow I’ll do a lot of trimming… and hopefully add handles too!

Categories: mugs, production, stamped

My favorite thing to make… MUGS.
So when I don’t quite know what to make, my default is MUGS!!!
Can’t stop myself…

Categories: mugs, production, stamped

In addition to the stamping bowls… I also finished off another batch of porcelain mugs today.
It was a very productive day in the studio. And you know how I LOVE making mugs!!!

Categories: bowls, production, stamped

Today I did some more stamping in the studio.
This time on some smaller bowls. Cute little bowls…
that will get even cuter & even littler as they shrink in the kiln!

Bowl #1 -

Bowl #2 -

Bowl #3 -

Bowl #4 -

Bowl #5 -

Bowl #6 -

Bowl #7 -

Bowl #8 -

Bowl #9 -

Bowl #10 -

Bowl #11 -

Bowl #12 -

Bowl #13 -

So now they’re all wrapped up for the evening. Tomorrow I hope to do some cleaning up & refining of them all… and then trim the bottoms.

Categories: mugs, production

Okay, so I’ve put off my handles for a little longer than I expected.
The snowstorm last weekend made it a little tough to get into the studio. And then things got busy… luckily I had time for a spray bottle and a good layer of plastic!!! My cylinders have been stamped & trimmed… and re-hydrated… waiting for handles to be attached. So today was the day… finally.

I started by pulling all of the handles, and then letting them set up a bit.
I want them to be dry enough that the stickiness is gone, but they’re still pliable enough to shape. With this many handles, it’s always a “race” to get them on before they dry too much!!!

And then when they’re ready… it’s a time to score, clip, attach & repeat.
Soon enough this most recent batch of mugs was done – handles in place!

I keep my mugs with fresh handles covered with plastic overnight. My theory is that the moisture in the clay can balance out a bit. I want the cylinder and the handle to even out a bit overnight. Then when I unwrap them the next day, they can dry more evenly.