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

Same day… different saddle.
After spending the afternoon in the studio… getting dirty again…
with the sunshine “mocking me” and calling me out to play… I finally gave in.
So I rushed home, zero’d out my bike’s computer odometer…


…pumped up the the tires… threw on a few layers… then a few more… and head out
to pedal a few miles along the lakefront. And boy did it feel great to be back on the bike!
Okay, so I didn’ tmake it as far as I would have liked to. The sun started to go down.
And the bike path just south of Fullerton is one big icy “glacier” covering the trail.



Categories: pottery, process, production, studio

Like I’ve said before, it’s kind of tough for me to get back into the studio
and start up the full-production routine again after the holidays. It seems
like I’ve been so busy for so long. And everything at the studio is clean…
empty… not wet… nothing drying… nothing urgent. So why hurry into it?



Well, today was the big kick-off. I finally sat down to do some throwing.
Back in the saddle so to speak. And what to start with?… mugs, of course!!!
We started the holiday season with over 100 mugs at the Holiday Home Show.
And now the inventory needs to be seriously replenished. So I wedged up some clay…
and boy did it feel great to get dirty again.


And then I threw the basic cylinders that will get stamped, trimmed, handled, slipped, dried,
fired, glazed and fired again in the weeks to come! It felt great to be back in the saddle again!



Categories: television

So I was just adding some dates to my calendar… classes… art fairs… deadlines…
and just realized that the much-discussed & President-bumping premiere
of “LOST” Season Six is on Tuesday, February 2nd… February second…
which is also Groundhog’s Day!!!

Have you seen the movie?!
The one with Bill Murray where he keeps waking up at the same time & same day
and it is Groundhog’s Day over… and over… and over again. Things keep repeating.
Slight changes have huge impact on the outcome of his day… the same day!
Over… and over… and over again!  Like his personal “time continuum” is skipping
like a record…  hmmm…. sound familiar here?

Coincidence?…  I doubt it.
Nothing is a coincidence with these people.

Categories: art fair, process

I finally sat down and figured out my Retail Sales Tax.
Another annual tradition…  ouch!

Thanks to all of my customers who stopped by and bought lots of pots this year.
Thanks to everyone who didn’t complain (too much) about the extraordinary
percentage I need to add to every purchase for the Department of Revenue.

But seriously, c’mon… now “logically” I understand that all of that sales tax “money”
I get over the year is really not my money, and never was. It’s just been adding up
and “hangin’ out” in my account for awhile. But it’s still a little painful every time
I have to sit down, calculate some numbers… and then write “that” big check... ouch!

Categories: process, stamps, studio

As the New Year begins, it’s always kind of tough to get started up in the studio again.
Everything is clean & organized from the holiday sales. Decorations are packed up.
I haven’t resumed throwing yet… so nothing is wet. Nothing is drying quickly.
Nothing is in urgent need of my studio attention…

Instead, it’s time to start filling in the 2010 calendar and deciding which art fairs
to apply to. It’s time to finalize and pay my sales tax to the Department of Revenue.
It’s time to “start” organizing my storage room… again… and again…

So it’s been a slow start-up… and tonight I started with the annual tradition!
Making new stamps for the New Year!!!


I start by rolling coils of clay. Once I have a bunch of them rolled out, and they’ve set up,
they’re easier to carve. I use various tools to carve both ends of the coils to create different
patterns. It is important to make clear, concise and deep impressions to make effective
stamps. If the patterns aren’t deep enough, you won’t get good impressions when
they are pressed into a pot later.

So I make a lot of stamps. Some of them will work. Some of them won’t.
Hopefully some of them will make it into the “favorites” category and will be seen
on a LOT of pots later this summer on the art fair circuit. Once these stamps are dry, they
can be bisque fired. Then they’re good to go… ready to be added to my “stamping arsenal.”


Categories: classes, lillstreet, stamps

So our ceramic classes have started up again at Lillstreet Art Center.
Again this session, I am teaching wheelthrowing class for beginners & “advanced” beginners
on Tuesday nights.  Also, again this session, my class is full… with a waiting list!!!

uh oh… what am I going to do when “LOST” starts up on Tuesday nights?…
can you say TiVO?!!!

My class is filled with a great mix of energetic potters-to-be… some brand new to clay,
some brand new to Lillstreet, and some returning for “another tour of duty” in clay.
I have quite a few returning students which is always fun for me… continuing with them
from where we left off last session. We also have a few students “crossing over” and
joining my class from other previous classes. The new ones are in for an adventure…
it’s only Week #2, but they’re already having a great time getting dirty!!!

Next week, in addition to “throwing taller”… we’re also making STAMPS!!!

Categories: movie

I just realized that I never shared my addiction to the movie “Across The Universe.”
Yes, Eddie Izzard reminded me of the movie… and I’ve already watched it over 50 times!
It’s kind of my “default movie” at the studio. On those days when there’s nothing good on TV,
and I don’t know which movie to watch… this is the one I grab the most!

