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

Just a little early-morning wheelthrowing to kick-start the day!

Categories: bowls, classes, wheelthrowing

After throwing fourteen bowls that were all pretty much the same… my class re-grouped so that I could show them some quick tricks & techniques to make their own bowls more one-of-a-kind. I explained how I kinda feel like the wheel does most of the work in making a round bowl. But that it’s up to them to make it special & make it their own! Some quick alterations to help them make some “not-so-basic bowls”!!!

Bowl #1 – the plain one, as they all started out.

Bowl #2 – two simple finger flutes.

Bowl #3 – And if two are cute, maybe eight flutes are better?

Bowl #4 – a flared out flange.

Bowl #5 – a larger flared out flange.

Bowl #6 – A flared flange combined with four fluted edges.

Bowl #7 – a split rim… then pinched back together in eight places.

Bowl #8 – another split rim, this time indented with the side of a wood knife.

Bowl #9 – another split rim – indented in wards & outwards.

After doing some altered rims, it was time to switch to colored slips. Just adding more options & decoration techniques for my students to play with.

Bowl #10 – a layer of thick white slip, then dragged through with the rounded end of my wooden knife.

Bowl #11 – thick white slip with banded details.

Bowl #12 – finger squiggles through the thick white slip.

Bowl #13 – Channeling my inner-Steven Showalter and trying out some of his wonderful slip techniques!

Bowl #14 – rhythmic chattering through the thick white slip.

So for now, all of the bowls went up to my studio to spend the night under plastic. Trying to keep them form drying out too close… as there’s a “very good chance” that there may be some stamping & detailing still to come!

Categories: bowls, classes, wheelthrowing

This week in my Beginning Wheel class, we discussed how to make a “bowl on purpose” instead of a cylinder gone bad. I did a throwing demo for them… and then I made a “few” more bowls as Part One of the demo!!! But the fun part comes with Part Two!!!

Categories: artists, clay, collaborations, handbuilding, wheelthrowing

So I had a little “summer camp” situation in my studio over the summer. My friend Kristen asked if her kids could stop by for a little “private” summer camp experience in my studio. I’ve known the kids forever… so of course I said yes. Although I haven’t really done much with them since they took my Lillstreet Chess Camp a couple years back.

We started with some wheelthrowing lessons, and then they each gave it a try. AJ went first, followed by Lizzy. I think they were both a little surprised that it wasn’t quite as easy as it looks!

But then I also “flipped the script” a bit on them… and told them they would have a handbuilding project as well. They thought they would be able to make whatever they wanted…. but, oh no, that’s not how I play!

I think they had all kinda forgotten about a little drawing that AJ had done back when he was in second grade. He was trying to raise money to buy himself a new set of LEGO’s… and his mom Kristen set-up a little gallery show for him to show-off his artwork. I purchased this drawing at that gallery show… and have had it in my studio ever since.

So I pulled it out… and challenged them each to make a handbuilt “cup” that was “inspired” by AJ’s monster drawing from so many years ago.

On their next visit, they trimmed their wheelthrown pieces, and finished working on their handbuilt monster cups. The final touches were put on with some colored underglazes. Once they dry, I will bisque fire the monster cups and glazed them with a clear glaze. Their wheelthrown pots will be glazed as well… to match their color choices of course!

As you can see, Lizzy went for a more literal approach in building her cup. I especially liked her use of textures to mimic the patterns in the drawing. While AJ went a little off on his own “version” of the monster… with a great triple-eye & vertical mouth situation!

So much fun playing with these kids… they were so much fun. Glad we could work out this Mini Summer Camp this summer… two days of clay fun in my studio with AJ & Lizzy!

Categories: process, production, terra cotta, wheelthrowing

Okay, that’s a good start! Gotta stay focused if I’m going to have these done in time for ART IN THE BARN! I finished throwing them all tonight… now I just have to “ghoul-itize” all forty of them!

Categories: flower pots, production, wheelthrowing

So apparently this is what happens when you go into the studio early in the morning… and have that nagging feeling that you might not have enough pieces to fill next weekend’s soda kiln?! And you have a little panic… and start throwing MORE!!!

It’s gonna be tough to get these all stamped, trimmed, dried, bisqued & glazed before going into my soda kiln next weekend!

Uh oh… tick-tock, tick-tock…

Categories: porcelain, wheelthrowing

Playing with porcelain this gray, overcast & rainy morning…
doing my best to stay away from the overly crowded lakefront today!!!

Categories: bowls, classes, wheelthrowing

This week in my Beginning & Advanced Beginning Wheelthrowing class, we discussed making bowls on purpose and NOT cylinders gone bad. We talked about how they need to start making the bowl curve inside their bowl right form the very start. And that they should be looking for a nicely rounded interior… and NOT a flat bottom, corners and a curved side like a cylinder gone bad!!!

After the first bowl demo, I sent my students back to their wheels so they could start throwing some nicely rounded bowls. And then I went back to my wheel to make “a few” more bowls…

And then we re-grouped and talked about how I believe the wheel does most of the work making a nice round bowl. But it’s up to each student to make that bowl their own… employing some quick tricks & techniques to make their bowls new & different… and a bit more “stylish” than the others!

So here are the “tricks” that I showed them all…

BOWL #1 – two fluted edges… gently asymmetrical.

BOWL #2 – if two fluted edges are nice, EIGHT might even better?!

BOWL #3 – a flared flange… approximately 1″ rim

BOWL #4 – if one inch is good, maybe three or four inches are even better?!

BOWL #5 – combined flared flange with four flouted edges

BOWL #6 – a split rim pinched back together in eight places

BOWL #7 – a split rim dented-in at four places

BOWL #8 – a split rim bowl dented-in at four places & dented-out at four places… kinda giving it a “lotus” shape?!

So after altering some rims, I decided to introduce colored slips as another possibility for decorating their bowls. I decided to use white slip for my demo purposes… but any choice of colored slips would have worked.

BOWL #9 – thick white slip with a spiral dragged through to reveal the color of the clay body.

BOWL #10 – thick white slip with some banded stripes dragged through.

BOWL #11 – thick white slip with some groovy finger squiggles.

BOWL #12back by popular demand… another one thick white slip with some groovy finger squiggles… a little closer together than the first one!

BOWL #13 – newspaper pieces cut out, applied with a bit of water, and then covered with white slip… and then gently pulled out to reveal the original clay body under the newspaper stencils.

BOWL #14 – thick slip with vertical “swipes” made with a rubber rib, and then a spiral dragged through the middle section.

BOWL #15 – thick white slip chattered with a plastic rib… rhythmic tapping of the rib through the slip while the wheel is spinning.

So for now, my new “not-so-basic” bowls are all decorated from my class demos… and under plastic for the night. I want to keep them wet because there “just might be” some more stamping & decorating to be done! Remember, MORE IS MORE!!!

Categories: summer camp, wheelthrowing

It’s been another great week of Wheelthrowing Summer Camp… with a younger group in the mornings, and an older group in the afternoon. It’s always fun to watch them learn how to throw on the wheel… struggle a bit… and then crank out a bunch of pots in just a couple days!!!

Categories: bowls, classes, wheelthrowing

Ten bowls by 10:00am!!! Sure, I shoulda been making the terra cotta drip plates… but I kinda slipped on a tangent. But seriously, who doesn’t need some new bowls???