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

Another week back at Summer Camp… and it’s a very special camp!
So exciting that we have a completely full class, plus kids on the waiting list to get in!

It’s my annual collaboration camp where we combine clay & metal in one week.
I co-teach with metalsmith Pam Robinson – I oversee the clay, she does the metal…
and then on Friday we both get to enjoy the Feast Finale. So it’s three times the fun!
Fire... as the clay will be fired in the kiln.
Forge as the metal will be made into silverware.
Feast... as in a great potluck lunch on Friday!

So the way this week’s camp works, on Monday & Tuesday the kids make thematic
dinnerware sets out of terra cotta. The goal is for each kid to make a plate, bowl and cup,
as well as ceramic handles for their silverware. Then on Wednesday & Thursday,
we shift to the metals room where the kids now make their own metal knives, forks & spoons.
On Friday, we will combine their silverware in their ceramic handles. And then we get
to Feast. And celebrate our fun week with a potluck lunch using the dinnerware sets
they’ve each made this week.

And oh, but wait there’s more… as an extra special bonus, we’ve challenged the kids
with one more task! Fun for them… and extra fun for Pam and I. Tomorrow we’re hosting the
2nd Annual Camp Chocolate Chip Cookie Bake-Off. Any of the kids who want to participate
will be bringing in homemade chocolate cookies. Everyone in class will taste the cookies
and vote on their favorite. And yes, I will be supplying the milk!

Categories: Chicago, sunrise

A note from my friend Barbara Finn…
You inquired earlier about those who wanted to continue to receive your early morning
musings and pictures. How about mixing it up a little with the occasional shot of the cityscape
catching the early rays of the sun or a shot from Olive Park.  Or something that reflects the
changing of the seasons from a particular spot so those of us who might be relocating from
this magnificent city would have a consistent photographic record of the different faces
of the city and environs.  I enjoy the shots of flowers that are sprinkled into the mix.
Still appreciating your pastel sunrises and dramatic morning skies.
And don’t mean to step on the art director’s spokes.

So here you go Barbara… an “occasional” sunrise shot with some Chicago “cityscape”
architecture”catching the early rays” instead of my bike! I found it intriguing how the
sunrise reflected off the green glass windows of the Oceanarium… with the Navy Pier
towers way off in the distance. You asked… and here you go!

Categories: Chicago, sunrise

So the morning photos can be spectacular too… even without my bike in the shot!
The boats at Monroe Harbor make a striking contrast to the ever-changing sunrise.

Categories: bike, sunrise

Another beautiful morning ride with a spectacular sunrise!
The colors were spectacular. The clouds were spectacular. My bike ride was spectacular!

Categories: blogs, special events
Categories: kiln firing, process, production

Tonight I unloaded my latest bisque kiln… with a few pieces of terra cotta
thrown in for good measure. The bottom layer was filled with the wall pocket vases
that I made last week. I tried to fit them all in… but ran out of room. One of them
had to squeeze in sideways. And another two had to go to the top shelves!

Also in the kiln, were three new birdhouses just in time for the Evanston Lakeshore Art Fair.
I just need to find the perfect twig to stick into the hole for the perfect perch for our fine
feathered friends as they decide to move into their new residence!

After unloading the kiln, I spent the rest of the evening glazing the wall pockets…
lining them with temoku glaze, inlaying glaze in the stamps, spraying a bit of glaze
for some color accents, and wadding each of them… getting them ready for a soda kiln!

Categories: lillstreet

Well, the official unveiling was yesterday…
“Lillstreet Mandala” celebrates 35 years of Lillstreet history…
and all of the arts & crafts taught and explored there over the years.
From clay to metal, from textiles to mosaics and screenprinting to photography
and so much more. Interspersed throughout the bricolage are hundreds of pieces
& tools from each of the different mediums. Many thanks to Corinne D. Peterson
and her “talented team” for creating this beautiful & commemorative work of art.
I’m honored to be one of the artists represented on the wall forever…
with one of the largest pieces… a full-size vase… just down to the right of center!!!

Stop by and see the new bricolage on the front of Lillstreet Art Center.
On the northeast corner of Ravenswood & Montrose in Chicago.
While you’re there… check out my studio on the second floor – Studio 205 West.

Categories: kiln firing, nature

With crazy storms rolling through Chicago Friday night, I thought we were safe today.
It was cloudy, overcast and wet from the overnight storms, But nothing crazy going on.
So I was looking forward to a day of productive home projects! Laundry, dishes, cleaning,
bills… you know, all those things you put off because it’s nice out and you “need” to go
outside and play!
So I put my laundry in the machine… trying to stay productive…
when all of a sudden the power went out, followed by a huge “BANG.” Great…
and here’s me with my laundry in the washing machines downstairs! And with no power,
there goes my “productive” day at home!!!

So… I just “had to” go for another bike ride to pass the time, right?
And luckily, when I got home a several hours later we were back on.
Apparently, a transformer blew and took out three power poles that were down in the alley
as few blocks away! Made me think how glad I was that my electric kiln at the studio
was fired the day before! I doubt the power outage in my neighborhood would affect the
studio, but it does make you think how much we rely on the electric power to be there
when we need it… and how “trapped” we feel when it’s not there!!!

Categories: bike, sunrise

Another five minutes… the sun’s a little higher…
I’ve pedaled a little further… very little… and the sunrise is still breathtaking!

Categories: bike, sunrise

Just five minutes later… and still breathtaking…