Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: kiln firing, pottery, process

Tonight I loaded the soda kiln with all my work for next weekend’s art fair.
Every piece is glazed & wadded – ready to go! Each shelf is placed, filled with pots
then ready to raise the next shelf on the brick posts. I love loading kilns.
It’s a three-dimensional puzzle trying to get as many piece into the kiln
without packing it to tight. If it’s too tight, the soda vapors will not travel through
the stack as well. So it’s a fine balance of keeping enough air space… while packing
it full so I “get my money worth” of the kiln fee!


And all the while packing pots… I’m covering every exposed surface of shelf
with as many small tiles as possible!!! Including that very last shelf I had to squeeze
in there at the very tip-top of the kiln!!! There’s never enough tiles…


Categories: bike, sunrise

This morning’s bike ride was beautiful. Very crisp & clear.
You can definitely tell that summer is ending and fall will quickly be here.


But then I took these shots of the orange sunrise… and my bike of course.
And I couldn’t decide which one was better? Orange #1 or Orange #2?!!!


Categories: nature, photography, pottery, process, production, stamps

Still getting ready for next weekend’s Art In The Barn… and tonight I was glazing!!!
I typically start by inlaying glaze into all of the stamps by filling them all
with glaze and then wiping off the top surface… allowing the glaze that is actually inside
the stamp to stay there. I find that it really helps accentuate the stamp pattern!



After the stamps have been inlaid & wiped, then they each get a liner glaze on the inside.
Some of them might even get a little accent color sprayed on the exterior… and then every
pot needs to be wadded before it can go into the soda kiln. Still have a long ways to go…

Categories: bike, lillstreet, nature, production, sunrise


Another beautiful morning… another beautiful sunrise…
only made better because I was on my bike…


Categories: art fair, pottery, process, production

So I’m still working in the studio and  getting ready for Art in the Barn…
my last outdoor show of the summer – this time in Barrington!
Tonight I loaded my bisque kiln of freshly made pieces. Remember,
the bisque firing is the first firing that makes the work solid, yet porous.
The bisqued pieces are then glazed and fired on more time.

The beauty of the bisque firing is that you can pack the kiln pretty tightly.
Things can touch, things can stack… it’s a 3-D stacking puzzle to fill the kiln
effectively. And luckily… I’m pretty good at it if I do say so myself!!!

The first layer of my kiln was filled with mugs and soap dispensers…


A couple more layers, after stacking bricks & shelves, pots, more bricks & shelves…
then the kiln was finally topped-off with some tumblers, spoon rests and the large
textured slab vases that I made this past week. With two on their sides…


Luckily, everything fit… barely. My pieces are stacked right up to the top.
Just barely clearing the lid when it closes! So this kiln will fire for about 12 hours
tomorrow, then cool overnight and be unloaded Tuesday night. A couple days
to glaze & wad everything… then I load my soda kiln on Friday night and
fire all day Saturday!

Categories: special events

Tonight was my first time enjoying a performance by Redmoon Theater.
They’re a local Chicago theater group known for their eclectic performances.
I’ve seen snippets of their work at other events, but this was my first time
going to a full production. And this one was right along the lakeshore at
Belmont Harbor!!! Yep, outside! Redmoon is known for putting together
their acts and performing their brand of theater in unusual places.


They are well known for their unusual style – full of music, dance, props, puppets, masks,
and wonderful contraptions that become integral to the show. It was an unusual, but
incredible night of theater under the Redmoon!

Categories: cirque du soleil

With a special pre-sale offering to Cirque Club members months ago…
and yes, groupies like myself are of course in the official Cirque Club…
I already have my tickets. And when I bought them way-back-when,
the show was still yet un-named. But who cares… I’m a Cirque groupie!!!
They just teased us with “a new twist on vaudeville.” What the heck
does that mean?… whatever it is, I’m sure it will be great!!!

Today they finally announced the show’s official name…
and I can’t wait to see the debut of the newest Cirque du Soleil show!!!
With Chicago being the official kick-off premiere of the show, it’s going
to be a big event here in the Windy City. Lucky me.


Tickets are now on sale to the general public – get yours right away!!!

ps… Love the name!!!

Categories: friends, masks

Over the years I have kept in touch with my very first “art fair friends.”
Rosene & Gerry were the “lucky” folks who were placed across the aisle from me
at my very first art fair (and I use that term loosely…) out in Sandwich, Illinois.
They were incredibly encouraging & supportive… and even tough they’ve
retired from the “art fair circuit”… they are still incredibly encouraging!

Over the years, they have “accumulated” quite a collection of my work.
Some purchased, some gifted, some traded, some made just for them!!!
One such piece is a special Green Man mask that I made for Gerry. He had
dropped “hints” several times… and I finally surprised him with it as a
special surprise Christmas gift.

So I just got a couple photos from them… which made me laugh…
of their  “playful” little grandchildren playing in the garden…


Categories: friends, special events

Last night was an “awesome” evening… especially if you’re six years old!
I went to see one of the final performance’s of this summer’s Cirque Shanghai
on Navy Pier. And with a generous friend like Kim, I was able to treat my friends
Kel & Kelly and their large clan of kids to a night under the Big Top. When
your friends and their kids make up a group of thirteen… they don’t get many
chances to see great events like this!



All in all it was pretty great… not only did we see an fantastic show… and we got
to spend the night with friends… AND we got to eat Garrett’s Popcorn (new on Navy Pier)…
but I also got the pleasure of sitting next to Anderson. He’s a very energetic
six year old – who sat on the edge of his seat through the entire show screaming
“Awesome” every time something cool would happen. Which to a giddy 6 year old,
was practically
every 30 seconds!


He was so excited that he even passed on the Garrett’s Popcorn….
“Chicago Mix” : cheese popcorn & caramel popcorn combined! And for those of you
who know the addictive nature of Garrett’s Popcorn, you’ll understand
just what he was passing on!!!   MY fingers are still stained orange from the cheese!!!

So the show must have been pretty darn good! And what a great experience
for the kids. We had great seats (thanks to my friend Kim), the kids got complimentary
souvenirs (again, thanks again to my friend Kim), plus they had a chance to meet
the performers and get autographs after the show! And oh, but wait there’s more…
choreographed fireworks at the end of Navy Pier to cap off the evening!
A big night for the kids from Chenoa!!! According to Andy, it was “AWESOME !!!”

It was no Cirque du Soleil, but still…

Categories: inspiration, textures

Look what I just found on the Internet… groovy fun with bricks!!!


It’s all in how you stack them… sequence… rhythm… pattern… movement.

This brick screening wall flanks the South Asian Human Rights Documentation Centre
in Dehli, India. It’s strangely reminiscent of the wall in Harry Potter whose bricks
rotate in a complicated sequence and then magically open out onto Diagon Alley.
The bricks in this wall, too, almost seem to be in motion. Love it.