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

Crunching up some more dry clay… reclaiming scraps to turn back into fresh clay
so I can make more pots! And it’s always more fun to make things with FREE CLAY!!!

Categories: art fair, lillstreet, pottery, studio

Fun night at the Lillstreet Holiday Opening tonight. So many fun people to chat with.
Many of them doing some holiday shopping. Some getting gifts for others…
many getting gifts for themselves!!!

Categories: studio

GOOD NEWS!!! I finally have overhead lighting back in my studio!
I CAN SEE AGAIN!!! And it only took a two and a half weeks to be fixed?!!!

Categories: studio

It’s another dark morning in the studio. Seems as though my ceiling light has STILL not been fixed by my “landlord.” He did drop off a new LED fixture… but it’s not doing me much good sitting down there near the floor.

Categories: glaze, process, production, studio

Still no working ceiling light fixture in my studio…
so glazing “in the dark” tonight ought to be interesting, huh?!!!

Categories: bowls, process, production, stamps, studio

Came into the studio last night to find that my overhead studio light has decided to completely stop working!!! So today I’m trying to get a lot done with some dramatic “mood” lighting… and will be until the fixture gets fixed!!!

Categories: clay, studio

After a couple crazy weeks of getting ready for ART IN THE BARN, it felt great to be back in the studio “calmly” cleaning up, re-organizing and setting out another large batch of reclaimed clay!

Categories: studio, tools

So it’s been a BUSY week. With ART IN THE BARN this weekend,
I had to keep my head down and focus if I want to get my new Halloween Ghouls done.
Lots of handbuilt accents & details… a lot of scoring & slipping!!!


Categories: clay, porcelain, process, studio

I’ve had some piles of dried clay in my studio for some time now. Bags & bags of dried porcelain scraps waiting to be reclaimed. And the BEST part?… it’s all FREE CLAY!!! Because this is not even MY reclaim scraps! Instead, they are scraps from a potter friend of mine up in Minneapolis who doesn’t feel it’s worth her time & effort to reclaim her own clay. So I get to pick up her scraps every Spring when I go up for the Minnesota Pottery Tour.         SCORE!!!

So I took all of the dried scraps out of the bags a started breaking them up. It was surprising to me how many large pots & pieces there were still intact in the bags? And what fun it was to bang them up & pulverize them into a fine powder.

I also cleaned out my orange reclaim bin… as I had “dirty” stoneware in there last.
And I wanted to start with a clean bin for my “clean” porcelain reclaim.

Once the clay was broken up & pulverized into small pieces. I started dumping it all into the bin. Good News. Bad News… BAD – There was more reclaim than my bin would hold. GOOD – There was more reclaim than my bin would hold so that’s A LOT of free clay!

When the bin was full of scraps, I added a few buckets full of water. The plan is to “submerge” the clay scraps under water. I then took a long stick and stirred it up as best I could.

This orange bin of goopey clay will sit and slake down for a couple weeks while I work on other stuff. I’ll stir it up a couple more times, add some more water as needed. When I feel that it has all dissolved… and the extra water has started to evaporate, I’ll turn it our on the a lrage plaster bat to help get the excess water out… then it’s a LOT of wedging… but then it’s also a LOT of FREE PORCELAIN!!!




Categories: studio, tools

So it’s been a BIG week for me and NEW TOOLS!!!
First the care packages arrive from STODOLA
and then earlier this week I got yet another care package in the mail…

This one I knew about as I had ordered it online from Phil Poburka at Bison Studios.
But so excited to see them finally arrive… in such a fancy box no less!

So you may have heard me talking about these before. I have coveted these tools for quite awhile. And was lucky enough that some of my students were “actually listening to me” and picked up on it. At the end of last session’s “Lillstreet Throwdown” class, my students presented me with an AMAZING Thank You Gift Certificate for these Bison Tools!!!

Have I mentioned lately that I have the BEST STUDENTS EVER!!!

Anyway, so I went on line to order my Bison Trimming Tools.
They’re all handmade with beautifully hand-turned handles. In fact, when you open the box you are stuck by the soothing smell of fresh-cut wood and some sort of oil. Wonderful. And then the blades themselves are made out of tungsten carbide. So much stronger than the usual ones that dull down so quickly! Guaranteed to be the sharpest trimming tools ever!!!

So I went with two similar ones… most like my favorite Kemper tools.
But I got them in the two different blade sizes he offers… standard and narrow.
Each with some beautiful woodgrain and different handles shapes!

Now I just can’t wait to break them in. Although I’m a little concerned
about what it’s going to feel like actually trimming with a sharp tool?
Who amongst us hasn’t been trimming with dull blades for years???

And again, HUGE THANK YOU to the most amazing students ever!!!
You guys rock!!!

And if you’re lucky, I’ll even share… and let you give them a test drive!