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

Spent the night finishing up some wall pocket vases. Stamping, detailing and painting a few small accents of colored flashing slip.

Categories: color, nature, textures

I’m sure liken’ the lichen & moss colors & textures of these wet Spring days.

Categories: porcelain, production, stamped, textures

Fun with circles. Concentric. Spiral. Rings.
Some in porcelain, some in soda clay.
People keep “guessing” that some of my pieces might be trivets.
Just to set the record straight… these are in fact going to be trivets!!!
Actual, legitimate hot-plate trivets!!!

Categories: bowls, classes, patterns, textures

I started this “beveled bowl” carving project as a demo for my class a couple weeks back. It has taken a “little longer” than expected… a little bit here, a little bit there… and I feel like I could keep “cleaning it up” forever. But tonight I finally called it “done.” Of course I had to keep telling myself “It’s just a demo, it’s just a demo…” I started by throwing a bowl with slightly thicker walls than usual. And let it stiffen up a soft leatherhard so I could trim a nice foot. Then I brought the bowl to class to start the demo. I used my Xacto knife to incise horizontal lines while the bowl was on the wheel. Then I moved it over to a banding wheel and incised vertical lines. Hopefully evenly spaced… I eye-balled it, so who knows… but it created sixteen sections. The incising is to establish “sections” that will be carved, as well as cut lines so the bevels “pop out” better later. Do NOT carve all the way through the bowl!!!

Then it’s time to start carving… I attack one square at a time. Beveling the section from top to bottom in one row, and then bottom to top in the adjacent rows. The effect is alternating bevel directions all the way around the bowl. Yes, this is going to take awhile… sixteen vertical sections and five horizontal bands. That makes 80 squares to carve!!!

One by one. All the way around. Trying to keep it clean and consistent. Of course you’ll need to go over each section a couple times. Some come out cleaner than others… some will be a struggle. I would also recommend not doing this trick with clay that has a loft of grog in it. The smoother the clay the cleaner the carving will be without revealing a lot of rough grog chunks.

Of course I could keep going.. keep carving… keep cleaning. The smoother the lines the better, but seriously, at some point I just had to call this one done. It’s JUST a class demo after all. A lot of work to show off a fun carving “trick.” Hopefully the glaze will cover up the parts that I “gave up” on!!! And maybe a little Dremel sanding before glazing if worse comes to worse… and my OCD kicks in before it gets glazed. I could work on this one forever…

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Categories: classes, process, stamps, textures

I began my Tuesday evening by throwing a lot of cylinders in my studio. I had a plan…
I was on a mission… and my wheelthrowing class was going to be starting soon!

So I received a package of few carving tools in the mail awhile back… so exciting!!!
And I’m always telling my students to experiment, to try new things, to break out of their shells. To remember that it’s JUST CLAY!!! But I get it… my Beginners are working so hard to make each and every cylinder. It’s a lot of work. A lot of centering & focus. So much so that each piece is somehow considered “too precious” to experiment with. So tonight I plan to test them… to push them a bit… to show them that it’s NOT so precious. I figured if I provide them with already thrown cylinders, all of the “hard part” is done, right?

So I threw a bunch of cylinders and brought the down to class with me. I explained my “not-so-precious” texture & surface decoration challenge to them. I encouraged them each to do anything they wanted to the surface of their cylinder. To carve, slip, stamp, whatever!!! Just have fun… and see what happens with their new-found “freebie” not-so-precious cylinder!!! And here they go…

After class, I did a little “photo shoot” in my studio before they started to dry.

SO HERE”S YOUR CHALLENGE : Can you guess which ones are mine?!

Special thanks to Robert at C.I. Products for sending me a little “care package” of tools to try out. I’ve been kind of busy through the holidays… and finally found some time to try them out. And why not share my new tools with my students?! These Zebra Trimming Tools are pretty darn amazing. They took us a little while to get used to them. The blades are at a different angle than Kemper Tools…. and adjustable!!! The wood is so lightweight… and the foam grip pretty sweet too. But it’s really the extra-sharp blades that cut such a smooth clean line with nice line definition. I definitely look forward to using them more in my own work. Seeing what kinds of great textures & patterns I can come up with using these great new Zebra Tools!!! Thanks again Robert… your tools are GREAT!

Click here to see the wide assortment of tools from C.I. Products.
Or here to go straight to the Zebra Trimming Tools.
You’ll be glad you did… especially those of you who are carving crazy cool patterns, making cool textures and doing a lot of sgraffito or mishima.

 

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Categories: bowls, classes, textures

Finally finished up a bowl carving demo that I started for my class a week ago. I threw the bowl a little thicker than usual, and then set in to carving out a rhythmic pattern using the rounded end of my trimming ribbon tool.

And then a small groove in each cut-out with a small sgraffito loop tool.

Gotta love a good texture. Gotta love a good pattern.
Just a little carving trick I learned from Amy a few years back!!!

 

Categories: nature, textures

Well, the warm-spell is over. Even the puddles were a bit chilly this morning…
with a side of broken-off antenna in the freeze!

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Categories: artists, soda-fired, textures

Back in September 2016, I did a post about the Saturday metalsmithing class and the wonderful collaboration we did. Each of the students took on the challenge to incorporate one of my textured tile pieces into their metalwork. They all did a wonderful job. Such a great project.

Click here to see the original blog post about the collaboration challenge.

Well, here’s one more entry into the mix. A little late, but well worth the wait.
And to be brutally honest, I got these pictures a LONG time ago… I’ve been a slacker in posting. Sorry.

Anyway, Lillstreet metalsmithing student Erika Novak created this amazing pendant using one of my textured pieces as her “cabachon gem”… so to speak.

And the back side is an amazing “reproduction” done with CAD design and cast in bronze.

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Categories: bowls, stamped, textures

Stamped bowl rim with fluted shadows.

Categories: kiln firing, process, production, stamped, textures, vases

So there was a gaping hole in the top layer of my bisque kiln…
I knew that I had to make something quick!

I “threw together” a couple tall slab vases… measured just to fit when the kiln lid closes. I finished assembling them JUST in time to teach my Tuesday night class. I put them on plastic grid and a banding wheel so I could rotate them in front of a fan to dry them quickly. During class, I skipped out (unnoticed) and ran upstairs to add some colored slip details and keep them spinning.

When class was finally over… they had to go into the kiln regardless of where they were at. I had to fill the space, but couldn’t wait any longer to get the kiln started. So they went in a little damp… with a bit of a pre-heat on the kiln… and fingers crossed.

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