Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: inspiration, nature, pottery, process, production, stamps, sunrise, textures

Another night of stamping in the studio. More pots… more stamps… more fun!
Still working to get some new work ready for the holidays. I have three glaze kilns lined up
in the coming weeks… gotta get the pieces thrown, stamped & trimmed…
and dried in time to get them bisqued & glazed for the kiln firings! Busy, busy…

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gary-jackson-studio-stamping2

Categories: studio
Categories: inspiration, photography, pottery, process, production, stamps, studio, textures

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Stampin’ round & round… quite literally!

Categories: bike

A fitting end to a wonderful weekend.
Once again, The Hilly Hundred has turned out to be my favorite bike ride of the year!
Not only was the ride incredible, I also got to play with my friends Nancy & Chris.
The scenery was incredible. The rolling hills. The autumnal colors. Perfection.
But then to top it off – the sky decided to give us a phenomenal show as we drove home.
Looking out my driver’s side door, taking pictures as I’m driving… stunning.

A beautiful ending to a beautifully Hilly weekend.

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Categories: bike

Yesterday turned out to be a wonderful day of riding.
The weather cleared up, after lunch it warmed up… and today should be even better!

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Today started off with a beautiful sunrise and the prediction of much better weather!
So we were all hoping for another wonderful day of riding. We started the ride with a few
rolling hills – enough to warm up the muscles, and require a few layers to come off quickly!

Here’s a quick list of some of the best hills for Sunday…
Photograph Hill – 0.3 miles long at 14.5% incline
Anonymous Hill – 0.4 miles long at 13.3% incline
Bean Blossom Hill – 2.0 miles long at 17.2% incline
Turkey Track Road – 0.6 miles long at 11.0% incline
Salem Church Hill – 0.5 miles long at 11.0% incline
Mount Tabor – 0.2 miles long at 20.2% incline - my arch nemesis!!!
Mt. Carmel Road – 0.7 miles long at 13.0% incline
Water Tower Hill – 0.8 miles long at 17.0% incline

That’s a total of 50 miles… and 4,156 feet of hill climbing for the day!!!

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About 15 miles into the ride, we have our first rest stop for breakfast! The three of us
enjoy some donuts, bagels, apple cider and some more live bluegrass music. After a
brief stop, we head off – and separated from Nancy who had chosen the shorter route.

Mid-morning, we rode up Bean Blossom Hill, a long, drawn-out curving hill.
It’s a strenuous ride… with a great pay-off at the top. Beautiful scenery and great place
to catch your breath. Chris and I stopped at the top to enjoy the color before heading off.

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As you leave the top of Bean Blossom Hill, the pay-off begins… with the rolling downhill.
Curving… rolling… trees… leaves… wonderful. Especially the scenic vistas along the way.
Chris and I are never the ones who fly past it – never stopping to appreciate it.
I’ve often said that one of the best parts of biking… is stopping.

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sassafras

When you take a moment to stop and get off the bike, you can appreciate the smaller
details and the natural beauty around you. Including the random sighting of my
favorite – the yellowed sassafras leaves seen above.

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Frequently, while Chris and I are stopped for another “Kodak moment”…
the rest of the biking pack keeps flying by… presumably not even noticing
the beauty they’re rolling right past!

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After Bean Blossom Hill, we roll into lunch and meet up with Nancy for another
great fried chicken meal. After lunch we pedal on towards my arch-nemesis…
Mt. Tabor. It’s the steepest hill of the entire ride. It’s a steep incline straight up
with a sharp right hand turn at the top where you need to keep going even further.
It’s so steep that you climb it really slow, plugging away, huffing & puffing. I finally
made it to the top, met up with Chris – and we head off to the last rest stop
in Stinesville… and more apple cider! The downhill ride into Stinesville is so steep
and full of switchbacks that one of the houses actually sets up a dozen bales of hay
against their house for those bikers that may not be able to make the sharp turn!!!

apple-cider

After our stop in Stinesville, Chris and I head out for the final leg of the ride.
The weather was perfect, and more layers were coming off – by now,
down to a sleeveless jersey! Beautiful weather AND beautiful scenery!!!

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At the end of the route, we meet back up with Nancy who had finished before us.
We all had a wonderful time riding the hills of southern Indiana – over 7,000 feet
of vertical elevation gain… and some equally great downhills along the way.
A beautiful end to another beautiful weekend on my bike!

