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

So tonight was Week #10 of our Beginning Wheel class. Boy this session really flew by?!
But tonight was the last class of the session – which we generally celebrate with a
potluck and sharing of pots & stories. Lots of food.. lots of fun… lots of desserts!!!
And then to cap it off, I challenged my students at the beginning of class with the idea
of doing a “bowl exchange” at the end of class. Everyone stepped it up and brought
a pot into class to exchange. So I “hid them” in brown bags so the exchange would be
a bit more anonymous, with a chance to trade & switch it up ala White Elephant games!!!

After all of the trading, and almost everyone having taken their turn, it came down to
two bags and two people to choose… me and Pam. Oddly enough, the pots in the
last two bags were by me and Pam?! Who’da thunk?! So I got Pam’s and Pam got mine.
Even stranger… of the whole class, we were the only two who had “donated” two pieces
into the mix. So I got two bowls by Pam, and she got a mug and a mini bowl of mine!
Her bowls were very sweet – one simple shino, the other subtle & creamy yellow salt.

Categories: kiln firing, pottery, process, production

With the Schaumburg Prairie Fine Arts Festival right around the corner…
and final preparations, pricing & packing well under way, I decided to add one
more kiln just to add a little more pressure into my already hectic week?!

So today I helped load a cone 10 reduction kiln with a few more pieces for the show.
I’m sharing the kiln with two other studio members who are getting ready for their
art fairs the following weekend. The back stack of shelves is all Marian’s, while the
front is a mix of mine , Karen’s and Marian’s.

So the kiln is loaded and will be fired all day tomorrow… cooled on Thursday…
and unloaded on Friday just in time to come to the art fair – without a moment to spare!
Glazed, stacked, packed and ready to go… after Karen makes one last check!

Categories: bike

Another hot & humid afternoon in the 90′s… so why not go for another bike ride?!
It was cooler this morning, but this afternoon the humidity was back, as was the heat!
And for most of the ride, I had one thing on my mind…

Categories: special events, television

Last night was 5-1/2 hours of “LOST”  fun…
the series ended… and I miss them all already… I’m such a loser!

So… did they answer all of our questions?…  NO.
Did they resolve all of our concerns, theories & reservations?… NO.
Was it a beautifully filmed episode that we will talk about for years to come?… YES.
Was there action, drama, comedy, closure, redemption and more?… YES.
Was I pleased with the ending?… YES.  Was I “thrilled” with the ending?… NOT SO MUCH.

But the more I’ve thought about it today, the more I like it, the more I appreciate it.
I think they gave us a lot of answers, but left us with a lot of topics for us to ponder.
Much like the rest of the “LOST” season. Why should we have expected anything else?!
I think they were brilliant in the way they crafted the entire series so that it “connected”
with each of us in a different way. I think that how you’ve interpreted “LOST” says a lot
about you as a person. For the past six years, we’ve all viewed it, discussed it, critiqued it,
and analyzed every little clue – all based on our own experiences & beliefs.

I still maintain that this has been my favorite show on television ever!
And that’s a strong statement from someone who takes his television watching seriously.
The show was brilliantly crafted, well written, well acted and it gave us all a lot to think about.
It was more than a show to sit on the couch and watch. It made you think. You had to work
for it. Piecing together the clues, catching the symbolism and foreshadowing, making theories.
And I still think that some of MY theories were so much better than what they told us.

In the end, it wasn’t so much about The Island, Jacob, Widmore, Ben and the Others.
It was all about Jack… and always has been. And how his journey was affected by everyone
else on the Island. How they all impacted his own journey. And how they all needed each
other. The episode does make one stop & think about the important people in your life.
And hope that they might be there in the end to help you “let go” as they did for Jack.

I loved the entire journey. What a great place to escape to each week.
Even the episodes that most people hated… dare I say Paolo & Nikki.
Thank you to the creators & writers for sharing such a wonderful experience with us!

