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

I woke up this morning to the “First Day of Spring” here in Chicago!!!

And to think that yesterday I got outside for a nice long bike ride along the lakefront
wearing biking shorts and a sleeveless jersey… enjoying the sun & warm weather!
Hopefully this will be the LAST of the winter “fun” before Spring really shows up.
Only in Chicago…

Categories: pottery, process, production, stamps

So the latest “batch” of bowls are now trimmed and drying. I’m really diggin’
the newer “twist” on the stamping adventure. We’ll see where it goes from here!

Categories: nature

Not even a week later, my “urban gardening” project has begin to sprout!
And the winner in my “gardening race” is Hollyhock!!!

Categories: bike, seasons, sunrise

This morning was the “official” kick-off of my sunrise morning bike rides!
The weather was nice yesterday – and supposed to be even nicer today. It was
great to get out there and see the sun rising over the lake again. It’s been a very
long winter… and it was wonderful to get my “summer ritual” started up again!

Categories: bike, nature, seasons

As the weather is getting warmer in Chicago, today was a wonderful day
to get out and go for a ride. The lakefront was beautiful, the wind a bit gusty,
but the ride was great! I ended up hanging out down at Promontory Point
for a bit enjoying the day. It was nice to see signs of Spring all around me.
Especially some wonderful moss making its first appearance of the year!

Categories: nature, seasons

Seems like Spring has sprung.
The sun is shining… and one of my orchids bloomed today!

Categories: pottery, production, stamps

Let the stamping continue… slightly larger bowls, slightly “bulge-ier” stamping!
I especially love how the reverse-stamp-divots inside the bowls are becoming
even more prominent. And the rims are becoming a little more decorative as well.
A whole new texture inside the bowl. Can’t wait to see what happens after they’re glazed!

Categories: nature, seasons

The sun is shining… I’m anxiously awaiting Spring… and getting a head start on the plants.
I’ve never actually done it before, but this morning I planted seeds with the hopes of
having a bounty of “cheap” plants to play with when it warms up enough to start playing
in the garden outside! It’s a test… let’s hope it works!

So what am I hoping for?… I planted two “batches” of gourds (my favorite),
cardinal climber vine, poppies, hollyhocks, paper lanterns and black-eyed susan vines.
Plus… since-my-huge-spider-plant-that-enjoys-the-summer-outside-but-comes-inside-
I’m also propagating some sprouts of spider plant.
Coming soon… I’m anticipating a LOT of spiders everywhere! And since they’re one step
away from “weeds”… I may be bequeathing a few of them to friends when they start
to take over?!

Actually, this spider plant originally came from a couple old art fair friends of mine.
Way back in the day when I was first starting out, I did a few “craft” fairs. One of them
was out at the Huntley Outlet Mall. Classy, huh? Anyway, one of my booth-neighbors
was a gardener that made rustic planters & containers filled with plants. At the end
of the show, they were packing up and quickly running out of space in their truck. They
asked if I would want to take any of the plants off their hands to make room in their truck.
Of course I said yes… not knowing that they would give me a full flat of spider plants
and more! They’ve been growing strong ever since… until the freezing air incident!

Categories: artists, inspiration, process, production, stamps

So last night I watched Kristen Kieffer’s new DVD about surface decoration.
Chapter One dealt with stamping… which you know I love. But one of her techniques
includes stamping that “bulges” and alters the shape a bit more than I’m used to.
And since I had some “plain” bowls waiting for some stamping… I thought I’d give it a try.
I like the result… however, I really want to make a few new stamps to go a little further
and “explore” the possibilities a little more! Thank you Kristen for the inspiration…

Categories: artists, inspiration, stamps

While I was working in the studio tonight, I was also watching Kristen Kieffer’s
new DVD about surface decoration. It’s a very informative DVD with twelve chapters
on twelve different techniques. Chapter One was of course my favorite… all about stamps!!!
All in all, here techniques are very informative and encouraging for all skill levels. I really
liked how her presentation style was very calming & professional. She demonstrates each
of the twelve different techniques – making them each look relatively simple and accessible
for everyone. From stamping to slip trailing, from sgraffito to mishima, from banding to
her own slip technique she refers to as “Dairy Queen.” Something for everybody!
Of course the key is making it “your own” instead of just trying to reproduce her work!

Next up?… I need to make some new stamps! Her method of stamp-making is different
from mine. And I’m looking forward to creating a few new ones with her technique to see
how it goes. Her personal pottery “design aesthetic” seems to be much like my own…
precise, repetitive, patterned, textured. Sound familiar?

So here’s the deal… if you like her style, or if you’re just looking to learn some new surface
decoration techniques – this is the DVD for you!!! Check it out and order your own copy.
Go to and get your own Kristen Kieffer DVD today!