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

After a night of slip painting, there’s now another batch of mugs drying in my studio. Just getting ready for my upcoming September art fairs… ART IN THE GARDEN and ART IN THE BARN. Two favorite shows… and a lot of new mugs coming soon!

Categories: mugs, process, production, stamped, surface decoration

Did a bit of detailing tonight with colored flashing slips on a new batch of mugs! A layer of slip around the top rim & some stamp highlights. The colored flashing slips will react to the soda-firing atmosphere in my next kiln load… hopefully creating some great colored details.

Categories: bowls, process, production, stamped, surface decoration, textures

All stamped & detailed… and the bowls are all back under plastic until they dry-up a bit more for trimming. Good thing I love trimming too… almost as much as stamping!!!


Categories: bowls, surface decoration

After Tuesday’s “not-so-basic” basic bowl demo… I did a bit of detailing today with some stamps & textures. You know I subscribe to the school of MORE IS MORE.

So this afternoon I did a little bit MORE to the bowls!

Categories: bowls, classes, surface decoration, wheelthrowing

Last night during my Beginning & Advanced Beginning Wheelthrowing class, we tackled making a bowl on purpose… instead of a cylinder gone bad. We discussed the differences… and how I can see if it started out as a cylinder… tsk-tsk!

After doing a demo on a basic bowl, I explained how the wheel pretty much makes the plain bowl for you… but it’s up to YOU to decorate it and make it your own! So I threw a bunch of basic bowls during class for us to “play with” later!

And then we re-grouped when I was done throwing all of the bowls. We then went through a quick barrage of tricks & techniques for doing some surface decorations to their bowls. None of them are too difficult. It’s more about encouraging them to give it a try, commit to something, having fun… and i fit doesn’t work, we can always squish it up, re-wedge it and try again. IT’S JUST CLAY!!!

Bowl #1 – The “Control” Sample… this is what they all started out like…

Bowl #2 – a simple fluted edge in four places

Bowl #3 – a simple flared-out flange

Bowl #4 – A wider flared flange… more “canvas” for decorating!

Bowl #5 – a split rim with two side dents…
good potential for a basket handle to go up & over the top

Bowl #6 – Another split rim – this time with four dents making kind of a quatrefoil squared-off effect

Bowl #7 – Another split rim… this time with eight finger-pinched sections

Bowl #8 – another split rim with eight dented sections… four inwards & four outwards – creating a bit of a lotus effect

Bowl #9 – Thick white slip with a tight spiral dragged through using the rounded end of my wooden knife.

Bowl #10 – Thick white slip with some concentric banding.

Bowl #11 – Thick white slip with loose fingsr-painting squiggles.

Bow #12 – Thick white slip with groovy squiggle pattern using the rounded end of my wooden knife.

Bowl #13 – Chattering…. rhythmic tapping of a rubber rib through the thick white slip while the bowl was spinning on the wheel.

Bowl #14 – Another bowl with chattering….
this time a bit more angular & linear in the center… by request.

Bowl #15 – An ombre blended gradation of black & white slips… then a fun spiral dragged through both.

So for now they’re all under plastic up in my studio. The class demo was a lot of fun for everyone… just trying to show off some tricks & techniques for decorating basic bowls! I will continue to “detail” them… and possibly do a little stamping in the days to come!

Categories: classes, pottery, surface decoration

Well, it’s been a few weeks since we finished our SURFACE DECORATIONS class at Lillstreet. And things have been glazed & coming out of the kiln. Here’s an assortment of Helen’s pieces she made during class… including crackled slip, water etching, sanggam, colored slips, carving, sgraffito, piercing & more! Well done Helen… thanks for sharing your pieces with us!

Categories: classes, holiday, surface decoration, wheelthrowing

Last week in my Advanced Wheelthrowing class, they decided that we should tackle Christmas Trees!!!… a little fun with Christmas in July!!! So we threw the trees on the wheel and then tried a few different surface decoration ideas on them… including a few with some thick white slip, and one with rhythmic chattering through white-over-green slip!

It was fun trying different techniques…
including these last four made by Darcy in class!

Categories: classes, stamped, surface decoration

Here’s a quick peek at Helen’s first attempt at the “sanggam” technique during our SURFACE DECORATION class last session. You basically do some stamping into the clay, then cover the entire piece with a contrasting colored slip. When that layer of slip dries up, you then scrape it all off to reveal the original surface of the piece, and the contrasting colored slip stays inlaid in the stamps… hopefully creating a smooth surface with an inlaid design. Nicely done Helen!!!

Categories: bowls, classes, process, production, stamped, stamps, surface decoration, textures

As part of tonight’s Stamping Demo on ZOOM, I demonstrated on four different bowls adding a bit of texture & pattern to each of them. Here are the four demo bowls… followed by a few details shots, as well as pictures of the stamps that worked their magic!

Bowl #1 –

Bowl #2 –

Bowl #3 –

Bowl #4 –

Categories: classes, platters, stamped, surface decoration

As part of my SURFACE DECORATION end-of-class trading game, tonight I put one of these green plates into the game… still in the category of “something stamped.” And as luck would have it, Christine went home with a green stamped plate… and I went home with her stamped mug!!! Go figure!