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

When in doubt, go back to basics and make more mugs!
Good thing I love making mugs, huh?
Trust me, they’ll look more like mugs once I stamp, trim & add handles!

Categories: Chicago, Mom & Dad, special events

It’s been a busy two nights. Two nights of fun. Two night of music.
Two nights under the stars enjoying fine music, friends and food at Ravinia!
Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, Illinois is known for bringing a wide assortment
of music to the northern suburbs. Ravinia is a music venue with a large pavilion
and an even larger grassy meadow surrounding it with “lawn seats” for those of us
too cheap to pay for pavilion seats… plus the picnic is a BIG part of the experience!

So Friday night, after camp, I went up to Ravinia with my friend Nancy for a fun night
of retro fun. As a kid of the 70′s, I sang along and knew every word… as the concert was
a tribute to ABBA. Yes, it was a night with Fernando, Chiquitita and the Dancing Queen!
Okay, so it wasn’t the “real” ABBA – as they no longer perform and keep raking in
the royalty checks! Imagine how much they got from the musical & movie adaptation
of “Mamma Mia” – not to mention the resurgence of their own ABBA popularity.
Ravinia was packed – and SOLD OUT… including the lawn!

Then tonight, I returned for another night of music with my parents, aunt & cousin
for a night in the park with night of Broadway melodies. It was a night to celebrate
the 80th birthday of Broadway lyricist Stephen Sondheim. Famous for his wonderful
lyrics for many of the most popular modern musicals; including Gypsy, Sweeney Todd,
Sunday In The Park With George, Passions
, and A Little Night Music. The orchestra was
great – with vocal performances by Broadway legends Patti LuPone, Audra McDonald,
Michael Cerveris and George Hearn. I was a bit disappointed that the show was kind of short.
And they skipped over a lot of Sondheim classics like West Side Story and Into The Woods.
Plus, I’m not a huge fan of Patti LuPone – I think she’s overrated, a little brassy and annoying.
Audra McDonald was incredible, as were both gentlemen. So, even though the show wasn’t
everything I had hoped for, the evening was still great fun. Enjoying the park, the gardens,
the sculptures, the food and the fun with my family. Another fun night under the stars!

So, all in all it was another wonderful night at Ravinia Festival. Plus, we got to see a lot of
“beautiful people” as tonight was also the Ravinia Women’s Club fundraising black-tie gala!
So there were a lot of heavy-hitters in their finery milling about – plus the huge, decked-out
gala tent out in the large meadow area. Tuxes, ball gowns, ladies who lunch and more!

For the schedule of upcoming shows, check out the Ravinia website…
www.Ravinia.org

Categories: blogs

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Categories: art fair, artists, friends

Next weekend is the Evanston Lakeshore Arts Festival.
It’s a beautiful show along the shore of Lake Michigan in the town of Evanston.
Just a few minutes north of Chicago along Sheridan Road at Church Street.
In Dawes Park, I will once again be in Booth #43 right next to my friend
& metalsmith Sarah C. Chapman. We both hope to see you… by the way,
we’re down at the south end of the pond, next to the lake!

38th Annual Evanston Lakeshore Arts Festival
Saturday, August 7th – 11:00am-6:00pm
Sunday, August 8th – 11:00am-6:00pm

Categories: summer camp

So we just had our FEAST!… with a ton of great food and desserts…
and finished all of our projects! Plus, added one more just for today!

So the copper utensil came out of the tumbler all polished and tempered.
The kids had to do a few “refinements” to get the tabs to fit into their clay handles.
A dab of two-part epoxy and we assembled all of the knives, forks & spoons!

They then had the opportunity to make another metal piece – a thematic cookie cutter!
With a bit of design, a touch of metalwork and a little wire “stitching” they each made
a copper cookie cutter to complete their thematic set.

After the FEAST, we put together our plates, cups & silverware so everyone could
see each others pieces all put together – and how their theme played through all pieces.
From a set of  “Peace, Love & Happiness”… to flowers & ivy, aquatic, Legos, Jamaica,
dogs, mythology and even more flowers! Plus hippos, volcanoes and much more!

Categories: summer camp

So we completed the clay portion of our camp, and we’ve all moved over to the
Metals Dept. to start work on their silverware. We discussed design and how they
can incorporate their silverware into the theme of their clay plates. Once they each
had a plan… we started cutting out the pieces of copper. Lots of sawing…
followed by lots of filing, lots of pounding, lots of shaping, lots of sanding, lots of fun!
The kids have been doing great – everyone’s right on track… and tomorrow we FEAST!!!

Categories: bike, special events

As if this morning’s sunrise weren’t exciting enough, I also passed another
big mileage milestone this morning. As I was pedaling along North Avenue Beach
I passed my 2,000-mile mark for the year! A milestone morning…
and a nice shot of where it happened – right in front of the Chicago skyline!

Categories: bike, sunrise

It was a big morning with a big sunrise!
The clouds were dramatic and kept changing the colors of the sky
as the sun continued to rise throughout the morning. Scroll down quickly
and you can almost see the sky change as I did this morning! And yes… I took
a LOT of photographs today – well over a hundred shots as the sky kept changing
and getting better. Just when you think you got it, it changed again… and again!
What a morning. What a ride. What a sunrise!

Categories: bike, nature

With another afternoon bike ride up to the Chicago Botanic Gardens,
it has been incredible to watch the woods, leaves & flowers change over the seasons.
Today it was the vibrant summer flowers that caught our attention.

Categories: special events

What could be better than a bag of fresh marshmallows?
A bag of REALLY BIG marshmallows!!!

Yes it’s true. These marshmallows are huge!… thank you Campfire brand!
I was first introduced to them over the Fourth of July down at Kel & Kelly’s.
I couldn’t believe it. Let’s just say… I have the palate of a four-year-old.
Nothing is ever too sweet. Nothing is ever too rich. Never too much frosting!
And I have on occasion polished off an entire bag of marshmallows on my own!

I was excited to see that they have made their way up to my grocery store…
so I picked up a bag of these HUGE confections for my adult wheel class tonight.
I find class is always more fun when they’re hopped up on sugar.
The same holds true for myself too… so I picked up a second bag for myself!!!

It’s already half gone!