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

Technical difficulties resolved… and now retroactively catching up!

So I spent my Halloween evening making clay masks… not wearing one!
After a day of designing & ordering, and updating mail lists – I needed to touch clay!

Categories: artists, process

Technical difficulties resolved… and now retroactively catching up!

It’s Halloween and there’s no trick-or-treating for me!
Everyone thinks that being an “artist” is so glamorous, but so many people
have no idea of all the “other” things we have to do besides making art!

I spent much of today doing busy work at home.
Designing & ordering a new postcard for my Holiday Home Show…
Updating a bunch of mail list changes & additions…
Adding e-mail addresses I collected during “Art In The Barn.”
A lot of busy work… and I still haven’t touched clay today!?
It’s amazing how much work goes in to being a self-supporting artist.
When I started off, I assumed I would be playing clay all the time.
Who knew there was so much busy work?

Categories: artists, seasons

What would Halloween be without some good, old-fashioned pumpkin carving?!

Artist Ray Villafane began carving pumpkins on a lark for his art students in a small,
rural school district in Michigan. The hobby changed his life as he gained a viral
following online and unlocked his genuine love of sculpting. Here are a few of his
eerie pumpkin creations from the past five years!

Villafane has made a name for himself with the pumpkin carving even though he is
allergic to pumpkins. “If I’m carving too many or too long, my skin gets really itchy,”
Vilafane said. “If pumpkin juice gets anywhere near my eyes, my eyes itch.”

Villafane created a pumpkin-carving tutorial and posted it on his website, In it, he recommends carving with the following tools:
a large clay ribbon loop, a medium clay ribbon loop, a mini clay ribbon loop,
an X-acto knife and a paring knife. Who knew that my old clay ribbon loop tools
could be so useful in the pumpkin carving realm?! A great chance to re-purpose them!

Categories: art fair, holiday

Three weeks from today… and tomorrow!!!
Mark your calendars for Saturday, November 20th & Sunday, November 21st.

And while you’re marking your calendars… I’ll be at the studio making more work
and getting ready for my big holiday kick-off party! Throwing, stamping, glazing & more.
Hope you can make it! There will be pottery in every room of my condo… plus the
ever-popular “Tired Of Shlepping Sale” on my back porch. Clearance & discounted demo
pieces at drastically reduced prices – and there’s a LOT of work already pulled aside for it.
More details & pictures to come as it gets closer…

Categories: holiday, production

One step closer to holiday ornaments…
Tonight I added the textures, patterns & hanging loops to my new clay ornaments!

With a just a few small slip accents, they are now ready to dry. Then bisque… then glaze…
Then they’ll go into my soda kiln which I’ll be firing on Wednesday, November 10th.
And I’m kind of excited about them… so I starting making another batch last night too!

Categories: nature

With summer quickly coming to an end… and quite possibly done here in Chicago,
it was great to see this little “soldier” trying really hard to make a go of it. This
marigold wasn’t there earlier this summer… but a stray seed found its way out
into our back alley, and nestled itself into a small crack at the bottom of our wall.
Quite determined. And a welcome morning surprise… keep going, keep growing!

Categories: bike, sunrise

And back into the sunshine.

After yesterday’s gloominess, today’s crisp & clear morning was a welcome surprise!
Don’t get me wrong, it was still very cold. And I feel like I’m getting accustomed to
the many layers a little too quickly. I’m still hoping for a little more “Indian Summer”
but reality is setting in and I think it’s going to be cold for awhile. Too bad the bright
sunrise doesn’t warm up the morning very quickly. I could still see my breath!

Categories: bike, sunrise

With an incredibly dark, windy, cloudy, overcast, did-I-mention-windy morning,
after a very short stop for the morning photo, I couldn’t get that song out of my head?!
Not sure why… but I have an inkling…

“Roxanne… you don’t have to put on the red light…”

Categories: holiday, pottery, production

So I’ve been working on a “new” item for the holidays…
somewhat “traditional” wheelthrown, soda-fired Christmas ornaments made out of clay!
I’ve been working on a batch of twenty… and I’m not sure if I’ll have time to make more
OR if this batch is even going to work?! It’s still very much a “work in progress.”
So at this point, it’s looking like these 20 may be considered a “limited edition.”

So I still need to decorate them more, add the tops to hang them by… and figure out
how they’re even going to be placed in the kiln for firing?! Still a lot of work… and still
VERY much a work in progress! But I’m excited… and hoping to have them ready
in time for my next soda kiln… which is firing off two weeks from today!

Categories: gallery, pottery

Today I packed up and sent off over fifty new pieces to Louisville, Kentucky!
One of the galleries that sells my work was looking for more… and luckily for me,
one of their people were visiting Chicago and they offered to come and pick up my work!
So I didn’t even need to ship anything?! Could it be any easier?

Gallery Janjobe is located in the Mellwood Arts & Entertainment Center in
Lousiville, Kentucky. They’re mission is “Offering Art With Attitude”… and I’m pleased
to have my work on display there. I’ve been part of their gallery now for four years…
and looking to continue for many years to come! I love giving them “art with my attitude”!
So if you’re ever in Louisville, be sure to stop by!

Gallery Janjobe
1860 Mellwood Avenue, Louisville, Kentucky 40206
(502) 899-9293  *