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

The year is coming to a close and I’d like to take a quick moment to thank everyone who has
helped make my year so enjoyable & memorable. So many friends & family have helped &
encouraged me throughout the year. It’s a tough road as a self-supporting artist these days,
and without my supportive customers & eager students this year it would have been tougher!
Not to mention all of my summer camp kids that make me laugh every day all summer long.
Thanks again to everyone who was so important in my life this year!

As we enter the New Year, I need to figure out what my clay “future” will be.
New directions… new textures… new stamps… new fun in the studio!!!
More clay… less clay… more art fairs… fewer art fairs?… or more of the same?
More stores?… fewer stores?… Etsy?… change my aversion to packing & shipping?
Who knows… so many things to think about in the coming days….
Goodbye 2010.  Hello 2011.

Categories: bike

Just a few hours left… and I’m not going to make my final milestone!
It was my hope this year to reach a full 4,000 miles on my bicycle.
And I didn’t quite make it. Sadly, I’m just over 130 miles short.
And with only 10 hours left in 2010… I doubt I’m going to make it.
Better luck next year, huh?!

Categories: art fair, photography, pottery

As 2010 comes to an end, it’s time to start planning for the New Year!
Which also means a new art fair schedule – and the preceding application process.
Which I hate. But I digress…

In an effort to be “ready” to tackle the art fair application process early on “next year”
I just had some pieces photographed by Guy Nicol for my applications. It’s been awhile
since I’ve had a new batch of new photos. My style has evolved a bit with some new
“bulging stamps.” Plus, I kinda started to feel really bad submitting “the same old” photos
year after year! So here’s a few new shots to whet your whistle!

Categories: artists, classes, textures

It’s been a long time since potter-extraordinaire Amy Higgason stopped by
my beginner’s pottery class for a demonstration night of carvings, textures & patterns!
I posted the pictures from her visit way back on October 19th… go back and check it out!
I had dinner tonight with Amy at my favorite restaurant as she’s hanging out in the
Chicago area visiting with her Mom for the holidays before she heads back up to the
Northwoods. She finally got to see all of “our” collaborative pots… and now so can you!

For those of you who may have missed it the first time, here’s a brief recap…
I started by throwing all of the bowls and trying to get them “dried” enough for trimming,
stamping, carving, sprigging and all of the other fun decorative techniques that Amy and I
like to do to our pots! Our intention was to show how five “matching plain” bowls can easily
be transformed into five completely different bowls with a few decorative techniques.
People have asked if they would get to see the finished pieces… so here they are!

Amy trimmed, carved, textured and sprigged this bowl which was then glazed
in Josh Green and Temoku interior.

And blue carved bowl… without the dots, without the sprigs… with a groovy,
“wave” pattern around the bottom. Glazed in Josh Blue with a light spray of Temoku,
then line glazed with Temoku.

And another carved bowl showing off some of Amy’s more “illustrative & organic” style.
Glazed with Josh Green outside – and a beautiful Shino inside.

Plus, a collaboration bowl where I stamped, she carved, I squared & stamped again…
then liner glazed & inlaid glaze with Temoku and soda-fired for the final effect.

And the fifth bowl that I stamped in my own style then glazed with Josh Blue
and a slight spray-over of Temoku… and a nice, creamy Antique White inside.
Complete with Amy-inspired stylish foot-ring indentations!

So there’s the final chapter in my collaboration class & bowl demo with Amy Higgason.
We’re already talking about future projects. And trying to get Amy back to Lillstreet for
some sort of future workshops & demonstrations!!!

Remember, you can always check out more of Amy’s “solo” work at Pigeon Road Pottery.

Categories: holiday, Mom & Dad, Taylor

So this Christmas my 5-year old niece Taylor had “hinted” to my parents
that she wanted a dollhouse for Christmas. And that my Dad should build one
for her like he had built one for her Mom when she was a kid. She’s been playing with
her Mom’s dollhouse for years, but now she wanted her own!

