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

Christmas Day was great… giving gifts, getting gifts and lots of food!
It’s so much fun to watch my little niece Taylor enjoy the day so much.
She was ripping open presents… loving every Disney Princess she opened.
Nothing better than the sound of a little kid giggling… all day long!
She also acted as our official “gift-passer-outer-er” for the day…
which included some new pottery tools for me!!!


Mudtools in every style! Green-handled Mudwire tool for cutting pots off the wheel.
Pink-handled Mudwire tool with “squigly” spring wire for textured cutting.
A blue-handled Mudcutter Wiretool with both straight wires and “squigley” ones.
Plus the new Mudshark which combines a cutting knife and a needle tool in one handy
orange handle. Also included, new foam “bumbers” for my Giffin Grip.

Special thanks to my Mom & Dad (aka “my art fair assistants”) for the wonderful gift.
I can’t wait to get back into the studio and put them to use.

Next up?… now I think I need new & improved trimming tools!
I think I need to go to Bison Studios for some really nice ones… Merry Christmas to me!

Categories: Chicago, inspiration, photography, special events, sunrise

So Christmas is officially over, and my gifts have been given with proper surprise.
So now I can share my good news with the rest of you. I didn’t want to share too soon
and ruin the surprise for those who were getting a copy of the book for Christmas!!!
If you run into my friends Gerry & Rosene, don’t tell them… they haven’t gotten their gift yet.
Shhh… keep it quiet… but only from them!

So it’s official – the Chicago photography book published by CBS2 Chicago
has finally been published and distribution has begun. And I made the cut… twice!
Two of my photos were chosen to be published in the book.
I’m very excited!!!
For those who may not remember, sometime last Fall, CBS2 Chicago announced this special
project on their news broadcasts. My dad turned me on to it and I started submitting photos.
The deal was that they were accepting photographs that depicted life in the City.
Photographers from all over submitted images to the website – which were then put up to an
online popularity poll. The more votes your images received, the more likely your image was
to be published in the book. So I submitted several photos, many from my morning biking
sunrise series, and hoped for the best. It wasn’t until early December that we found out
if we had been chosen by the book’s editors for the publication. And I was excited to
make it into the book twice – against a LOT of stiff competition!!!

2,480 photographers

28,144 photos submitted

2,388,443 votes cast

So… after all of that, one of my images found a place on Page 68 in the “Scapes Of All Sorts”
section of the book. It was one of my favorite biking moments of the summer. A surreal
biking moment when the morning fog was literally “illuminated” by the rising sun.

“Misty Morning Glow”


My second image chosen was used on Page 24 in the title page montage (top row, fourth
from the left) for the “Arts, Culture & Food” section of the book. Again, it’s of of my favorites –
this time, it’s my favorite “hidden gem” inside the Chicago Cultural Center…
a beautiful Tiffany stained glass dome in the rotunda.


So that’s it… another great experience… and another great chance to be published!
I hope you all get a chance to find a copy of the book and enjoy the many beautiful images
that capture the essence of Chicago…  and have you heard?… two of them are mine!!!

Categories: seasons, special events

A very Merry Christmas to all of my loyal friends & customers who stopped by
my “Home For The Holiday” Home Shows this season. It was wonderful
to see all of you at my place enjoying some holiday cheer!


Especially those of you who came to the “Mud & Metal Show” on the 20th…
the second of the Home Shows, and scored a wonderful 20% off everything!
It was a one-time-only event to celebrate the season and offer a little shopping
relief during these tough times! Don’t expect it to happen again… it was a
special treat just for this 2009 holiday season! Metalsmith Sarah Chapman and
I thank all of you for stopping by… we hope your purchases make wonderful
gifts for your family & friends… plus the ones you’ve saved for yourself.

Hope you have a wonderful Holiday Season!
Merry Christmas to you all.

Categories: art fair, seasons

As we near the end of the year, the holidays are racing towards us.
And as always, many of you will be shopping last minute to finish off your list.
I, for one, haven’t even started my shopping yet…

So not only am I hosting a second Holiday Home Show for the last-minute shoppers…
with my friend & talented metalsmith Sarah Chapman…  so you can cross off all the
names on your list in one fell-swoop… but I’ve also got a gift for you!