“Across The Universe” came out in 2007 with a creative take on the Vietnam War.
Director Julie Taymor is one my favorites… the most creative & innovative director of today.
She combined the classic hits of The Beatles with memorable plot, characters & visuals.
She’s also the one responsible for “The Lion King: The Musical”… also brilliant!!!


Imagine a mesmerizing soundtrack of all your favorite Beatles songs, worked into a
beautiful storyline that take our main characters Jude, Max & Lucy through the days
surrounding the Vietnam War. With visually stunning images and haunting renditions
of the classic Beatles songs, this movie musical is a brilliant piece of film on all levels.
I love it. And I would recommend it to everyone!

With Jude, Lucy and Max protesting the Vietnam War at a big rally,
before reality sets in and the war hits a little too close to home…


With Prudence, and her rendition of “I Want To Hold Your Hand”…

Julie Taymor Untitled

And my favorite scene… Jude’s take on “Strawberry Fields Forever”…




With special guest star cameos by such stars as Bono, Selma Hayek, Joe Cocker…


and of course… British comedian Eddie Izzard.

Julie Taymor Untitled

But as with any good Hollywood musical… in the end, “All You Need Is Love.”


Categories: inspiration, special events

Last night is was lucky enough to see Eddie Izzard in Concert at The United Center.
It was the first night of the kick-off to his American Tour. And what a kick-off it was!


I must admit that I had heard of Eddie Izzard, but didn’t really know all that much
about him or his comedy. I had seen a few clips. I had seen him on a few talk shows.
Okay… here’s a visual for you… picture him as the Kenneth Branagh of comedy.
I had seen him on “The Riches” with Minnie Driver. So when the opportunity presented
itself to go see him in concert… main floor, 5th row… I was in!!!


He was incredible! Very smart. Very intellectual. With a few punny groaners along the way!
His concert is basically “his take” on the History Of The World. Hysterical. Starting millions
of years ago, explaining the Stone Age, the invention of language, Greeks, Romans, Noah’s
Ark… and God’s presumed “participation” in events. Plus his fascination with Wikipedia
and how it has the answer for EVERYTHING!!! I loved his energy, his style and the way
he tells his stories with characters, voices, movement & sound effects. He’s quite animated!
If you ever have a chance to see Eddie in concert… by all means, go!

And oh, but wait there’s more… as if he weren’t already impressive enough…
At the end of the show, as most people were fleeing the United Center to race to their cars
to wait in the long lines to get out of the parking lot
… a video popped up on the screens.
Apparently, over this past summer, Eddie Izzard participated in  charity event and ran
an impressive 43 marathons in 51 days!!! Can you even imagine?…. The video showed
pictures from the event as he ran all over Britain’s countryside in an impressive
1,105-mile journey to raise money for Sports Relief.


And for those who still can’t quite picture Eddie Izzard…
maybe seeing him as Mr. Kite in my favorite “Across The Universe” will help?!


Categories: television

Okay… so many of you by now know that I lead a very simple life.
I don’t read the newspaper. I don’t watch the news. I don’t do politics, sports or religion.
But when it starts to interfere with my TV obsessions… watch out!!!

So when “word on the street” started up and they were saying that Obama’s speech
might interfere with the 3-hour premiere night of fun of the final season of “LOST”…
I was a bit concerned. And so were many other “LOST” fans… so now the next installment…

According to “The Huffington Post”
forwarded by my friend & fellow “LOST” fan Emily…

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was coy on Friday when it came to offering
a date for the President to deliver the upcoming State of the Union Address. He deflected
questions as to whether the speech before a bicameral gathering of Congress would take
place in January or February and only smiled suggestively when asked whether President
Obama was waiting until health care reform was passed first.

But the press secretary did rule out one possible SOTU date — much to the delight of a
major television network. The speech, Gibbs said, would not take place on the same night
as the three-hour premiere of the final season of ABC’s “Lost”.

“I don’t foresee a scenario in which millions people who hope to finally get some
conclusion with ‘Lost’ are pre-empted by the President,” he said. “You can quote
a senior administration official.”

That response came to a question poised by a noticeably anxious ABC Radio’s
Ann Compton. But — in a reflection of just how freaked out the network is about
a SOTU-“Lost” duel — it didn’t put an end to the concerns.

Towards the end of the briefing, an AP radio reporter asked “on Ann’s behalf” whether
February 2 (the date of the premiere) “was definitely not it for the State of the Union address?”
Gibbs confirmed that to be true, while expressing his “love that all of the sudden ABC [news]
is asking on behalf of ABC [the network].”

At which point a third ABC reporter, White House correspondent Jake Tapper,
chimed in: “How about on behalf of the Dharma Initiative.”

Today’s score?…   Obama: Zero… “The Others”: One
And that’s just a little too close to tap-dancing on the politics line for me! Whew…