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

Special thanks to everyone who came out to the Barn this weekend to play in the chilly
weather! Perfect for another successful art fair. It was a beautiful Fall weekend – and
great to see so many friendly faces. Some familiar, some not.

Sales went well despite the cold breeze blowing through, the dark clouds overhead…and
the occasional sunshine breaking through. As always, the crowds seem to come in waves.
Slow at times, but packed at others. My favorite of course is when there are a couple people
literally waiting in line to check out. Such a great feeling. Thank you so much to everyone who
waited patiently for us to wrap things up and write a receipt. I’m sure the fundraisers for
the Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital Auxiliary appreciate your patronage too… as they
received 20% of every artists’ sales!

Plus, it’s always a great show to see a lot of my fellow “art-fair-friends.” Over the years,
you develop these friendships with other artists who share the same art fair experiences.
Everyone is so supportive, sharing and ready to help. Some of the friends that I got to
“play with” this weekend…

Beautiful hinged, silver jewlery by Amy Taylor –
Whimsical silver & leather jewelry by Molly Bitters –
Organic oil paintings by Cheryl Holz –
Incredible photography by Brad Pogatetz –
Handbuilt ceramic forms by Dorothy Hughes –
Realistic wildlife watercolor paintings my Anne Gilna –

My biggest complaint, once again this year, is having an artist (and I use that term loosley),
in the booth right next door to me who I believe is not making her own artwork. If you ever
see spectacular artwork that seems too good to be true, it probably is. Sure, she had the
whole story down pat. But after hearing it over & over again all weekend, you start to realize
that the story doesn’t add up. Far too much detail work, for far too cheap. Plus, anytime
you see artwork, pressed perfectly flat, in perfect shrinkwrapped celophane wrapping,
coming out of  brown cardboard box, being sold at virtually wholesale prices… you start to
question the validity of the whole artist credibility. Don’t get me wrong… the work is beautiful,
but I doubt that she’s making it by hand. My vote is a computerized, embroidery machine!

Otherwise, another good weekend playing out in the Barn!?
And thanks again to everyone who ventured out to say hello and see a lot of great art!


C. Yalater

September 28th, 2010

I’m glad you had a successful show at AITB, in spite of the weather. We were not at the Barn this year, our work was not deemed good enough, even though we were there for the past four years with the same type of work. What we need is a computerized embroidery machine.

I know it is very frustrating to have someone like that at the same show you are in. A few years ago we did a show with someone that was selling photographs that they had taken and that were framed by them. At least, that was how they were presented. Because our booth backed up to theirs, I saw the real story. When one picture sold, they would replace it by taking another one, perfectly wrapped in cellophane, from a cardboard box,, and then putting it in a frame which they had removed from another box. Both boxes were clearly stamped “Made in China.” Your embroiderer may be selling handmade embroidered work, but I doubt it is hand embroidered by the “artist” at the Barn and it is not done in THIS country. I guess AITB is only concerned with bringing in 20% of her sales, the provenance of the work be damned. If there were enough doubts, the judges could ask for a demo, or at least pictures of her work in progress. That’s never gonna happen. It’s a shame for people like you, and your “talented friends”, who work hard to perfect your process and bring it to fruition, that you are in the company of charlatans like that.

Anyway, fight the good fight, and know that we and many others have and use your work all the time, and it gives us satisfaction. To put it less kindly, I’ll paraphrase Radiohead;”When I am king, they’ll be first against the wall.”

September 29th, 2010

Thanks for the encouragement.
And I’m sorry that you didn’t make it into the show this year. There was a “new regime” of volunteers coordinating & organizing the show. There were a lot of changes, miscommunications & slightly disgruntled artists this time around!

As for “manufactured” products, it is frustrating to watch it happening right in front of you all weekend long. Listening to the shpiel and watching the charade. I would hope that the judges & jurors would be able to see through the facade and realize that there is no human way possible that she, as a single artist, is creating all of that “too-good-to-be-true-intricate-photo-realistic” embroidery work herself. But apparently not. Last year they even awarded her with the “Best Of Show” ribbon!!! While artists like us are struggling to make it. And she’s “shopping” from a catalog!

Meanwhile – it’s back to the studio for me to make more HANDMADE art this afternoon!

September 29th, 2010

So, I was listening to a couple who was walking by my booth, and she stopped for a second to take a closer look at a painting. She said to her husband, “These remind me of the artist downstairs, but those are embroidery, and this is a painting.” I couldn’t help myself from butting in and saying, “But there’s another difference, I do all the work myself.” The wife said, “She does, too, or so she says.”
Could my attitude have had something to do with my poor sales that weekend?

September 29th, 2010

Sorry to hear that your sales weren’t all that great… but I am glad to hear that you were there to “defend” your HANDMADE artwork!!! Your work is beautiful and should never be misconstrued as being like that “other” stuff!

And I appreciate that the customer “got it” and threw in the “or so she says.” Hopefully there were a lot of customers who realized that her embroidery cannot be completely handmade by her. She may do some, but there is no way she does it all. I overheard her tell many people that one of the larger pictures takes her four months to create. If that were the case, she could only produce three a year, right?! Let alone the smaller ones that she says take two days of stitching, plus stretching, and framing for a mere $39?! Let alone the cost of the frame itself?!!! And don’t even get me started on the embroidered wine bottle pouches… that come straight out of a cardboard shipping box, perfectly flat, organized by color, shrink-wrapped in brand new cellophane that she opens right there in front of customers?! And they’re supposed to “believe” that she’s making those too?! C’mon now…

Thanks for the comments Anne. And I’m glad that I’m not the only one who realizes what’s going on down there… and willing to complain about it!!!

C. Yalater

September 30th, 2010

Not to beat a dead horse, (well, okay, just a few taps), here is a link to someone that does hand embroidery.

We have seen her work for the past two years at the American Craft Expo, and it is amazing work. Some of it is so detailed and the light effects are subtle and realistic, it is uncanny. You wouldn’t think anyone could do what she does, with thread. Her prices reflect the many hours she puts into each piece, and her years of development. She doesn’t sell any piece for $39.

Couldn’t some sort of petition, or “anonymous” letter be sent to the organizers, telling them that the rest of the artists are “onto” this person, and that she is ruining the reputation of the show, and calling all the other artists into question? Maybe this is a growing trend – at several of our shows this year, people asked us “So where do you buy this stuff?”, apparently thinking we were some sort of “buy and sell” operation. They were surprised that we make everything in our garage studio.

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