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

This morning was very quiet & still.
A little earlier start allowed me to go a little further before the bike path started to get “crowded” with a sudden influx of runners. I must admit I’ve been a little pampered by having the lakefront bike trail mostly to myself in the early morning hours.

Categories: summer camp

It’s been a productive week so far at Summer Camp. My kids are each busy building a full chess set out of terra cotta clay. They’ve each developed their own themes and are building it piece by piece. But camp is not just clay… it’s also about cleaning and every other part of the process!

And for my camps, there are three simple rules…

Summer Camp Rule #1 : “Have fun.”
And it definitely looks like they are. You can see it on their faces, and in their work!

Summer Camp Rule #2 : “Your fun is not more important than anyone else’s fun.”
So there’s no teasing, nicknaming, bullying, acting up or anything else.

Score… slip… repeat.
Hopefully they’ve all learned some good handbuilding skills.
They’ll find out soon enough what happens as they dry if they have NOT scored & slipped!!!

They also needed to start painting their chess boards. Each chess board is 24″x 24″… which means each piece sits on a checkered section that is 3″ square.

Like I said… camp is not just about MAKING things, but also the other steps of the process. A tough lesson is reclaiming their dried clay. I keep telling them to watch out so their clay doesn’t dry too fast. To keep it covered with plastic and spray it once and awhile with water.¬† However, some of them don’t hear that warning… and we end up with some dry chunks of clay. So they then get to “volunteer” to pulverize the dry clay so we can reclaim it into useful slip. A little hard work might reinforce the lesson of “preserving” their wet usable clay.

At the end of the day, we clean up our class room. They kids are great about scraping & scrubbing the tables, sweeping the floor, cleaning all of their tools and making the room cleaner than it was when they came in for the morning.

Throughout the day, I also get to “enforce” my favorite of the rules…
Summer Camp Rule #3 : “Whatever mess you make, YOU will be cleaning up.”
So when there’s a mess on the floor by the sinks, the kids “volunteer” to be the ones to clean it up. They know the rules… and it’s all part of the process!

Categories: bowls, process, production, stamped, textures

Tonight I did a little stamping & detailing of my class demo bowls from Tuesday night.
“Not so basic” just got a little more textured!!!

Categories: pottery, soda-fired, stamped, textures

So my “constellation” of textured wall pockets has been hung in the Gallery Annex. I love how it turned out. And in the perfect location right there at the top of the stairs (thank you Brian). Kinda nice being the very first thing you see as you come up to the second floor. Finishing touches are still being added to the show… and the Opening Reception is next week on Friday, July 24th.

Categories: photography, sunrise

Who says panoramic photos need to be horizontal?!
Not me.

Categories: photography, sunrise
Categories: bike, nature, sunrise

This morning started out dark & cloudy.
I love when you can actually see the rain falling from the clouds out over the lake.

Then soon enough, the sun came up and the orange clouds become AMAZING!!!

Sorry, there’s a lot of photos here… trust me, I narrowed it down as far as I could.
But it’s tough when each one is SPECTACULAR!!! Enjoy.

Beautiful. All the way to the very last splash of color.
Thank you for indulging my little biking sunrise addiction. Thanks for playing!

Categories: bowls, classes, process, production

Last night in my Beginning Wheelthrowing class we worked on bowls.
Basic bowls thrown the right way and on purpose… NOT a cylinder gone bad.
So we did a demo of the basic bowl with a nice round interior using my green plastic rib.

Bowl #1 – Plain

After this first bowl, my students went back to their wheels to keep working. As they were making pots, I continued to throw more bowls. After I had made 15 more bowls, we reconvened by my demo wheel. I then showed them some quick ways to “decorate” their basic bowls to make them “not so basic” anymore!!! We talked about playing with your clay, taking a chance, committing to your alterations and making the bowl “yours.” Just because the wheel makes round pots doesn’t mean that they need to stay that way!!!

Bowl #2 – Two Twisted Flutes.

Bowl #3 – Eight Twisted Flutes.

Bowl #4 – Thin Flange bent outwards.

Bowl #5- Wide Flange bent outwards.

Bowl #6 – Flange and Twisted Fluting.

Bowl #7 – Split Rim with Pinches.

Bowl #8 – Split Rim and Fluted In & Out

Bowl #9 – Split Rim in a Lotus Flower Style

Bowl #10 – Plain with a Flower Pressed in the bottom with a simple dragonscale tool.

Then we started working more with colored slip. For the demo I used thick white slip and thin blue mazzerine. Now looking at the photos, I probably should have used a darker slip to show more contrast to the lightness of the B-Clay. Oh well… next time!!

Bowl #11 – White Slip Spiral using the rounded end of my wooden knife.

Bowl #12 – White Slip Squiggles with my finger tip.

Bowl #13 – White Slip Banding & Squiggles

Bowl #14 – Blended Gradation Ombre with Chattering Texture

Bowl #15 – Wide Flange with some Mazzerine Squiggles.

Bowl #16 – Mazzerine Slip with a couple Newspaper Letter Stencils.

So now they are all in my studio under wraps. Covered with plastic so they can dry a bit slowly. I’m hoping that maybe tomorrow night they will be ready for some stamping, detailing & accenting. If so… most like more photos will follow!


Categories: classes, food

I found the latest addition to the Nabisco Oreo family. THINS.
I think Nabisco is trying to position them as “adult” Oreo’s… or maybe “healthy” Oreo’s. I must admit they taste pretty good… exactly like their bigger counterparts. Same proportions. Same flavor. But since they’re so thin, I just want to eat MORE of them to amke up for the difference!!!

And then when I came down to the classroom, I found out that I wasn’t the only one with Oreo’s on the brain. Two of my students had each brought in two different kinds of Oreo’s. What?!!! Seven, yes count them… SEVEN BAGS of Oreo’s!!! This snack addiction may be getting a little out of control?!

Categories: pottery, soda-fired, stamped, textures

Putting it all together… making a plan for how my collection of textured wall pillows will become a complete “constellation” for the upcoming “Variations In Soda Fired Work” Show.