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

As seen on the Lillstreet Show-Off Shelves! You may remember these plates from the LILLSTREET THROWDOWN class when they were tasked with slip-trialing a set of two dinner plates. These fun dandelion seed pod plates turned out great… as the last time we saw them they were plain bisque. Shannon did a GREAT job glazing these… especially with the labor-intensive task of using wax resist on every seed before dipping in the celadon glaze! Congrats Shannon… it was worth the extra effort!!!

Categories: classes, platters, surface decoration

Look art Maya’s MASTERPIECE!!! She’s been in my Intermediate Wheeltrowing class for a couple sessions… entering with a plan to make this wonderful collection of platters for her wall at home. We worked on improving her platter-making techniques, as well as surface decorations & glazing. It was a labor of love for Maya… and now I LOVE IT TOO!!! Well done Maya!!! You’ve outdone yourself!

Categories: classes, platters, surface decoration

Huge congratulations to Taylor in my THROWDOWN class… as this is her very first plate AND her first time doing slip trailing!!! And look how great her very first plate turned out!!! Well done Taylor!

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

Bottoms trimmed… one step closer to becoming “hybrid mugs”!
We just need to add some handles tomorrow!

Categories: bowls, stamped, surface decoration

Just some closer looks at the detailing that happened up in my studio after this week’s class demo. I figured if I was showing off how to make a “not-so-basic-bowl”… why not go all the way?! MORE IS MORE, right?!

Categories: bowls, classes, stamped, surface decoration

After some time under the plastic, these class demo bowls were brought out in my studio for a little more detailing. A little stamping here, a little rim indenting there. Here they are side-by-side in my studio! Just a few super bowls for “Super Bowl Sunday.”

Before…

After…

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

Taking my textured slabs & turning them into another batch of my “hybrid mugs.” Adding a little handbuilding to the wheelthrown bases. Always fun to play with patterns & textures… made so much easier with textured hand rollers from MKM Pottery Tools.

Categories: surface decoration

Just a few close-ups from inside some fun bowls… using some thick slips in a couple different ways!

Categories: bowls, classes, surface decoration, wheelthrowing

This week in class with my Beginning & Advanced Beginning Wheelthrowing students we tackled making bowls on purpose, and NOT cylinders gone bad! I started the demo by throwing one bowl for them… explaining the process & what to watch out for. How to start out with a nice rounded bottom right from the start. How to avoid getting a “beginner’s ledge” about an inch up from the bottom. How to use a rubber rib to refine the interior curve of the bowl. How to focus on throwing the interior of the bowl to be the shape they want… knowing that they will trim the exterior to match later.

So here’s the first “prototype” bowl…
Bowl #1 – plain, round, simple rim… and my favorite spiral in the bottom!

And then I set them off to go back to their wheel so they can start practicing.

While they’re throwing, I continue to throw some more bowls while my assistant Susan and I help them along the way. Once I had a bunch of bowls done, we reconvened for Part Two of the night’s demo.

So we gathered, and the goal for Part Two is to show them some quick tricks & techniques to alter the looks of each bowl. Some simple things to make the bowls more “their own creation”… instead of the just round shape that they wheel kinda did for them!

Bowl #2 – two simple “flicked” & fluted twists on opposite sides.

Bowl #3 – And if two flutes looks good, maybe eight fluted edges would look better?

Bowl #4 – A simple flanged edge… folded out over my exterior finger to create this “ledge” area.

Bowl #5 – A much larger flanged edge… kinda like the fancy restaurants that put on tiny little scoop of food in the bottom of a large-flanged bowl and charge BIG bucks for it!!!

Bowl #6 – Combined flange and fluted flares!

Bowl #7 – A split rim pinched back together in eight places.

Bowl #8 – A simple split rim, then we dented in on two sides using the side of my wooden knife. We kinda liked it like this… and there’s a good chance that a handle might go up & over the top from dent-to-dent to make the bowl a bit of a basket.

Bowl #9 – Another split rim with four dents… kinda squaring-up the bowl.

Bowl #10 – The same dented-in bowl as #9 with the split rim, just four more flutes going outwards in the four corners… giving it kind of a lotus look.

After the first set of “altered rims”… we switched to colored slip as a decorative option.

Bowl #11 – After a layer of mazarine blue slip, the dragged the rounded end of my wood knife through the slip while the bowl was rotating on the wheel… revealing the clay-colored spiral through the slip!

Bowl #12 – After a layer of thick white slip, I just wiggled & squiggled my index finger through the slip for this wavy effect.

Bowl #13 – After a layer of thick white slip, I dragged the edge of a rubber rib upwards to create the effect.

Bowl #14 – Another spiral through thick white slip… with tighter spirals to create more of a “ledge” of slip spiral.

Bowl #15 – Chattering through thick white slip… using the edge of my rubber rib with rhythmic tapping up & down, then outwards while the wheel is spinning!

Bowl #16 – A simple ombre’ blend of white slip & mazarine slip… simple & clean…. although there’s a good chance I will do some sgraffito carving through this when it’s a bit drier!

Bowl #17 – Another ombre’ blend of white & mazarine blue, but then dragging a rounded tool end through the slip to create this spiral.

By the end of the class we had a table full of altered & decorated bowls. These went up to my studio to be wrapped under plastic for the night… as there might just be some more stamping, detailing & trimming later as they get to leatherhard.

Categories: challenge, surface decoration

This week in our GREAT LILLSTREET THROWDOWN class, the “homework” challenge was to make their matching dinner plates from last week’s class more decorative with only SLIP TRAILING as their chosen surface decoration technique. They had the option of going all matchy-matchy… or a design theme that works well together for a tight cohesive set! As some of them had never really done slip trailing before, I think they totally knocked it out of the park!!!