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

So I “may” have done a bit of shopping up at the St. Croix Valley Pottery Tour… like this great sgraffito jar made by Matthew Metz. Just one more for my already overflowing collection of his work!!!

You can follow Matthew’s work on Instagram… @metzpottery

Categories: artists, craftsmanship, pottery, sgraffito, surface decoration

So many pots, so many techniques, so many talented potters! Over the course of the St. Croix Valley Pottery Tour, we saw so many amazing pieces of pottery. But I will say that my favorite pieces were the exquisite pots by Becky Lloyd. I have followed her for years on Instagram, and her work was even more AMAZING in person!!! Such intricate details & sgraffito carvings. The shapes. The forms. The patterns. The CRAFTSMANSHIP!!! Be sure to follow her on Instagram – @beckylloydyogamama

Categories: pottery, process, surface decoration

During the St. Croix Pottery Tour, it was great to see some beautiful “sangam” pottery by Minsoo Yuh. We tried this technique last year in my Surface Decorations class… and great to see how it’s really done by a master! Much better detail & smoothness than when we tried it in class. Ha!!!

Basically, you stamp patterns all over your clay. Then add a layer of thick slip over everything and let it dry to leatherhard. Then you carefully “shave off” the top layer of slip to reveal the clay body surface and the “now-slip-filled” stamped impressions.

Categories: classes, color, surface decoration

My students LOVED last week’s “tie-dyed” demo night with my SURFACE DECORATIONS class. After the shaving cream demo, they all decided to give it a try… splashing colors, smelly shaving cream & water melting away the “evidence” to leave behind some great colored results!!!

Categories: bowls, classes, color, surface decoration, tie-dye

After marbling & spinning, we started our final “tie-dye” demo of the night… shockingly with a thin layer of shaving cream on newspaper. I know my students were pretty darn confused at this point.

Then I took some colored underglazes and dribbled drops & squiggles all over it. I thought I could use a large straw to move the underglazes… kinda like a big pipette… using my thumb or pinching off the other end to keep it stuck in the straw. FYI… didn’t work so well.

Once I had the underglaze colors spread out over the shaving cream, I dragged a tool through it to swirl the colors a bit. And yes, my students were still confused & intrigued…

Then I took a straight-sided & smooth vase… pre-bisqued… and literally rolled it over the top of the colorful swirls. The porous bisque piece grabs the underglaze & shaving cream You want the underglaze to touch the pot… more than the shaving cream. You want the color, NOT the aromatic white fluffy stuff!!!

Once I had rolled the whole surface, I let it sit for a few minutes… and everyone was STILL intrigued…

After letting it sit for a bit, we moved to the classroom sinks…

And yes, we LITERALLY just ran the water over the surface!!! It dissolves off the shaving cream, but leaves most of the color “attached” to the pot. The water does most of the work… so don’t scrub it or rub it off.

Once the shaving cream is gone… all you have left is colorful “tie-dyed” underglazes!!! You’ll need to let it dry overnight before glazing it. My “plan” is to do a bright color inside… maybe blue… and then a thin coat of spayed clear over the outside to help the colors POP!

Of course, these are underglazes… and we’re firing to cone 10… so there’s really no guarantee that these colors will all “survive” the firing. But we talked about high-fire underglazes in case they really like this technique!

Categories: bowls, color, surface decoration

After the demos, Ashley decided to go for it… with some better underglaze color choices… and she created this groovy set of plates. Not quite matching, but surely “related” in their grooviness!

Categories: bowls, classes, color, surface decoration

After “swirling” underglazes… one of my students said that it seemed a bit like the old-school “spin art”… so we did that too!!! Dripped in some underglazes and then spun it all REALLY fast on the wheel!!! It looked cool while it was spinning… but even more fun to watch it slowly run back down and sort of settle into its final groovy colored pattern!