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

Woke up this morning in a winter wonderland. A beautiful covering of snow everywhere… a beautiful excuse to go for a long winter walk along the lake. Sure, I’d rather be biking… but we haven’t had dry streets or an actual sunrise for SO long now!!! Just gray, gray, gray… and now some snow as a wonderful accent!

Categories: clay, porcelain, process, studio

And now that my reclaim bucket is empty… it’s time to start filling it up again! A little while back one of my students was cleaning off her shelves and brought me her bag of porcelain scraps asking if I wanted them to reclaim. Of course the answer is ALWAYS yes!!! Even better, her last class was a print-on-clay class, so all of her reclaim had already been rolled out into thin slabs. So I just broke them up, spread them out and I’ll let them dry out overnight.

Then I’ll crush them down to small little pieces with a rolling pin and into the reclaim bin they go. Thanks Katie for kickin’ off my next batch of FREE CLAY!!!

Categories: clay, process, studio

Another New Year tradition in my studio is pulling out the latest batch of reclaim clay. I figure it’s been slaking down all through the holidays and is now good & ready! Goopey, sloppy & messy… and my favorite FREE CLAY for the NEW YEAR!!!

And yes, if you look closely, there are a couple different kinds of clay mixed up in there. I don’t really care too much what goes in my reclaim bin… as long as it’s CLAY!!!… and a high-fire clay body. I figure it will all mix up to be some kinda good clay… and best of all FREE!!!

Categories: family, food, Taylor

I’ve been on a quest… searching for the new Brookie-O OREO‘s here in Chicago. No success yet. Luckily my niece Taylor had a package and was willing to share… from a safe distance of course.

Were they worth the wait?… Yummy, but not amazing.
Would I eat more? Yes.
Would I finish a whole package? Most likely.

Would I rather have that wonderful-gooey-pile-of-goodness as seen on the center of the package?


Categories: friends, mugs, soda-fired, textures

Looks like my pal Allison is starting her day of right…
with a bit of morning steam from her “wake-up call” in one of my mugs! Thanks for sharing your morning with us on Instagram @apmolloy !

Categories: classes, mugs

It’s always nice to get back to work in the New Year. To get back to a bit of a routine again after “sliding though the holidays.” Always fun to get back to teaching… to meet your new students, plan out the syllabus and getting them all fired up again! We’ve all been off for awhile now. Everyone is so happy to be back!!!

To get us started, we made a few simple mug cylinders. But one of my New Years plans is to “play” a bit and try out a few new shapes & profiles. Sometimes the work, sometime they don’t!!!

For my Monday night intermediate class, we discussed how to “alter” some of the shapes, so we worked on indenting, squaring-off, faceting (which we didn’t keep)… and a few more ideas! And then my Tuesday night Beginners started off with some more basic cylinders… which they will trim and add handles to next week!

I, of course, just added a few more stamped details to the mix in my studio tonight… MORE IS MORE… and still, some of them work, some of them don’t… and some of them might need a little re-visiting later?!!!

Mug #1 –

Mug #2 –

Mug #3 –

Mug #4 –

Mug #5 –

Mug #6 –

Mug #7 –

Mug #8 –

So for now these mug cylinders are all under plastic wrap for the night. I will continue to work on most of them in my studio. The last three I’ll save for next Tuesday’s Beginner’s class when we’ll discuss trimming & adding handles. They’re going to be “surprised” when they finish their first batch of mugs at their second class!!!

Categories: stamps

Starting the New Year with an annual new year tradition for me…

I mean, it’s not like I don’t already have THOUSANDS of handmade stamps in my studio ready to be used. And yet I feel somehow compelled to make a new batch of stamps every year. Kicking off a new season of pottery production with some new stamps… hoping to find a few “favorites” in the bunch. They need to dry and get bisqued… but then I can’t wait to give them a try!!!

I also make sure to put a different texture design on each end of the stamp. Two stamps in the space of one! Takes up a lot less space in my studio… when you literally have a thousand of these!!! And yes, I do put my name on each one! It’s not a vanity thing… but I do allow my students to use some of them in class and we know how some things “travel” a bit in a classroom situation!

Categories: food, friends, platters

Looks like someone’s new plates are making the perfect backdrop for another Breakfast of Champions! Thanks Rosene for sharing your yummy morning feast!

Categories: food, friends, mugs

Looks like Tatiana is getting ready for a relaxing night at home! Celebrating another MUGSHOT MONDAY with two of the mugs she snagged during my studio mug sale before Christmas! Vino, snacks & more – have a great night Tatiana!!!

Categories: classes, pottery, television

First with the good… THE GREAT POTTERY THROWDOWN is starting up again with season four this evening. Looks like Keith Brymer Jones is back for more crying, and the kiln loading guy has been promoted to Judge!!!

The bad news?… not sure how we’re going to get to see it here in the US yet. My cable doesn’t go all the way to the UK for Channel 4.

And more BAD NEWS…
I found out yesterday that my own GREAT LILLSTREET THROWDOWN class (also season four) has been cancelled for this Winter session due to lack of enrollment. I’m not surprised, as we’re still so “covid-limited” with very little open studio time… and this class has a “history” of big projects, lots of studio time and a “smidge” of homework. Or maybe they’re all just scared that the projects keep getting more creative & intense?!!! Either way, I’m sure we’ll re-visit this class at Lillstreet in the future when things clear up a bit and we have more access to Open Studio time!