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

Goopey gloppy tools… guess I should clean them tonight before I leave?!

Categories: platters, porcelain, sgraffito, tools

Two sgraffito carved porcelain platters ready to be bisque fired.
So fun carving through the band of black slip with my DiamondCore Tools.
Crisp lines & sharp carvings!

Categories: porcelain, sgraffito, tools

Playing at the studio today… soaking up some “free” air conditioning!!!
And carving some sgraffito pieces with the help of my favorite DiamondCore Tools.
Enjoying how this stack works together… a carved bowl on top of a sgraffito plate!

Categories: studio, tools

So not only are DiamondCore Tools wonderful for sharp, clean carving lines… they’re also great for some of us klutzy potters who may have “allegedly” squished & bent one of my blades… of course, on my favorite V-tip tool. Good thing is, they also offer replacement blades for their carving tools! Just a quick turn of a screw, switch it out, and you’re good to start carving again!!! Thank You DiamondCore!!!

Categories: mugs, pottery, special events, tools

After spending the night in Minneapolis at a friend’s house, I got up and headed over to the Minneapolis Convention Center for a full day of NCECA fun. Okay, let me just say from the get-go… for the record… I’m NOT a huge fan of NCECA. I just want to make pots. I just want to see pots. I just want to have fun, buy pots, buy tools,  and see a LOT of pottery friends!!! Not so much into the “educational-lecture” part of the show, which I totally get as it IS an educator’s conference! So I knew going up that one day of NCECA would be enough for me! Well, that plus a full day of touring NCECA Gallery Shows on Friday.

So the first thing I ran into after registering for the day was the Artstream Gallery… LOVE IT!!! I’ve seen it before, but you can never see it enough! Basically they took an old Airstream Trailer and converted it into a mobile pottery gallery! What a wonderful idea!!!

There were several galleries that had made little Pop-Up Shops with their ceramic wares.
Many of them focusing on a few featured artists… like one of the galleries was featuring
this oversized sculpture by George Rodriguez

So many mugs… so little time. Loved this contemporary twist on mug display & shelving… one mug per shelf.

Also fun to see so many potters that I’ve been introduced to through social media. Like this slip-cast, layered-colors and carved tumbler by Valeri Alexsandrov. Beautiful to watch on Instagram, but even better to touch, fondle, caress and admire in person!

So many things to see… so many pots everywhere… I WAS IN POTTERY HEAVEN!
And the first “souvenir” to come home with me was this Ted Neal mug. Loved the rustic, almost rusty quality of it… as well as the industrial-somewhat agricultural aspects to it.

And one of my favorite things at the Pop-Up Gallery areas were these pre-packaged shot glasses. What a wonderful idea – a comic satire on commerce & mass-production… with a handmade ceramic piece inside the retro-inspired retail packaging. So, so funny!!!

And then it was off to the Trade Show Expo area. Always fun to see all of the latest in pottery tools & supplies. Many of which I’m not in the market for… like kilns, commercial glazes or more pottery wheels. But even though I might not be looking to buy any of these… still fun to see everything.

Including these little mini-wheels… a tiny little wooden box that is actually a miniature potter’s wheel… perfect for making miniature pots!

And then I finally got down to the back corner to find my favorite… DiamondCore Tools!!! Great to finally meet Robert and his crew, as well as see all of their amazing products all in one place! And all ready to be played with on some clay. Carving. Scraping. Sgraffito-ing. Whatever. So much fun getting a chance to play with all of their tools… as well as seeing some great demos by some pretty great artists!



Categories: process, tools

So excited to be using the new Bison Tool I bought while at NCECA.
I love my other Bisons… so I knew this slightly smaller one would be PERFECT!!!
You know I love trimming… now even more with great tools!!!

Categories: classes, stamps, tools

We’re in our third week of my Beginning Wheel class. They’re moving along nicely, but at some point they’re going to be ready to start decorating… and “quite possibly” do a little stamping. So last night in class we sat down to have them make some new stamps for themselves to use. Of course they  need to dry and be bisque fired first. But then they’ll get to play with texture & pattern. Two of my FAVORITE things!!!

Categories: process, production, tools

A bowl is just a bowl… until it gets HOLES.. . and becomes a Berry Bowl.
So I start with my MKM Decorating Disk to help divide the spacing evenly.
I stick my needle tool through the holes on the disk to mark the bottom of the bowl.

And then I pull out the POWER TOOLS!!!
A power drill makes the holes so much faster & cleaner than trying to punch them out by hand. And having a few different sizes of drill bits on hand helps with the design.

Plus… I’m hoping that the clay shrinkage will help close up those big holes…
don’t want to lose any blueberries!

And then after drilling all of the holes, there’s a just a little bot of clean-up om the inside.
These little burrs are very easy to wipe off with my fingers…
but look how clean those holes are!!!

And then



Categories: bowls, patterns, process, production, sgraffito, tools

I just found two bowls that I made “awhile” back, and painted the interior with colored slip. I wrapped them up in plastic… and then apparently forgot about them. And it’s been “quite’ awhile… so they were harder & drier than I would like them to be. But with my one of my extra-sharp DiamondCore Tools they still carved like a dream!

Categories: process, production, tools

You know how I LOVE trimming…
and even more so with a nice sharp Bison Trimming Tool
and clay at just the right stage of leatherhard
so you get nice smooth ribbons of clay coming right off!