I’m already planning on watching the entire show again from the beginning.
I’m hoping to see different clues & hints along the way, now that we know what happens
in the end. It’s been a long and wonderful journey with all of our friends who crashed
in Hawaii. But now it’s over… and what am I going to obsess about now?!

Categories: bike, sunrise

After a very long night of “LOST”… and a very warm evening in Chicago…
it was quite early & quite refreshing to ride this morning with a a hazy sunrise
and some much welcomed cool breezes along the lakefront!

Categories: friends, television

With the finale of “LOST” coming tonight… I just realized that the “answer”
to everything on the Island has been staring me in the face all along. Who knew that
the overall theme would be captured in a set of little bottles I’ve had for years
as part of my Cory McCrory Collection!!! Go figure… luckily, they each have stoppers!

Categories: classes, lillstreet

Registration has begun at Lillstreet Art Center for the Early Summer 4-week session
and the Summer 8-week session. I will be teaching again on Tuesday evenings for both.
It is a Beginning & Advanced Beginning Wheelthrowing class. Ideal for those who have
never touched clay, as well as those who have some basic throwing skills but want more
time & instruction to further their skills. Sign-up soon… my class tends to fill up quickly!

Early Summer Session – 4 weeks: June 8th through June 29th
Summer Session – 8 weeks: July 13th though September 31st.

Note: if you are a full-fledged-never-thrown-on-a-wheel-before-beginner, I would highly
recommend the 8-week session over the 4-week session. It is tough to learn the entire
pottery process in just 4-weeks. Treat yourself to 8-weeks of fun… you’ll learn a lot more!

Contact Lillstreet Art Center or register online today!

Categories: process, production, studio

So the Schaumburg Prairie Fine Arts Festival is just one week away!
And while I probably have more than enough work ready for the show, I definitely
suffer from that “uncureable artist disease” symptomatic of ALWAYS thinking
that you need to make more! Must make more… glaze more… finish more… in a week!

So I started off today with high expectations of making entire electric kiln’s worth of
terra cotta pieces – as they are low-fired and cone be finished with a single electric kiln.
Theoretically, I could make everything today, let it dry  over the weekend, glaze it on
Monday, load the kiln on Tuesday, fire on Wednesday, and unload on Friday…
just in time for the weekend’s art fair! But then… reality set in!

As I’m sharing a cone 10 reduction kiln on Wednesday, I still had some glazing to do for that.
And I thought better of glazing the work that is already done… instead of adding a whole
bunch of pressure on myself to crank out some last minute work.

So tonight I glazed some more pieces for next week’s kiln. As it is mostly Marian’s kiln,
I’m focusing my efforts more on smaller pieces, berry bowls and “kiln filler.” So I pulled out
my buckets of glazed, stirred them up, and started the night’s activities…

But still, after a night of glazing…. there’s still a few more piles of bisque waiting in the wings!
Already waxed, dried and stacked – with paper in between to keep the wax from transferring.

Categories: pottery, tiles

After spending the morning working in the garden trying to some quick weeding, pruning
and perennial-splitting done… I touched up my basement tile window! Again…

The basement windows of my condo have a metal security grid attached to the exterior.
Rather unsightly. But when you attach a few tiles to the grid… suddenly, it’s a work of art!

Unfortunately, a few of the tiles have a tendency to “disappear.” I guess that’s part of the game
when you do outdoor “public art.” You want to make it for everyone to enjoy, but not everyone
respects it of what it is. Art. So, I’ve attached them to the metal security grid with black,
plastic zip-ties. But somehow, every once in a while, a tile or two… or three… or seven…
show up missing. No broken pieces? No snipped zip-ties pieces? Not sure where they head
off to. But in my mind I’ve “decided” that they are chosen by some of the Catholic school kids
down the street who LOVED it so much that they had to have a piece of it for themselves.
Somehow, that makes me feel better. So that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Categories: bike, sunrise