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

Boy, these class demo pieces sure seem to dry out fast?!…
even though it was under plastic, this lidded jar demo piece was surprisingly dry when I checked on it. Too dry to stamp!!! So I resorted once again to carving some patterns on the lid with my DiamondCore Tools. Sure they work best on leatherhard clay, but still work great on drier clay too!

Categories: bowls, surface decoration, textures, tools

Carving through some white slip decoration… playing with my DiamondCore Tools again! Making fun leafy patterns through the widest band of white slip… to create a little color contrast when it’s glazed later.

Categories: bowls, surface decoration, tools

Just doing a little carving tonight on this little bowl… that I kinda forgot about. It was one of the bowls from my “bowls on purpose” demo hidden under plastic. Too dry to stamp… so I decided to carve patterns into it. Good thing I have a collection of DiamondCore Tools that still carve clean lines even in almost-dry clay!

Categories: classes, surface decoration, textures, tools

Always willing to share my DiamondCore Tools with my students… especially when they do some crazy cool carvings like this lidded jar that Ari was working on in class! Crisp & clean carving lines for everyone!!!

Categories: classes, platters, surface decoration

In class Monday night, we tackled a few different forms & decorating techniques. Like this large platter with some thick white slip decoration. The rim has a bit of a “Steven Showalter” influence… someone you should definitely be following on Instagram… and yet you know I can’t resist a good spiral… and there “might” just be a bit more stamping to come too!!!

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

Lots of stamping done… before I can trim & add handles tomorrow!

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

So I’ve been doing a little stamping today… making more mugs with a bunch more stamping!!! So I thought it might be fun to show-off the before & after… and the stamps that did most of the work!

MUG #1 –

MUG #2 –

MUG #3 –

MUG #4 –

MUG #5 –

MUG #6 –

MUG #7 –

MUG #8 –

MUG #9 –

MUG #10 –

MUG #11 –

MUG #12 –

MUG #13 –

MUG #14 –

So for now, they’re wrapped up under plastic… waiting to be trimmed & handled on another day!

Categories: bowls, classes, surface decoration

A few weeks back, during my SURFACE DECORATION class, my students tackled Water Etching with Catherine Tweedie! I was out-of-town for the Minnesota Pottery Tour… and Catherine is always my number one choice for a class sub. And in this case, it worked out perfect. As she was available to sub for me when I needed her to… AND she is the master of water etching so she was the perfect replacement to fill-in while I was gone.

Prior to class, I had pre-made several bowls for my students to play with. I threw them, trimmed them, and added a layer of colored slip on the exterior of most of them.

Catherine brought the bowls down to class as a surprise for them to work on… GIDDY-UP!

Catherine started by showing them how to paint wax resist patterns on the bone-dry bowls.

And then when the wax resist is dry, they started to wipe-away the unprotected surfaces with COLD water! Gently wiping the colored slip away… leaving the wax protected areas intact. The more you wipe away, the more difference in depth you start to see. Eventually you can see and feel a crisp edge around the waxed patterns.

I kinda feel bad that I missed such a great water etching demo by Catherine!… but I will say, it was more than worth it with the Minnesota Pottery Tour! Looks like I left my students in good hands… and they made some really cool patterns on the bowls.

Categories: bowls, craftsmanship, summer camp, surface decoration

Yesterday, one of my Summer Campers was so focused on finishing her wheelthrowing project, that she brought it upstairs to the rooftop to finish it during our lunch break. So while the other kids entertained themselves & played games… a lot of colored slip painting was happening to make her new ramen bowl more “authentic” with a branch of cherry blossoms painted on the side.

Categories: classes, process, surface decoration

In my SURFACE DECORATION class last session, we focused on a different technique each week. One of the projects was MISHIMA… a great technique for “illustrating” on your clay. Leaving fine-line illustrations or geometric lines on your pots.

Of course it helped a bit that I had made a batch of cylinders, trimmed them, and dried them to leather heard just for the demo. You know my students LOVE when I come to class with pre-made class demo pieces for them to work on!!!

After making a plan, my students started by painting a layer of wax resist over the entire outer surface. Once that was layer of wax was hard & no longer sticky, they started to carve through the wax, deep enough to carve into the clay was well. The idea being that the carved lines will be filled with a dark underglaze later… filling in the lines, but the wax will keep it off of the other areas. Some people just worked on a blank cylinder, while others painted an underglaze image first, and then painted the wax over the top of that.

Once they finished carving, they painted the top surface with an underglaze. Most people used black, by Christy decided to get a little “crazy” and went for yellow under glaze to “pop” off of her black painted cylinder.

After filling in all of the carved groove lines, we carefully washed off the top surface… revealing the picture as the underglaze remains in the carved crevasses.

We had some pretty amazing illustrations come out during this process. I love how the designs kinda “disappear” while carving, but then the underglaze filling the patterns makes them “pop”… and kinda looks like a carved wood print.

And who would have thought… that Christine’s carved mishima pattern would pretty much end up being a splittin’ image for my mask?!!!