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

It’s another week of Summer Camp!!! This week I’m teaching Wheelthrowing again….
and the mud-covered shenanigans have started already!!!

Categories: mugs, pottery, soda-fired, stamped

It’s the start of another week… which also means another Mugshot Monday!!!
And another week of Summer Camp. Whoo-hoo!!!

Categories: bowls, food, friends

Looks like my friend Sarah Chapman had a yummy Sunday morning. And THAT’s a motto I can live by!!! Thanks for sharing Sarah!!!

Categories: Chicago, sunrise

With a quick glance to the south, the Chicago Skyline was framed nicely by a bank of sunrise pink clouds.

Categories: bike, Chicago, sunrise

The morning started with beautifully saturated calico clouds. As the breeze blew through the City they dissipated a bit, but kept the drama on the horizon.



Categories: food

Ever so slightly “scary” retro mascot at Carl’s Ice Cream Factory in Bloomington today!!!
I can “overlook” the overly-happy mascot when my ice cream is THIS yummy!!
Chocolate soft serve. Chocolate brownies. Chocolate sauce. What’s not to like?
Good thing I ran six miles this morning!!!




Categories: bowls, process, stamped, studio

So the class demo bowls have been “under wraps” in my studio for a few days. But I finally got around to do doing some stamping & detailing. Making the “not-so-basic” bowl demo even MORE not so basic!!!

A quick row of stamps around the edge of a thin flared rim.

A thinner row of stamping on the smaller section of the bowl.

Another row of stamps around the interior of this bowl with a fluted flange.

This bowl had two finger-twists… so I decided to stamp HALF, and only half!!!

Eight fluted accents… now with angled stamps & little button accents.

The basic split-rim bowl now has little “buttons” attached where it was pinched back together. You can’t really see it, but there’s also a stamp on the exterior just below each pinch point.

Same deal here… a small stamp on the exterior and “buttons” added at the pinch points.

The bowl with the dragonscale “flower” got a simple “grooved” rim.

The basic bowl with solid white slip inside got a simple row of stamps along the top exterior.

A simple bowl… a simple rim… no longer so simple with a row of stamps!

Grooved rim should catch & hold some glazes in a pretty cool way.

The split rim square has been detailed… but only on the inside is the rims!

With some concentric circles in the bottom, I though circular dot stamps were perfect!

The chattering pattern has a certain “motion” to it… so I tried to accentuate the movement with some angled grooves around the rim.

Vertical stripes dragged through the slip are mimicked with the grooved rim.

So now they’re drying and waiting to be trimmed. One step closer to done.

Categories: summer camp

So my campers this week learned TWO very important lessons… the hard way!

NUMBER ONE : Dried terra cotta is VERY fragile… and cannot be repaired.
Instead, any broken pieces needed to re-bulit from scratch very quickly!

NUMBER TWO : Put the lid on the underglaze jar before you shake it!!!

Categories: summer camp

My Chess Camp kids have made it to their final day. All of their pieces have been made and all they needed to do today was paint them with colorful underglazes. So much fun to see their sets all set out in rows so they can paint in assembly-lime fashion. I gave them some directions… and a LOT of warnings about how fragile their dry clay pieces are at this stage. Amazing how some color can really bring their pieces to life!!!

Look at these… can you guess what characters they are???

Did you guess Luke Skywalker & Princess Leia???  —  ‘cuz you should have!

“GO” or no “GO”… Pokemon is still popular with the kids!!!

By the end of camp today, we had a little breakage, but successfully made it to the end. All of the pieces are on the carts drying, and waiting for one of the kid’s monitors to cover them with a thin coat of clear glaze. Soon enough, they’ll be fired and going home with the kids!!!




Categories: process, summer camp, terra cotta

Another good lesson for my campers… if they let their terra cotta dry too fast so that it’s no longer usable, we’re NOT going to toss it in the reclaim bucket. The easy-out. Instead, we’re drying it out and then they need to pulverize it so we can quickly turn it into terra cotta slip for them to use! Tough work… but it’s all part of the process.