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

Another great piece from the LILLSTREET THROWDOWN fresh from the kiln… one of the first challenges where they had to carve away at least half of the weight of their bowl. Teresa did a wonderful job carving a simple & precise pattern… perfectly accentuated by her VERY FIRST soda-firing!!! LOVE IT!!! Sure, they may be a small S-crack in the bottom… but the bowl was going to leak in other places anyways, right?!

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Categories: friends, inspiration, mugs, soda-fired, stamped

HAPPY MUGSHOT MONDAY… with another fun surprise
seeing one of my stamped mugs featured in a friend’s Instagram Story!
Thanks Allison for sharing YOUR good energy!!!

Categories: art fair, flowers, soda-fired, stamped, vases

Feels like Spring is “almost” here… and in just TWO WEEKS I kick-off my art fair season with the Prairie View Arts Invitational in Naperville! It’s a sweet little show and a great kick-off to the season… feels good to get out of the house and start showing off some of the things I’ve been working on through the Winter months!

So here are the details… hope you can join us!!!

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Categories: mugs, soda-fired, stamped

Another mug. Another Monday!

Categories: garden, soda-fired, stamped

Always fun to see that my stamped & soda-fired flower pots are making happy plants everywhere… even in the snow-covered suburbs! Thanks Nancy for sharing your happy plant!!!

Categories: mugs, soda-fired, stamped

A little more subtle… not too flashy… just a little soda flashing slip & a few little stamps for this MUGSHOT MONDAY.

Categories: mugs, soda-fired, stamped

Same mug as seen by the right-handers… and the left-handers!

For the right-handers…

For the left-handers…

Categories: family, soda-fired, Taylor, textures, tiles

So I’ve been making tiles for quite awhile now…
a slightly larger size for a slightly larger installation!
Lots of slabs. Lots of textures. Lots of soda firing!!!

It took me awhile to get them done, but I finally did. The original estimate was about 520 tiles… so I didn’t want to start until I had more than that. As we got closer, my brother-in-law did a bit more math and decided that 380 tiles should be enough for the installation. WHEW!!!… I had plenty!

We started with a template. Scott made a piece of foam core that fit into the space perfectly. The tiles were going to fit into the space within their built-in bookcase and surround the television. So he made a template – and then popped it out so we could layout all of the tiles on the dining room table to fit.

And then we started to fill in the template. Tile by tile. Square by square.

Placing them all onto the template to fill the foam core. Trying to place them all so that they “appear” to be random. So it’s a jigsaw puzzle of sorts putting them together so the textures are spread out, the colors are not too close to each other… and so on. I like to call it “forced random.”

And it looks like we have a good start… in the top right corner at least!!!

With the top corner “done”… we still have a lot of surface to cover!!!

And then once the template was “full”… it was time to start finalizing it. Trying to “force” the random look.

And let me just say… it’s kind of a slippery slope that could last forever!
Every time you move & switch-out one tile… then another tile looks out of place…
and then another.. and then another…

At some point you just need to call it DONE!… and apparently, we’re not there yet?!

Yep… still switching them out… like I said… SLIPPERY SLOPE!

Finally calling the template done… and ready to start installation.
So here’s the bookcase… and our work table all set-up and ready to go!

So we started at the bottom, using tile spacers from the hardware store!

We followed the picture on the bag, as well as our own gut-intuition, using the spacers flat against the wall. But soon realized that THAT wasn’t going to work. After two rows, it appeared that it was going to get tough to pick-out the spacers as the tiles dried to the wall. So we quickly switched to sticking them in between the tiles parallel to the countertop.

Squirt-by-squirt… gluing them directly onto the wall. We found that it helped if we let the adhesive stiffen up for a few minutes before we squished them to the wall. If we did it too soon they seemed to be a lot slippery-ER.

So then we continued… row after row… until we had three done. We decided to take a little “break” to let them set up a bit before the stacked more tiles on these bottom rows. Long ways still to go…

A few more rows and we were up to ten rows! Leaving a space in the middle… space that will be covered by the television when it’s put back onto the wall.

And then we made it to twelve rows! Glue, squish, stick, repeat…

Luckily, I had my niece Taylor there as my more-than-able-bodied-assistant!
She did a wonderful job all say with the installation!

After crossing the span above the “TV” space… with the help of a well-spaced strip of foam core… we finally made it to the top. Well, “close” to the top of the wall. However… not close enough to leave as is… not big enough to squeeze in another tile…

So we ended up cutting a few tiles… some with a Dremel, some with an actual tile cutter!
Let’s just say it wasn’t as easy as I had hoped it might be! We had to do a full row for the top edge, as well as two cut to fit around the granite countertop part way down.

Taylor did a great job putting the finishing touches on the top row,
while I fudged the two to go around the granite counters.

So finally the tiles were up… spacers keeping everything in place. Since all of the tiles aren’t quite “perfect”… we also employed a few toothpicks to help even out the horizontal lines. Look closely…

As well as a couple custom-made tiles with initials on them!

After the tile adhesive cured, it was finally time to pull out the tile spacers & toothpicks.

What a difference it makes when all of that “support material” comes out.
So here’s the finished look… the dark lines between the tiles is merely the painted wall color. There will be no grout… just the “floating” illusion from the paint.

After re-installing the television and speakers along the bottom, the whole project is finally completed. It’s been a long time coming… lots of tiles, lots of textures, lots of soda-firing… and lots of wadding as every tile needed to be wadded before going into the soda kiln!

Thanks to my sister Jen, brother-in-law Scott and niece Taylor for their patience in waiting for the tiles… as well as all of their assistance & patience while we were installing this masterpiece. I hope they will LOVE it for many years to come!!!

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Categories: art fair, mugs, soda-fired, stamped

Today’s “FREEBIE” prize for keen eyes… the first person find this specific mug today during MUD & METAL and tells me they saw it on social media this morning gets it for FREE!!! No strings attached… just more fun for me!!! And possibly a free mug for YOU?!!!

Categories: masks, soda-fired

It’s always fun to see people get excited when they’re buying my work…
especially fun today when George & Carmie were buying a new “friend” to go with their other two masks!!! So glad they shared a picture of his new home so soon… the trio looks quite happy together!