If for some reason you can’t see the above coupon, it is for a free clay ornament!
Just for showing up. No purchase necessary. Limit one coupon per person.
Just my holiday gift to you.

Just print out the coupon and bring it to the Mud & Metal Holiday Home Show.
Sunday, December 20, 2009 – 10:00am-6:00pm
Contact me for address details & directions…

Categories: television

Mark your calendars…
Only 51 days until the premiere of the last & final season of “LOST”.
And here’s a little glimpse of this season’s poster… not sure what any of it means?!


From my recollection, here’s the list of characters shown on the poster from left to right…
some dead, some alive, some “who-knows-anymore-on-this-crazy-Island”?!!!

Daniel, Boone, Miles, Michael, Ana Lucia, Charlotte, Frank, Shannon, Desmond, Mr. Eko,
Kate, Jack, Sawyer, Locke, Benjamin Linus, Sayid, Libby, Sun, Jin, Claire, Hurley, Juliet,
Charlie, Richard Alpert, Bernard, Rose, Vincent.

Yep… I think that’s Libby in the mix?! maybe I’m wrong?! but who else?… Nikki?
I’m so excited…  I can’t wait…  but I can…  I have to…  51 days and counting…

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010 -  let the games begin…

Categories: cirque du soleil

After months of anticipation, I finally went to see Cirque du Soleil’s newest production
“Banana Shpeel” this evening. It’s currently playing at the historic Chicago Theater.
It’s a new twist on vaudeville, and a new direction from the folks at Cirque du Soleil.


Receiving mixed reviews, the “smaller” show fits the smaller venue. It is the first time that
Cirque du Soleil has launched a show in a pre-existing theater. Typically they will bring their
big blue & yellow tent, or build themselves a full-blown, over-the-top theater in Las Vegas.
This time, they have sized down the production for the smaller, more intimate theater space.

Going in, I knew that I should not expect the grand, glorious, over-the-top production
that I love so much. I knew that it was going to be a “new twist” and I was open for anything.
We had even gone to the pre-production lecture a couple weeks ago to learn more
about the how and the creative process & evolution of the show.

The show starts out a little rough with a “sketchy” audition segment… and I was concerned.
But once the show actually gets started, and the dancers kick it into full gear, the “real show”
gets started. For me, the “production numbers” with all the dancers and the acrobatic acts
were the best part. I would consider cutting back on some of the “clown” acts. There are
six clowns who take up a LOT of stage time – and do a lot of yelling at each other. It was a
little too much. Although I did really enjoy Dave’s tenth anniversary with a audience member
scene towards the end of the show… remember?… it was Fall.






All in all, it was a great night. Very enjoyable. Don’t get me wrong…
it’s no evening under Le Grand Chapiteau when they come with a full show.

But it was a wonderful night in the theater. Being the world premiere of “Banana Shpeel,”
Chicago has been treated to a “new twist” from Cirque du Soleil. I think that the show will
continue to evolve and reinvent itself as it plays here in Chicago, and then moves on to
New York City. Hopefully they will get all the kinks worked out… limit the clowns
and give more time to the dancers & Acrobats!!! The best act of the night was definitely
a simple act where a gymnast did some incredible, gravity-defying balancing & contortion
acts on a single pole. A lot of strippers in Vegas could learn a trick or two from this guy!!!


Categories: seasons

So I was driving down Grand Avenue today and saw some great holiday decorations!
Now I have no idea what the store does… what they sell.. what they do…
or what they have such an incredible holiday display?! Don’t care. But I love it.



It looks like it’s just white paper folded, stacked, attached, folded again… etc.
The result is a wonderful origami-esque take on White Christmas. Love it.

Categories: inspiration, movie

So I just watched one of the most visually stunning movies I’ve ever seen.
It was recommended by two of my friends – whose opinions I trust. So I finally
placed it on my Netflix queue.. and boy am I glad I did. They were right.


