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

So this week we offered a new & completely different option for the kids.
Many of them have taken several clay classes… or metalsmithing classes…
but why not put them together?! Why not combine the two?!

Pam Robinson (Lillstreet Metals Dept. Head) and I worked together
to develop a camp for the kids to put both materials together in one project.
Fire. Forge. Feast. – fire the clay, forge the metal and then feast on the results!
Yep, we had the kids make a complete dinnerware set this week.


So we started the week with two days of clay – designing & making slab plates,
platters & bowls… as well as clay handles for what would become their cutlery!
So Monday & Tuesday the kids designed & made their dishes, as well as painting
them with colorful underglazes!



Then on Wednesday & Thursday, we moved over to the Metals Dept. to start
cutting their metal components…. knives, forks & spoons. It was a lot of sawing,
filing, sanding, texturing… and unfortunately, broken saw blades!



Friday was a day to finish up their pieces, finally combining clay & metal…
and enjoying a potluck meal on their finished projects!


And my new collection of knives… that I made all by myself!!!


Categories: bike, sunrise


Another beautiful morning on my bike… and another perfect sunrise!

Categories: art fair, friends

Here’s your chance to save money again!
Just print out this coupon, stop by next weekend and redeem it at the
Evanston Lakeshore Art Fair
Saturday, August 1st & Sunday, August 2nd.


The two-day art fair is in Dawes Park in Evanston along the lakefront
of Lake Michigan on Sheridan Road at Church Street. My booth is at the
southeast end of the pond right on the lakefront. Stop by to say hi
at Booth #43… same booth location as usual.

And while you’re there… redeem the coupon and save some cash!
Then step into the booth right next door to see my friend Sarah Chapman
who will be showing off some incredible jewelry!!! Great stuff…
And what fun to finally be neighbors – we get to share the same “backyard”!!!

Categories: friends, My Talented Friends

So I rode another Century bike ride today way out in the far west suburbs.
When I finished the ride, I realized that I was very close to Sandwich, Illinois…
which also means I was really close to my friend Cory McCrory’s home.
So why not meet for ice cream?!…


Over some frozen dairy products, we got caught up on her recent travels,
my bike vacation, art fairs, and resolved all of the problems of the world.

What we’re doing. What we’re not doing.
What we hope to get done sometime this summer.
What we’ve already admitted we won’t get to.

Cory had recently finished teaching a weeklong workshop up in Canada.
She had a great experience and is hoping to return next year for another one.
I told her we would love to see some photos of it on her blog.

And what about writing a book about her own work in paper clay & techniques?!
She has such a different approach & style – why not share it in a book? I saw her
teach a workshop in LaGrange a few months ago and everyone there was hanging
on her every word. So why not publish a book?!

We discussed what we’ve been doing this summer. Summer camp… biking… gardening.
Her limited art fair schedule… my impending art fair this weekend in Evanston.
Making pots. Making art. Making life.

We talked about some of our common friends in this small little ceramic world.
New friends. Old friends. Shared friends.

It was a great way to finish my long day of bike riding.
And a great chance to catch up with one of “My Talented Friends.”
I just wish we had more time to chat… and some more hot fudge!!!

Categories: lillstreet, summer camp

Another week down… another week of Chess Camp done!
And we finished just under the wire! Without a moment to spare!


The second week of Chess Camp had fewer kids, and a bit younger too!
But the week started out as usual – with a discussion of theme ideas.
What we’re they planning on making their chess set look like.
What team is battling against what team?


One of our most ambitious themes was “DC Comics versus Marvel Comics”!
That was until he worked all day on Monday, came back Tuesday and realized
that it was “going to be too hard.” So he came back with a plan, started over and went
with “Chicago versus New York City.” Other themes included:
* Jungle Animals: Fierce vs. Cuddly
* Transformers
* Cats vs. Dogs
* Medieval Royalty vs. Dragons
* Foods vs. Drinks
* some video game… that I’m sadly too old to have ever even heard of ?!!!
* The Simpson’s: Good Characters vs. Evil Characters


So the kids worked hard all week – making pieces, painting them with underglaze
and painting their chess boards. As this was only a “morning camp,” they had
just five days (less than 20 hours) to get everything done! One day we skipped lunch,
and today it was close – as Ethan was still building his last piece just minutes before
class ended!!! Whew… another week done! But we made it.


Categories: bike, sunrise

I’m back from pedaling the Northwoods of Wisconsin.
And back to pedaling the Chicago lakefront for my sunrise rides.
Vacation was great… but then again, so was this morning’s sunrise!
Plus, no tent to pack up… no port-o-potty… no cue sheets… no arrows to follow…
Just a beautiful morning.


Categories: art fair

Mark your calendar… we’re just two weeks away from the
Evanston Lakeshore Fine Art Fair.
Saturday, August 1st & Sunday, August 2nd.

Located in Dawes Park along the beautiful lakefront of Lake Michigan
on Sheridan Road in Evanston at Church Street. I will once again be in Booth #43
at the southeast end of the pond. And this year, my friend & metalsmith
Sarah Chapman will be right next door! We’re gonna be neighbors!!! Yeah!!!

So mark your calendars… it’s just two weeks away!

Categories: nature

Okay… so a week in the woods, a week of pedaling… and a week of death.
Yep, as many of you may know, I have an odd obsession with roadkill.
I’m intrigued by the drama of death, the final pose, the choice that was made
to even try to cross the road… and the miracle of nature and how it reclaims its own.
So as I pedal the miles, I frequently stop to “memorialize” those who’ve passed.

So… let me share some of my peculiar obsession…
for the squeamish… read no further!






Categories: bike

After hundreds of miles of pedaling through the Northwoods of Wisconsin…
it was finally time to head home. Tired… with a lot of smelly clothes!!!
Regardless, we had a wonderful time, met a lot of great people, saw a lot of
beautiful scenery and had a wonderful time up north!


Including “The Boys” who we met along the way… John, Brian & Karl. A wacky group
of friends who made us laugh along the way… and taught us a new card game to boot!

So the shuttle made it back to Waunakee where we had parked the car.
We drove the rest of the way home while the sunset was stunning the
whole way home! Another great vacation. Another great adventure!



Categories: bike

So it’s our last day of riding… and once again, it’s raining!
Yet still a good day out on the road. We’ve pedaled all around the Northwoods
and today we made it back to the Telemark Resort to finish the ride.

Yet first, we were treated to a wonderful ride on Lake Owen Road… which is
a beautiful winding, twisting ride through the woods. Very quiet. Very serene.
One of those rides that you really don’t want to end. The rolling hills make you want
to ride fast – up & down, popping over the top of each hill. But the scenery makes you
want to slow down and enjoy the surroundings. If we didn’t need to catch the shuttle
bus back home… I would have ridden it again!