And being the great Grandparents… how can you let a Christmas “hint” like that go by?!
So they got her the “huge” dollhouse she pointed out in the catalog. It’s apparently
sized for Barbie dolls, which also makes it taller than Taylor herself!!! It was camouflaged
in an oversized Christmas present. No gift tag. No name. But I think she may have guessed.
We all made her wait all day… for the final gift unveiling!

So I made her four different sets of “dinner plates” and two oval platters!
Each set with a different texture, pattern & glaze color. She’s been to the studio several
times and loves playing in the clay. She loves to flip-over all of my pieces to make sure
my signature is there. So yes.. I made sure to sign each little plate!

She was excited as she opened her present… and then proceeded to put plates in every
room of the house… on the porch… on the bed… and luckily, even the dining room table!

Categories: holiday

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care.
Check.   Months ago. I don’t like to wait until the last minute.

Gonna build a Christmas Toyland all around the Christmas tree.
Check.   It’s called Reindeer Express at Winter WonderFest on Navy Pier!

Frosted window panes, candles gleaming inside.
Check.   Have been all day while I was wrapping, packing & baking!

Rockin’ around the Christmas tree.
Check.   Been singing all day long Especially the groovy “lounge” versions and
my all-time favorite Christmas song by Kay Starr – “The Man With The Bag.”

Oh, the weather outside is frightful.
Check.   Still snowing, I’m sure the streets will be slippery?!

I’m dreaming of a White Christmas.
Check.   It’s so beautiful outside with a fresh layer of clean, white snow.

We wish you a Merry Christmas. We wish you a Merry Christmas.
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Well, now I can check that one off the list too!

Have yourself a merry little Christmas…
filled with great family & friends. Eating cookies. Making memories.
Be Safe. Have Fun. Fa, la, la, la…

Categories: holiday

I just put the last ornament on my childhood advent calendar!
My grandmother made these calendars for all of her grandchildren years ago.
Every year it goes up – every day gets another ornaments.
Today was the final STAR. So it must be Christmas Eve!!! Yeah!!!

I’m hoping your final day of holiday preparations is relaxing & enjoyable…
with a nap thrown in somewhere for good measure! Thinking back to simpler times
with another childhood flashback… try to disregard the commercial endorsement.

click here…
I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing
the original hilltop commercial

Categories: holiday

Counting down the days until Christmas…I’m at two…
with a fun a cappella version of the “12 Days”!!!

Just click on the title below for the original YouTube video! Enjoy…
“12 Days” – performed by Straight No Chaser

Categories: holiday

Rudolph is everyone’s favorite. And has been for years! Him and that shiny red nose!!

We all watch the animated film every season. We all know the story. We all know the songs.
We all want Hermie to become a dentist. We all want Clarisse to end up with Rudolph.
We cheer for the misfits. We want Yukon Cornelius to strike gold. We love reindeer games!!!

But it does get a little old, right?
Well, here’s two new “versions” of the traditional favorite! I love ’em both.
Click on the title of either one to watch a new video of the holiday classic!!!

The Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer Mambo
I’ve loved this version of the song for years. And now your favorite Rudolph characters
are getting their groove on!

Rudolph (You Don’t Have To Put On The Red Light)
Brilliant. With the popularity of “Glee” and the invention of the musical mash-up…
you’ve got to love the new take on an old classic. This time Rudolph will get “Stung.”

Categories: holiday

The holidays are coming quickly upon us…
and I was thrilled to find a few childhood flashbacks to share with you!

For any one who grew up in Chicago and watched “Garfield Goose” in the mid-60’s,
these will definitely bring back some memories for you too! I believe all of the films were
created in 1951… though I remember I thought they looked “old” even when I was a kid!!!
But they were always a welcome harbinger of Christmas when they started playing these
videos in rotation. As a kid, I enjoyed “Frosty the Snowman” the best…
but the tune to “Hardrock, Coco & Joe” is just so darn catchy!!!

Just click on the movie titles to watch each video… and have a little flashback of your own!

Frosty The Snowman

Suzy Snowflake

Hardrock, Coco & Joe

Okay, so I thought it back when I was a kid… and I still think it now!
Those elves are more than a little creepy!!!