With every scene well crafted. Every shot perfectly composed. It is a beautiful film.
Director Tarsem Singh does it once again with this visual masterpiece. So the plot
may not be the best ever, and I wasn’t a fan of the ending… but you’ve got to appreciate
the creativity & craftsmanship in this film. It’s visually stunning.




And yes, that is indeed Lee Pace in the lead role… the storyteller who befriends one
of the cutest youngsters ever. Lee Pace… you know, from the gone-but-not-forgotten-
and I’m-still-holding-out-for-it-to-come-back favorite new series in the past couple years…
the cancelled far too quickly show I loved… “Pushing Daisies.”

So take my word for it… and go rent it today!!!  You’ll be glad you did.

Categories: art fair

Mark your calendars now…
Sarah Chapman and I have decided to once again team up for a second
Holiday Home Show at my place. And to celebrate the season, thank our loyal customers
and to help those last-minute shoppers rejoice… we’re offering 20% off everything
for that one day only! Including my already reduced “Tired Of Shlepping Sale” items.
So come for the day, hang out on my sofa… make your list and check it twice…
then finish off all of your last-minute shopping in one fell swoop!

20% off on the 20th
Sunday, December 20th – 10:00am-6:00pm

For address, directions, etc… please contact me by e-mail or phone.
We hope that you’ll be able to join us for the day – and check off that shopping list!

Categories: art fair, artists, friends, My Talented Friends

Another wonderful show… always fun since I’m not an exhibitor!!!
It takes the pressure off… no pottery to shlep… no shelves to set up…
Instead I get to hang out and help my friend & metalsmith Sarah Chapman in her booth.
I get to chat with her customers. Sell people on her wonderful work. And enjoy the
excitement on people’s faces when they decide to buy their first piece of Chapman-wear!

The One-Of-A-Kind Show is a big deal… four days, long hours, hundreds of booths!
And luckily, thousands of shoppers! The show is held annually here in Chicago at the
Merchandise Mart. It fill the entire 8th floor with artists from all over the country.
Sarah Chapman being the best metalsmith there… at least she gets my vote!



So not only did I get to help out my friend Sarah, but I also got a chance to see some
other artist friends – and make a few new ones!

Rebecca Zemans – Another great metalsmith with a lot of great silver & stones!
She’s another Lillstreet studio artist – and she’s adorable. Always fun, always busy.
Every time I tried to stop by and chat… she was busy talking with customers!
Good for her, bad for me…  at least we’ll get to play back at the studios!


Melissa Banks – Rapt In Maille – Melissa is a rock star in the chain maille world.
I have quite a collection of her stainless steel work. She makes incredible designs
by weaving together assorted sizes & styles of simple, round jump rings.


Pflipsen Olivova Studios – We met this great couple last year… and purchased a few
of their incredible Christmas ornaments. I was excited to see that Steve & Katia
of River Falls, Wisconsin were back again. I had to add to my collection. He blows
the glass and she does the metal work. Together, they make wonderful work. And since
their ornaments are too nice to pack away after Christmas, my ever-expanding collection
has now taken up residence on the chandelier in my dining room! And a special thanks
to Sarah… for helping to “feed” my ornament addiction!!!


Kevin Lahvic – Kevin’s paintings are guaranteed to make you smile. He has a wonderful
sense of color blended with a fantastic sense of whimsy. And I LOVE whimsy!!!
Over the past two years, I have collected a few of his small “portraits” which make me
smile every morning as they’re staring back at me from the wall right next to my closet.


Marzena Gabrel – I didn’t meet Marzena “officially” until the end of the show. But once
I stopped in her booth to admire her fiber work, we quickly recognized each other from
“somewhere” on the art fair circuit. We couldn’t figure out where… but I could easily
figure out that she’s a wonderful person who makes beautiful layered & textured
fiber pieces. Great depth & color in her felted pieces.


Scot Schmidt – Scot makes sculptures in limestone resin… similar to tiles, but each one
is handcarved. My parents have seen his work at a number of art fairs, and this time finally
decided to purchase some of his work. They’ve been trying to fill a large wall space in their
living room – and Scot’s work will soon fill the bill. After my parents made their purchase on
Saturday, Scot and I had a chance to talk about them and their “shopping style” on Sunday.