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

So my reclaim pile of clay has been sitting on my plaster bat for awhile…
as the extra moisture settles out and the clay stiffens up. It was still a bit sticky to the touch, but firm enough to get started with the cutting, wedging & bagging part of the process. I start by shaving off large chunks of the clay with my wire tool.

You can see that my reclaim clay mixture is just that… a MIXTURE.
I am more than willing to mix-up all of my assorted reclaim scraps. I will add in any kind of clay as long as it’s a high-fire cone 10 clay body. So you can see there are still some sections of porcelain, darker, ochre clay, lighter B-clay, some organic grayness… and unexpectedly, some blemishes of terra cotta red that must have gotten in there accidentally. Luckily, there wasn’t a lot… so I figure it will just blend in and add a bit of iron-richness to the clay… and it won’t affect the final firing temperature of the mixed clay.

Cause after all… as I tell my students… IT’S JUST CLAY!!!

I take the large chunks and lay them out on my wedging table so the canvas can soak out some more of the extra moisture. I do a very brief wedging of the clay, and then shave off layers and re-stack them into small piles.

I take the stacked piles, cut them in half and stack them back on themselves. Cut the stack in half and layer them on top of themselves again. Repeat a couple times and the layers begin to get thinner & thinner as the clay mixes evenly. It’s a LOT quicker & easier than just straight wedging. The layers squish together easily with a little bit of gravity & slamming down on the table to help along the way!

A bit of quick wedging, and then I set it aside to carve off another chunk from my reclaim pile.
Piece by piece… slice by slice… chunk by chunk…

As I wedge up the piles, the clay is still a bit wetter than I want, so I throw them out stretched as a quick slab… and stand them up so they get some extra air exposure.

Some more wedging of the pieces and they get placed in clear bags. I don’t worry too much about a “perfect” wedging at this point, as I know I will do more wedging when I get around to actually using the clay.

So after a couple hours of cutting, layering & wedging…
I now have well over a hundred pounds of reclaimed clay.
FREE CLAY just from a little work… my favorite kind of clay!!!






Categories: studio

And no, I didn’t order an accordion.
But this would be the perfect box!!! I was scared when I saw this box in my studio…
but luckily all is well inside the crumpled cardboard.

Categories: flowers, studio

Took a quick break from the sgraffito carving to replant a couple of my studio plants. They’re both doing so well, that they’ve outgrown the pots that they originally came in from my students Jen & Teresa. They were each in one of my classes where the final trading game was a handmade flowerpot with a plant to fit. I’ll need to put new plants in their pots… but if you need a flower pot for YOUR plants, you can get some of mine at my HOLIDAY HOME SHOW next weekend!!!

Categories: studio, tools

Goopey gloppy tools… guess I should clean them tonight before I leave?!

Categories: holiday, process, production, studio, terra cotta

With the soda kiln filled & firing, I can finally focus on my next task at hand…
making my annual Halloween Ghouls for next weekend’s ART IN THE BARN.
Sure, I night be running a bit late, but I seem to thrive under a good deadline!
Here we go… gotta get my ghoul on!!!

Categories: glaze, mugs, process, production, studio

So the bisque is LITERALLY piling up in my studio… gotta get my glaze on!
                                                                          … starting with a LOT of mugs!!!


Categories: bowls, production, stamped, studio, vases

Oh yeah, and there “may have been” a few serving bowls in the production mix today as well! Gotta make, make, make…

Categories: process, studio

Okay, so many of you know that to find a errant piece of glitter in my studio is NOT unusual… long story for another time... but it is strange to find a chunk of glitter this HUGE inside my bowl while trimming today!!! No idea where that honker could have come from… sure it is reclaim clay, so anything is possible I guess???… but come on, that chunk is HUGE!!!


Categories: process, production, studio

Today seemed like it was all about trimming.
And I LOVE trimming pots!!! I’m sure it has something to do
with my “control-issues”… or OCD… but I digress… HA!!!

Categories: clay, porcelain, process, studio

Just pulling out another batch of reclaimed clay. This time it’s a huge batch of slaked-down porcelain that I turned out onto my large plaster bat. All scraps from another potter friend who doesn’t like to reclaim clay. But I sure do!!! It’s going to take a few days before it sets-up enough that I can start wedging it. A lot of work & waiting… but then again, you know how much I LOVE FREE CLAY!!!