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

While it was storming outside, I was being quite productive inside!
Trimmed, slipped & starting to dry.

Categories: mugs, process, production

Tonight I worked in the spotlight. And not in a good way.
Once again, the fluorescent lighting in my studio is on the fritz. They’ve changed the bulbs, but now apparently it’s the ballast that needs to be fixed?! So I’ve been working in the dark now for about a week… waiting to see the light!!!]

Until then, I’m working in the warm “glow” from my task lighting mixed with a bit of annoying flicker from the fluorescent lighting. Fun, huh?!

Last night I trimmed my cylinders, so tonight it was time for handles!!! I start by making these little “carrot-shaped” pieces of clay. One for each handle. One for each mug… and usually, at least one extra in case I goof up somewhere along the way.

Then I pick them up from the fat end and start “pulling handles” the traditional way. Wet hand sliding down the “carrot” with a bit of friction to help “massage & stretch” the clay into a strappy handle. Then I loop them over and stand them up on themselves. so they can stiffen up a bit with the curved-handle-shape already started.

Loved the shadows being thrown through the handle loops from my “moonlight” task lighting.

Once they’ve stiffened up, I start to attach them to the cylinders. Cutting out the section of the strappy handle that I want, bending it a bit more to fit the mug and then attaching. Score, slip, attach, repeat. Score, slip, attach, repeat…. repeat… still in the yellow “moonlight” glow…

Eventually I had them all done…. a couple dozen new mugs ready to be wrapped up for the night. When I come back, I’ll do a few minor touch-ups, add some soda colored slips and then let them start drying.

Categories: process, production

When I got home from the studio tonight, I added one last layer of stain to the boards that will host our collaboration project. It’s been a long process… staining each side twice with a good amount of fumes & drying in between. My dining room table hasn’t been used this much in a long time. But now, when these are dry, I can start assembling my pieces with Cory’s pieces to see our collaboration come together.

Categories: mugs, process, production

I stopped into the studio tonight to do some trimming. These cylinders are now ready for handles to be added… maybe tomorrow night?

Categories: process, production

My glazed tiles are still cooling in the kiln, so tonight I decided to start prepping the boards that will be the base for the collaboration project that Cory and I are working on. So tonight it was cutting, sanding & staining… well, at least staining one side. I’ll stain the other side once “side one” dries.”

Categories: art fair, glaze, production

Spent the night in the studio glazing one last kiln load.
Just under the wire.

More new work coming out of the kiln
just in time for this weekend in Hinsdale!!!

Categories: production, terra cotta, textures

With the Schaumburg Prairie Arts Festival drawing close, I’m in the final stretch and trying to squeeze in as much as I can. And at this point in the game, you gotta love low-fire terra cotta projects that can be fired once in an electric kiln. So it’s down to the wire… make, make, make… trying to make as many as I can, and get them dried in time to get them safely into the kiln… and back out in time for the art fair next weekend. The sides are set for this batch, next up… bottoms & rims! Then onto another batch!!!

Categories: kiln firing, process, production

After a few long days of glazing & wadding, I was finally ready to load the kiln.
An empty kiln has such potential…

I always start in the back with a single stack of shelves. These will get hit with a bit less soda than the front, so I plan ahead and use different clay bodies for this area. Porcelain & B-Clay “blush” really well back here without getting “blasted” by the soda. As well as pieces that have a git more glaze, or I’m hoping for a more subtle effect.

The middle & front stack of shelves get built at the same time. It’s always a puzzle putting it together. Trying to fit in as much as you can while leaving a bit of airspace for the soda to travel through. As you’ve seen… I LOVE to pack a kiln. And I LOVE kiln filler. So it all comes together in this final glaze firing… as I pack it tight and try my best to cover every possible space of kiln shelf!!!

Once loaded and the cone packs are in place, it’s time to start bricking it up… one brick at a time!

All closed up. A very short preheat while I tidy up & gather my things.
And then it’s off for the night – waiting for an early start tomorrow morning.

Categories: glaze, process, production

Today I glazed… a lot of temoku.
Today I wadded… a lot of glue.
Today I repeated… and repeated… and repeated… until the cart was full.

Once my studio cart was full, I was ready to roll it downstairs using the rickety freight elevator. I always use a few strips of masking tape as “safety belts” to keep pieces from jumping off the cart during the trip!

Categories: glaze, production, tiles

Just as I thought I might be getting somewhere with my glazing…
I unloaded another kiln and now have a LOT more bisque to keep working on!!!
SO it almost seems like I have more bisque NOW than before I started?! Two steps back…

And not only will the tiles get glazed… but they also need a little ball of wadding glued on the bottom of every single one of them!!! Ah yes, the glamorous side of soda firing…