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

One of the most frequent questions asked at every art fair, including this weekend…
“How long does it take to make this?”

And there’s never an easy answer. I try to explain that it is a “process” and that
I frequently have several pieces all going at the same time, at different stages
in the process. This season I’ve created a picture postcard to handout at the art fairs
to help illustrate the pottery process in just 12 easy steps! Here’s quick preview…

1. Wedging


2. Throwing


3. Stamping


4. Trimming


5. Attaching


6. Slip Decorating


7. Bisque Firing


8. Glazing


9. Kiln Loading


10. Firing.


11. Admiring


12. Marketing

As for marketing… no one’s going to do it for you if you don’t do it for yourself.
Luckily, I have many years of corporate retail advertising & marketing experience
prior to my pottery career. I think that experience definitely helps any artist
who is trying to make a go of it as a full-time, self-supporting artist.

For a more informative description of the complete “process,” be sure to check out
the “Pottery Process” page on this website – see the top right corner to find the tab!

Categories: nature

After the hectic-ness of the weekend art fair, it was great to spend a rainy day
at home today enjoying the time off to celebrate Memorial Day. Sleeping late…
relaxing… watching TV… napping… relaxing… okay, well there were a couple
hours spent at the studio glazing a few more pots going into another cone 10
kiln today…
then back home… relaxing… snacking… did I mention napping?…
and enjoying some flowers in two of my vases on my fireplace mantle!

Categories: art fair

Day Two is finally complete – with all of my pots, shelving and tent back
in my basement storage room. It was a long, warm weekend in Schaumburg,
but it felt great to be out there kicking of another art fair season. The weekend
was quite successful, and a lot of fun seeing some old friends and making new ones.

Today was another beautiful day – just as warm, but a little breezier than yesterday.
There was a good flow of customers all day, including some friends and “groupies.”
Including Bill & Sheila – as well as Mitch, who recently started taking pottery classes
at Lillstreet and is the brother of my college friend Kel.

And now that the Schaumburg Art Fair is done… I get to do it all over again
in just two weeks. The Hinsdale Fine Arts Festival is just two weeks away!
And luckily, we’ve already packed everything up for that fair… at the same time
we packed for Schaumburg. We kind of split my inventory in half… half going
to Schaumburg, and half waiting to go to Hinsdale. So there will be a lot of
new work coming to Hinsdale. Mark your calendars today…

Hinsdale Fine Arts Festival
Saturday, June 12th & Sunday, June 13th.

Categories: art fair, friends

Well, we’ve survived Schaumburg Day One… and it was a great day!
Good sun. Good sweat. Good sales. Plus it feels good to have one day over with!
One day down, one day to go…

We started this morning early with the full booth set-up… I prefer Friday afternoon
set-ups as it makes Saturday less frantic.
But we finished setting up just in time!
The show “officially” started at 10:00am – but customers were already shopping by 9:30am.
So even though we were still doing some finishing touches, we were also more than ready
to meet some customers and make some sales!

I had a good day – lots of fun, lots of sales, and lots of new friends we met along the way.
And not just the new customers, but always great to see the returning “groupies” as well.
As many of you know. I also have my parents right there once again helping out all day.
Plus my Aunt, sister, brother-in-law and niece Taylor stopped by to visit as well!

But the biggest surprise of the day was a visit by my old college friends Keith & Julie,
and their newly engaged daughter Katie - all of whom I had no idea they would be coming!
It’s been about a year since they surprised me last year that the Hinsdale Art Fair. So imagine
my surprise to suddenly turn around, look up and see some “flash-from-your-past” friends
right there at the entrance of my booth… color me shocked, sweaty & glad to see old friends!
It was great to see them (all the way up from Goodfield, Illinois) – and great to hear that they
are faithful blog readers and “Fans” on Facebook.

So I’m home tonight, doing two quick loads of laundry, and hoping to get a good night’s sleep
tonight so that I’m all ready for Day Two of the Schaumburg Prairie Fine Arts Festival!
Let’s hope for another successful day tomorrow… and more fun too!

Categories: art fair, pottery

Trying not to focus on smashed pots… but instead, appreciating the new ones!
Just got home from the studio with some new pots hot out of the kiln!
I’m especially pleased with the latest batch of berry bowls which will all be coming
to the art fair tomorrow. As well as these cute little circular & rectangular dishes!

Categories: art fair

It’s been awhile since we’ve gone through the whole “art fair packing ritual.”
For the most part it went very smoothly… however…

Mental note to self… and anyone else who wants to learn from my disaster…
ceramic wall pockets versus cement floors is never a good combination.
That damn gravity wins every time!!! Too bad, so sad… gotta make some more…

Categories: art fair

This weekend is the Schaumburg Prairie Fine Arts Festival… and I’m just about done
packing up for the evening. We finished filling the van with all the necessities… besides
a LOT of pottery, it’s the tent, the shelves, the bags, the supplies and more! All that stuff
that fills up the van quickly… and wasn’t nearly as much fun to make! So now I’m off to
the studio to grab some warm pots out of the last-minute kiln, slap a price tag on
and we’re good to go!

Schaumburg Prairie Fine Arts Festival
Saturday, May 29th and Sunday, May 30th

10:00am-5:00pm both days – Booth #52
At the Robert O. Atcher Municipal Center, 201 Schaumburg Court in Schaumburg
On the south side of Schaumburg Road, between Roselle and Meachem Roads.
It’s a beautiful park with trees, a pond, grassy areas – as well as live music & food.
They’re predicting good weather for the weekend.. so come put and play in the park!!!

Categories: production, tiles

I spent the evening tonight gluing tiles together to make more of my “ClayQuilts.”
May sound easy… but the tiles slip & slide before the dry. So it’s a constant game
of trying to realign them into a nice grid before the adhesive dries! Let alone the design
& placement of the tiles. I work hard to make it look easy. I like to call it “forced random.”
Trying hard to “force the illusion” of random tile placement. Which is by no means random!!!

Categories: bike, nature, special events

It was a beautiful day in Chicago today… and I just “had to” go out & play again!
So I hopped on my bike and rode down to Promontory Point and back along the lake.
While pedaling… I passed another mileage milestone! 1,000 miles so far this summer!
Note the hidden decimal point… otherwise, that’s a LOT of miles!!!

Luckily, when I stopped to capture the moment… I was at a beautiful garden known as
The Chicago Fire Department Fallen Firefighter and Paramedic Memorial Park.
Right along the lake, kind of hidden behind McCormick Place. Wonderful colors, textures
& patterns ablaze within the bright flowers! Quite beautiful. Quite fragrant.

Categories: bike, sunrise

With clouds on the horizon, it was an incredible morning on the lakefront
with the promise of a beautiful sunrise…

As the sun continued to rise this morning, it broke through the clouds
and illuminated the morning sky with beautiful shades of orange!