Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: art fair, artists, friends, My Talented Friends

So this past weekend was my last outdoor art fair of the season!
Art In The Barn in Barrington is always a fun show. Well organized. Festive. Fun.
The weather wasn’t all that great on Saturday, but it was much better on Sunday.
Coincidentally, customer attendance wasn’t all that great on Saturday either.
Luckily there were more people out shopping on Sunday. For those of you who
stopped by, it was great to see you as always!

This weekend is typically my “official” kick-off of Fall. I’m one of those who grasps
on to summer as long as possible… not willing to acknowledge that summer may
be ending! So even though Fall is actually my favorite season, I have trouble letting go
of summer. But once I do… I’m “all in” for Fall. And this weekend at Art In The Barn
generally does it for me. The cool, crisp weather. The bales of hay. The mums.
The pumpkins. The gourds. So now it’s fall… and I’m ready!!!

Back to the art fair…
As if selling pots wasn’t enough fun… it’s also seeing my customers love a pot.
I thoroughly enjoy seeing someone pick up a pot to see it better and then start feeling
the textures… which suddenly turns into caressing… and sometimes even purring!
I love seeing my customers find a new piece. Seeing a new texture.  Admiring a glaze.
Over the years I have benefited from some wonderful customers who have become
good friends over the years. It’s always good to see them just to have a laugh or two!

Another benefit is the group of friends I’ve made over the years on the art fair circuit.
It’s great to see them again from fair to fair… to share stories… to share work ideas.
And this year was no different… with just a few of My Talented Friends…

Molly Bitters
One of my favorite metalsmiths and a great booth neighbor! And congratulations
to Molly for winning the “Best of Jewelry” award this weekend. And even better…
we traded work and I got this beautiful intaglio pendant. And I love it!!!
Check out more of Molly’s work at


Cheryl Holz
Cheryl has this great ability to combine colors & textures on a canvas.
Suggestive of nature, maps, legends, scrapbooks and other recognizable
forms, her paintings are layers of brilliance in color. And I’m proud to have
one of her prints hanging in my bedroom… another great art fair trade!
Check out more of Cheryl’s work at


Brad Pogatetz
I had the pleasure of meeting Brad last year as he was my booth neighbor.
This year his booth was in another building with much better lighting & wall space
to display his incredible photography. Brad’s images are spectacular as they focus
on the beauty of run down buildings, rust & deterioration… frequently juxtaposed
with natural elements or the simple geometry of it all. You know how I love rust!!!
Check out more of Brad’s work at


Amy Taylor
Amy is known for making beautiful hinged jewelry. She makes beautiful silver pieces
with beautiful stones and other things. I’ve been a fan of Amy’s work for a few years…
as well as her energy, enthusiasm and passion. This weekend I was admiring her work
when she showed me a new piece with this incredible “stone” inside it. It was beautiful.
Shades of orange & red, pearlescent, lots of depth, lots of chatoyancy. But then she
told me it wasn’t a stone… but instead, a piece of a bowling ball. Get out!!! Too cool.
So, by the end of the fair, we had worked out a deal and she’s making me a custom
bowling ball necklace! I can’t wait to see it…
Check out more of Amy’s work at


Anne Gilna
I first met Anne as my neighbor at the Hinsdale Art Fair. She does beautiful
watercolor paintings – a lot of birds, flowers and other scenes from nature.
Her images are colorful & clean, generally on a simple white background.
We liked them so much, that my parents have purchased a few of her pieces!
Check out more of Anne’s work at


Dorothy Hughes
One of the sweetest ladies you’ll ever meet, Dorothy is a great artist and supporter
of other artists. I’ve known Dorothy for many years since my early years at Lillstreet
Art Center.  Known in many of the Chicago “art circles,” Dorothy has always been
very positive & supportive of my work. She’s the nicest…
Check out more of Dorothy’s work at



October 14th, 2009

Hey Gary-

I just found myself on your website- I’m so flattered to be considered one of your favorite artists!

Regarding the authenticity of some artists at art fairs- I know exactly who you mean, and she’s not the only one. I never want to be a tattle-tale and complain to the committee about a specific person, but it bothers me that they don’t know who is real and who isn’t. Like you, I can tell by observing the “artist” right away.

October 15th, 2009

HEY ANNE – I too don’t want to be “that tattle-tale guy,” but I am definitely willing to spread the word. Hopefully if we all discuss it openly with our customers, we can educate them to see the difference as well.

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