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

My original intention was to get out on the bike trail before the Chicago Air & Water Show… but turned out to be more about getting home before the rain storms!!! Red sky in the morning… should tell me something!!!

Categories: clay, porcelain

After a few days of drying on a large plaster bat, my reclaimed porcelain slurry has set-up enough to start wedging. After a bit of manual labor, I now have a few more bags of porcelain. A few more bags of potential.

Categories: olympics
Categories: classes, kiln firing, soda-fired

A quick peek into the top as we started to unbrick reveals a well-melted cone pack.
Cone 10 just a bit flatter than I would normally go for, but it took our class a bit longer to get all of the soda mixture into the kiln. Oh well… still a beautiful kiln full.

After the door bricks were removed, the Soda Workshop Team started unloading their kiln. Piece by piece. Shelf by shelf. Post by post. Trying my best to limit the ooh-ing & aahhh-ing until later. I thought it would be best if we got all of the pots unloaded into one of the classrooms… and then clean the kiln, scrape the shelves and kiln wash before we start to admire their treasures! I was afraid that if we started the admiration process, I may never get them back into the kiln room to do the “ugly” part of the process.

A quick shot of the back stack before it was unloaded.

One casualty… it was a large, flat oval casserole. It was liner glazed with Reitz Green and nothing outside. Rachel wasn’t too upset as it is all part of the learning curve. But she also couldn’t help herself with camera is at the ready!

It was such a “perfect” crack that we think it might have been a bad glaze fit. With the inside lined with glaze, and nothing on the outside, the shrinkage differential may have been too much for the low, flat oval casserole. The cracks were right through the walls of the pot… nowhere near the construction points as you might expect.

As their soda-fired pots began to pile up, it was tough to stop the admiration! So many beautiful pots. So many new things to learn. So many excited Soda Workshop peeps!!!

All too soon, it was back to the “ugly” part of the process. They scraped the shelves down and then re-painted them with kiln wash. My very least favorite part of the entire process. I would much rather scrape than kiln wash!!!

So many shelves that they had to expand into the larger kiln room to spread the shelves out.

It was a long thee days. Yet never enough time to bequeath all of the soda-firing information. So much to share, so little time. I’m pretty sure the Soda-Firing Workshop students had a great time. Their pots turned out great… and now they have been bitten by the “soda” bug. Let the addiction begin…


Categories: kiln firing, stamped

This morning I took off the first row of bricks to help speed up  the cooling process. I’m pretty sure my Soda-Firing Workshop students will appreciate unloading a cooler kiln. It’s never fun when everything is all too hot too handle. Plus, when you take out a couple rows of bricks… you also get a sneak peek of the treasures inside. Looks like a few of my stamped pots made it in as kiln filler for the workshop firing.

Categories: clay, porcelain, process, studio

My reclaim bucket was full of slaked down porcelain scraps. Pulverized porcelain scraps soaked in water, and then evaporated until it was gooey, but not puddley. So I thought today would be a good day to glop it all out onto a large plaster bat to get it to start setting up. After a few days of drying, I will be able to start wedging. You gotta love free clay!!! Especially when it’s porcelain… Thanks again Emily!


Categories: Chicago, mugs

According to my friend Pam, some morning coffee in a handmade mug makes your commute so much better!

Categories: mugs, process, production

Sure, I could have glazed the bowls… but instead I decided to throw more cylinders for another batch of mugs!!! You know how I LOVE making mugs!!! So much better than glazing!!!


Categories: bowls, glaze

With all the best intentions, I waxed all the bottoms of my class demo bowls. I was planning on finally glazing them all. Instead… after they dried, I stacked them up and put them back on my teacher’s shelf. Again. Let’s just say it is not my first time doing this ritual. Maybe tomorrow??? Ha!!!

Have I mentioned lately how much I hate glazing???

Categories: nature, seasons

It was another beautiful Summer day in Chicago with some incredible clouds billowing through. Blue skies & puffy white clouds. Gorgeous.