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

Sometimes it’s all about the spout. I wasn’t so sure about them. But now that they’re all in place I’m kinda diggin’ them. Sure, they still need some clean-up & smoothing, but I like how these are coming together for ART IN THE GARDEN!

Categories: classes, wheelthrowing

In one of my recent wheelthrowing classes, we were focused on “throwing-off-the-hump.” And somehow, these mini trees came along… part of a “demo-on-demand” by my students. We had made larger trees a week before… so it was only a matter of time until we went a bit smaller. I’m thinking I might need to make more?!

Categories: art fair, collaborations, vases, wheelthrowing

Making some more mini’s while “throwing off the hump” with my class last week. There’s a pretty good chance these might just make it into some sort of “collaboration situation” with ART IN THE GARDEN coming up pretty soon!

Categories: summer camp, wheelthrowing

So this was another week of Wheelthrowing & Handbuilding Camp with some adorable summer campers! I had more great kids this week… younger in the morning & older in the afternoon. They all did a great job… although some threw themselves into their work a bit more than others. Quite literally for some!!!

Categories: summer camp, wheelthrowing

I mean, they asked what they could do… so I told them!

We have some of these clear acrylic dividers between some of the wheelthrowing workstations for social distancing. As with everything in the studio, they tend to get splattered with clay. So since they were looking for something to do… I figured what better project than giving them a quick wipe-down?! I’m sure it might not have been what they were hoping for… but they both did it willingly.. a little contest to see who did it better.

Well done Emily & Ruby! Thank you both!!!

Categories: summer camp, wheelthrowing

Not bad for a day’s work!!! Today my Summer Campers made more pots… their third day of throwing on the wheel. Looks like they’re doing really well, learning quick, making pots & definitely having a lot of fun!!!

Categories: bowls, classes, surface decoration, wheelthrowing

Last night during my Beginning & Advanced Beginning Wheelthrowing class, we tackled making a bowl on purpose… instead of a cylinder gone bad. We discussed the differences… and how I can see if it started out as a cylinder… tsk-tsk!

After doing a demo on a basic bowl, I explained how the wheel pretty much makes the plain bowl for you… but it’s up to YOU to decorate it and make it your own! So I threw a bunch of basic bowls during class for us to “play with” later!

And then we re-grouped when I was done throwing all of the bowls. We then went through a quick barrage of tricks & techniques for doing some surface decorations to their bowls. None of them are too difficult. It’s more about encouraging them to give it a try, commit to something, having fun… and i fit doesn’t work, we can always squish it up, re-wedge it and try again. IT’S JUST CLAY!!!

Bowl #1 – The “Control” Sample… this is what they all started out like…

Bowl #2 – a simple fluted edge in four places

Bowl #3 – a simple flared-out flange

Bowl #4 – A wider flared flange… more “canvas” for decorating!

Bowl #5 – a split rim with two side dents…
good potential for a basket handle to go up & over the top

Bowl #6 – Another split rim – this time with four dents making kind of a quatrefoil squared-off effect

Bowl #7 – Another split rim… this time with eight finger-pinched sections

Bowl #8 – another split rim with eight dented sections… four inwards & four outwards – creating a bit of a lotus effect

Bowl #9 – Thick white slip with a tight spiral dragged through using the rounded end of my wooden knife.

Bowl #10 – Thick white slip with some concentric banding.

Bowl #11 – Thick white slip with loose fingsr-painting squiggles.

Bow #12 – Thick white slip with groovy squiggle pattern using the rounded end of my wooden knife.

Bowl #13 – Chattering…. rhythmic tapping of a rubber rib through the thick white slip while the bowl was spinning on the wheel.

Bowl #14 – Another bowl with chattering….
this time a bit more angular & linear in the center… by request.

Bowl #15 – An ombre blended gradation of black & white slips… then a fun spiral dragged through both.

So for now they’re all under plastic up in my studio. The class demo was a lot of fun for everyone… just trying to show off some tricks & techniques for decorating basic bowls! I will continue to “detail” them… and possibly do a little stamping in the days to come!

Categories: summer camp, tools, wheelthrowing
Categories: summer camp, wheelthrowing

For this week’s Summer Camp I’m back to Wheelthrowing!!! I have a great group of pre-teens getting all sloppy, messy & muddy… and having a great time on the wheel. Most of them have never thrown on the wheel before… so I’m trying to get them started with some good basic techniques that will stick with them for years to come!

Categories: classes, holiday, wheelthrowing

And then THIS happened… TIMBER!!!

As my collection of trees were sitting on the table, one of them started to slump down… one crack… then two… three… more!!! All of a sudden it started to tip over… and then it all slumped down!!! I’m pretty sure it was just way too wet. Freshly thrown clay, kinda thin walls, and far too much slip slathered on the surface… all adding up to wet, goopey & slumping down!!! I think this would definitely work better if I did it on a slightly firmer “pre-thrown tree” and not an instant demo piece!