Categories: bike, sunrise

A beautiful start to what was going to be a wonderful day of pedaling!
A much better way to wake up in the morning that the cold rain of yesterday.
Too bad all of the school’s parking lot lights were in the way!

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Categories: bike

It’s finally here – my favorite bike ride of the year!!!… every year!!!

The Hilly Hundred down in Brown County of southern Indiana.
Joined by my biking friends Chris & Nancy, we set off for Bloomington
on Friday. We checked in, set out our sleeping bags, did some great shopping
in the Bike Expo Tent and then set out for a great pre-ride dinner!

sunday

Saturday morning we woke up to dark skies, cold winds & misty rain.
So we decided to sleep in a little longer and start a little later. Luckily, our delayed
start worked out as planned and the rain had stopped by the time we started pedaling.
As the day went on, and we rolled over more & more hills, the sun came out…
the chill warmed up and it became a beautiful day for biking.

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The Hilly Hundred is two days of riding through the beautiful hills of Brown County.
It’s 50 miles of fun on Saturday, and another 50 miles of fun on Sunday. Well-marked
and well-supported, the ride is enjoyable for one and all. This year, the ride was
a week later than usual – which paid off with spectacular fall color.

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Throughout the day, we pedaled up over 4,000 feet of vertical incline. Some of them
steep, some of them long and drawn out. It’s the steep ones that kill me. Some of them
are more than 2o% incline! So while we pedal up the hills, there are always a few
people walking the hills. With about 5,000 bicyclists descending upon Bloomington,
there are riders of all ages, sizes and shapes!

Here’s a quick list of some of the best hills for Saturday…
Heartbreak Hill – 0.8 miles long at 11.7% incline
Three Sisters Hills – 1.3 miles long at 16.0% incline
Niece #1 Hill – 0.2 miles long at 11.0% incline
Niece #2 Hill – 0.2 miles long at 18.0% incline
Neill Hill – 0.6 miles long at 14.0% incline
No Name Hill – 0.3 miles long at 17.2% incline
New Hope Hill – 1.2 miles long at 6.6% incline
Cemetery Hil – 0.6 miles long at 14.0% incline
Water Tower Hill – 0.8 miles long at 17.0% incline

That’s a total of 49.4 miles… and 4,372 feet of hill climbing for the day!!!

It was actually the very first hill that tested my ability… and my bike!
As we were headed up the first hill, I went to shift down to make it a little easier.
Only to hear a very loud clacking sound – as my derailleur was hitting the spokes
of my back tire! No way to downshift – just got to muscle it up! At least until we
made it to the first rest stop… for donuts, bagels, bluegrass and a bike mechanic
who fixed my derailleur! It was only then that our discussion turned to my
lack of knowledge & experience in downshifting to the small chain ring. For years,
I’ve been muscling it up hills instead of spinning in the lower gears!

Lunch was a little chilly – so we downed our fried chicken, pasta salad, bean salad,
bananas, cookies and more then continued out journey down the road!

Towards the end of the day, they “treat us” to a ride up Cemetery Hill.
A short, but steep incline leading up to a cemetery at the top… the perfect place to stop,
relax, catch your breath… and this time, remove a few more layers of clothing!

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So while Nancy rested… so did my bike!
Getting ready for one final big climb up Water Tower Hill.

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More fun tomorrow… more hills… more miles… more food… more apple cider!

Categories: process, studio

One of my ceramic studio “neighbors” was firing a bisque kiln this evening
of her larger sculptural work. She didn’t have enough work to quite fill the kiln…
so lucky for me, I had some pieces that were dry and ready to go! Elena loaded
my stuff in the lower back, and hers on top and in front.

elenas-bisque-kiln

I love how my pieces pack so tightly together – and then her pieces
are so large & abstract in front of them! Nice contrast!!! Great juxtaposition!

Categories: bike

As the weather continues to be gray & rainy here in Chicago…
this morning’s bike ride was yet again… another shade of gray!!!

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Categories: art fair, pottery, production, special events

One month.
That’s it… shocking, I know. It kind of caught me a bit off guard too.

One month.
That’s how long we have until the annual
“My Home For The Holidays Home Show.”
Mark your calendars… I know I have… and production will soon be in full swing!

Saturday, November 21st – 10:00am-6:00pm
Sunday, November 22nd – 10:00am-6:00pm