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

The second batch of mugs I’m working on is made out of reclaim clay. I’m thinking that they will still go into the soda kiln, but will look smoother & more evenly finished after the firing. Last night I threw the cylinders… tonight I did the stamping!!!

Categories: mugs, process, production, stamped

Tonight I made handles for the first set of mugs I’ve been working on. This set is made of soda clay. I’m trying to make enough work to fill my next soda kiln. So I’ve still got a couple weeks to make more work. But it’s summer… and I want to play outside!!! Needless to say, I’m “trying” to stay productive… and finishing off another set of mugs.

I start by making “carrot” shaped wedges of clay. Slammed on the table to compress, and cut to the right size. I pick them up by the fat end to pull the handles the traditional way.

As each handle is pulled, I do a quick little flip-over to make the rounded shape of the handles. I set them up so they can stiffen up to a “usable wetness.” By setting them up with a curve already established, you don’t need to bend them as much later.

Then the attachment process begins… one mug at a time. Score, slip, attach, repeat. Again.. and again… Once they are all attached, I give them a quick spray of water and keep them wrapped up overnight. That way I feel the moisture levels balance out a bit so the handles are less likely to pop off later.

Next up?... some colored slip accents with flashing slips for the soda kiln.

Categories: mugs, process, production

When in doubt of what to make… MAKE MUGS!!!

So I threw twenty new cylinders… wrapped up for the night for tomorrow we start stamping!

Categories: mugs, production, stamped

I spent a lot of my Saturday stamping… including a new batch of cylinders that are well on their way to becoming mugs. My favorite thing to make!!!

Categories: lillstreet, production, stamped

Tonight I trimmed the bottoms of the tumblers.

And then added a little colored slip decoration…
accents in the stamps and around the top rim of each tumbler!

So here’s the deal…
Want one of these tumblers?!… You’ve got to go to a party!!!
Yes, I’m donating some of these tumblers for the Lillstreet Art Bash.
And the only way to get one of them is to be a VIP. So call Lillstreet or check it out online.
Tell them you’re a VIP and that you want one of my tumblers!!!

Or, even better… oh, but wait there’s more… click here to purchase your tickets online.
My tumblers will be in some of the VIP Swag Bags so you can drink your signature cocktail from one of my signature tumblers on the exclusive rooftop of Lillstreet Art Center!!!

Categories: production, stamped

Tonight I stamped the tumblers I threw last night. They were still a little stickier than I would like, so I let them set out for about a half hour to stiffen them up a little.

But I knew some people would like to see more of the stamped tumblers… so here they are…

Categories: production

Getting started with some fresh balls of clay. I’ve got a special project to work on… a “request” for several small tumblers for an upcoming special event. The event is towards the end of September, so I’ve got some time.

Several balls of clay… several small tumblers.

By the end of the night they were stiff enough that I could remove them from the plastic bats… and put them on my white plastic wareboards. As you know, shelf & table space is a premium in my small little studio!

Categories: bowls, process, production, stamped, textures

Tonight I did a little stamping & detailing of my class demo bowls from Tuesday night.
“Not so basic” just got a little more textured!!!

Categories: bowls, classes, process, production

Last night in my Beginning Wheelthrowing class we worked on bowls.
Basic bowls thrown the right way and on purpose… NOT a cylinder gone bad.
So we did a demo of the basic bowl with a nice round interior using my green plastic rib.

Bowl #1 – Plain

After this first bowl, my students went back to their wheels to keep working. As they were making pots, I continued to throw more bowls. After I had made 15 more bowls, we reconvened by my demo wheel. I then showed them some quick ways to “decorate” their basic bowls to make them “not so basic” anymore!!! We talked about playing with your clay, taking a chance, committing to your alterations and making the bowl “yours.” Just because the wheel makes round pots doesn’t mean that they need to stay that way!!!

Bowl #2 – Two Twisted Flutes.

Bowl #3 – Eight Twisted Flutes.

Bowl #4 – Thin Flange bent outwards.

Bowl #5- Wide Flange bent outwards.

Bowl #6 – Flange and Twisted Fluting.

Bowl #7 – Split Rim with Pinches.

Bowl #8 – Split Rim and Fluted In & Out

Bowl #9 – Split Rim in a Lotus Flower Style

Bowl #10 – Plain with a Flower Pressed in the bottom with a simple dragonscale tool.

Then we started working more with colored slip. For the demo I used thick white slip and thin blue mazzerine. Now looking at the photos, I probably should have used a darker slip to show more contrast to the lightness of the B-Clay. Oh well… next time!!

Bowl #11 – White Slip Spiral using the rounded end of my wooden knife.

Bowl #12 – White Slip Squiggles with my finger tip.

Bowl #13 – White Slip Banding & Squiggles

Bowl #14 – Blended Gradation Ombre with Chattering Texture

Bowl #15 – Wide Flange with some Mazzerine Squiggles.

Bowl #16 – Mazzerine Slip with a couple Newspaper Letter Stencils.

So now they are all in my studio under wraps. Covered with plastic so they can dry a bit slowly. I’m hoping that maybe tomorrow night they will be ready for some stamping, detailing & accenting. If so… most like more photos will follow!


Categories: pottery, production, stamped

Last night’s class demo was assembling a teapot. We threw the parts last week…
the body “cylinder”, the small bowl for a lid,  a pulled handle and a spout thrown off the hump.
Showing my Beginners how they already know how to make all of the parts.
Now they just need the confidence to “put it all together.”