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

Getting dirty can be fun…
another great day of Summer Camp!
It’s a shame they’re not having more fun…

Categories: flowers, garden

These purple iris hung in there for a long time too. This patch of bearded purple iris are the very first ones I planted several years ago. They’ve been thriving & spreading as a consistent bloomer on the corner of my front garden. Yet sadly, they look like they’re almost done blooming now… until next year…

Categories: flowers, garden

Sadly, it looks like iris season has come to an end in my garden. These were the last few “troopers” to make an appearance this year. Especially loving the bi-color purple & yellow ones this year… so striking!!!

Categories: classes, process, surface decoration

In my SURFACE DECORATION class last session, we focused on a different technique each week. One of the projects was MISHIMA… a great technique for “illustrating” on your clay. Leaving fine-line illustrations or geometric lines on your pots.

Of course it helped a bit that I had made a batch of cylinders, trimmed them, and dried them to leather heard just for the demo. You know my students LOVE when I come to class with pre-made class demo pieces for them to work on!!!

After making a plan, my students started by painting a layer of wax resist over the entire outer surface. Once that was layer of wax was hard & no longer sticky, they started to carve through the wax, deep enough to carve into the clay was well. The idea being that the carved lines will be filled with a dark underglaze later… filling in the lines, but the wax will keep it off of the other areas. Some people just worked on a blank cylinder, while others painted an underglaze image first, and then painted the wax over the top of that.

Once they finished carving, they painted the top surface with an underglaze. Most people used black, by Christy decided to get a little “crazy” and went for yellow under glaze to “pop” off of her black painted cylinder.

After filling in all of the carved groove lines, we carefully washed off the top surface… revealing the picture as the underglaze remains in the carved crevasses.

We had some pretty amazing illustrations come out during this process. I love how the designs kinda “disappear” while carving, but then the underglaze filling the patterns makes them “pop”… and kinda looks like a carved wood print.

And who would have thought… that Christine’s carved mishima pattern would pretty much end up being a splittin’ image for my mask?!!!

Categories: inspiration, summer camp

Well, today was my first day of Summer Camp at Lillstreet Art Center. And my wheelthrowing campers are well under way, making pots & having fun… and especially succeeding with Gary’s Camp Rule #3 : “Whatever mess you make, you WILL be cleaning up.”

Now if we could just get the adult students to follow that same rule with such enthusiasm?!

Categories: food, mugs, platters

Looks like another “Breakfast Of Champions” up in Stevens Point this morning. Powdered sugar goodness… and I can only hope that it was filled with chocolate too!!! Thanks for sharing Kristy!

Categories: bike, sunrise

A beautifully cloudy start to the day… a bit on the chilly side, but I’d rather that than the heatwave we had last week. Colorful clouds & shimmering reflections to begin the day. Not a bad start…

Categories: bowls, challenge, classes

When I started the last session with my Beginners & Advanced Beginners, there was a request for a “challenge project” of some sort. We discussed some options… and I added a challenge to the syllabus for Week 9.

The project turned out to be a “carved cut-out” challenge to take out parts of their bowls. They had to start with a well-trimmed leatherhard bowl. We then weighed their bowls and wrote down the weights. And then I threw out the “real” challenge…

They had to take their bowl and carve away some of the sides to make a “basket-like” bowl… that weighs LESS THAN HALF of the original weight. Keeping in mind that they needed to keep the rim & foot ring intact. I suggested a few tips, and offered them a few tools to borrow… even some of my cherished DiamondCore Carving Tools!… and then they just jumped right in. I LOVED seeing them tackle the challenge with such zeal & enthusiasm… you would never know that this group are still considered “beginner” wheelthrowers!

However…
One of my students got a little too focused on the pattern… and not enough on the actual structure of the bowl. Carving… carving… carving… until the two pieces just came apart. The top came right off of the bottom. Luckily, with a bit of scoring & slipping…. and some well-placed “dots”… I think Kristen saved it to live another day! Fingers crossed…

And I’m COMPLETELY enamored with the shadows that these bowls are making! Most of them came pretty close to the “half-of-the-weight” carved away challenge… just a few ounces away. But it was the excitement & adventure they all went through that really made my night!!!

Categories: Chicago, sunrise
Categories: Chicago, sunset

Early morning sunrise from the rooftop of Chicago’s Navy Pier…
well before the racing begins…