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

After a very rainy weekend in the park… it was great to see the sun finally
yesterday and again this morning! I hope that it’s here to stay for awhile?!
But it is Chicago… so who knows…

Categories: nature, photography
Categories: art fair, Mom & Dad

The Diary of My Day.
From the very start of the morning, I knew we were in for some real “fun.

8:00am – Driving back to Schaumburg in some of the thickest fog ever!
Knowing that it was also “Bike The Drive” and thousands of people would be riding
along Lake Shore Drive in the fog!!! Glad I’m not one of them… but still not the
weather I was hoping for! Very thick. Very heavy. Very foggy. And it only got
darker as I got closer to Schaumburg!

9:00am – Setting Up… Again.
Back in my booth putting things back together. With the rain at the end of yesterday,
we had packed down most of the larger pieces. Putting them back into their crates
and putting them on the ground… just in case “anything” terrible happened overnight.
Which luckily, it didn’t. So I spent the hour putting everything back in place…
questioning if it was even worth it with a weather forecast of impending doom.

10:00am – Let The Games Begin… bring on the customers!
The show opened and there are a few customers. Typically, the “crowds” are very slow
to get started on Sundays… what with brunch & church & all. But today, there were more
people than usual at the start. My guess is they were trying to get a little shopping done
before the storms! Shop fast…

11:00am – Clouds and Wind and Thunder… oh my!
And the fun started rolling in. The winds were picking up. The clouds were moving quick.
With an ever-entertaining symphony of thunder off in the distance. Fun, huh?! And with
everyone on the smart phones, the place was abuzz with everyone’s “radar” forecast!
And then the rain started… There were many reports of the “waves” of storms coming in.
That this one would pass, then there would be another… and another… and another…

11:30am – Raining.
With the skies opening up, it was definitely time for the tents to be closing up.
But the question is “for how long?” Will the storm pass over? Or not?
My Dad checked his phone for the radar. You know how “orange” is the color for
severe thunderstorms?… well, his phone showed the pin-point for where we were…
and the rest of the entire phone screen was ORANGE!!! All orange!!! All storm!!!

12:00pm – Thunderstorms.
All tents closed… so we started “packing down” some of the bigger & more expensive
pieces. Thinking “just in case” something bad happens, at least those pieces are safe.
But as we continued the process, it was evident the storm was not stopping. So neither
did we. My Mom and I were packing everything as my Dad went to get the van. And if you
looked around the fair, we weren’t the only one packing it. It was the start of a mass exodus.

1:00pm – Packing Up and Flooding!
It was still pouring. And we’re drenched. My Dad was packing the van as we were packing
the crates in the tent.At one point, the winds picked up – gusts were blowing around. And
my Dad was stuck outside the tent holding the flaps in place to keep us dry! I know that my
tent is securely anchored into the ground, but it’s still scary when the entire structure starts
shaking, rattling, bouncing & moving. And my Dad, still holding it down. We were packing
as fast as possible as the rain was coming down in bucketfuls. It wasn’t until we started
taken the sides off the tent that we noticed the walkway just in front of my tent was flooded!
Just feet from where were still working… pack faster… flood waters rising!!!

1:45pm – Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookie Break.
Amazing what sort of therapeutic effects Mom’s cookies can have on you
during a torrential downpour! Luckily, we had enough to share with others too!

2:00pm – Still Packing. Still Dripping. Still Drenched.
Sounds like a fun way to spend your Sunday afternoon, huh?

3:00pm – Driving home.
Apparently, it’s not only Schaumburg that got rain! It looks like it rained everywhere!
There were sections of the drive where you had to plow right through the flooded streets!

4:00pm – Unpacking & Drying.
As if it weren’t enough fun to pack up in the rain, it’s always fun to unpack it all again!
The fun just keeps on coming! Especially this time as everything was wet. Including us.
Not soaking wet anymore, now just kind of cold & clammy! So we unpacked the van
at lightning speed as there was a break in the rain. Then I had to dry off all of my
wooden shelves so they wouldn’t warp or get funky. And now all of my tent pieces are
spread out and “drying” in my storage room! So glamorous, huh?!

5:00pm – Showered & Dry… finally.
Now wondering what I’m going to do for dinner… and I feel that I “deserve”
something really good for dinner! Ordered in, of course!

Let’s hope that everything dries in the next two weeks… Hinsdale Fine Art Fair!!!

Categories: art fair

“Your colors are scrumptious.”

Sometimes it’s the little things that customers say that make you happy.
It’s not that my color palette is all that spectacular or colorful,
but something in the saturated, earthy, orangey, browny, fire-flashy,
dark jewel-tone family must have resonated with her. As it does to me to.
My condo is all the same colors! I enjoyed hearing her excitement!

And I love eavesdropping… hearing people chat about my work,
or caress a mug while carrying it, or getting all excited by the textures & patterns.
Makes me think I must be doing something right?!

Categories: art fair

Today wasn’t so bad. Chilly. Breezy. Dry… for awhile.
And then the drizzle set in with mid-afternoon – just enough to scare away
all of the customers. Luckily, I had already had a lot of friends & fans stop by
during the “dry part” of the day, so it wasn’t all bad. It’s always great to see
so many of my “groupies” coming back out to kick-off the art fair season!
Including my niece Taylor and her huge bag of kettle corn!

A bit of fog. A little rain… and a beautiful gerbera daisy freshly “washed.”

And a quick way to show off a small bunch of small, a textured ikebana vase.
Just fill with water, stick in your flowers and voila’ – instant “beautiful.” But too pretty?
I had a LOT of people thinking that they were fake, and not understanding how the
ikebana actually works. Guess I need uglier flowers next time?!

Perfect for the season… berry bowls in two styles!

The big and the small. My largest slab vases and some miniature vases…
along with some Lily-Of-The-Valley cut fresh from my front yard garden.

One of the nice parts of the Schaumburg art fair is that they don’t pack the tents in.
They actually give each person an additional five feet of space – 10′x 15′ spaces!!!
A luxury compared to most shows. And to make the most of my additional real estate,
I showed my collection of flower pots & terra cotta planters in my “side lot.”

But by the end of the day, it was raining. And had been for awhile.
Sadly, as the rain continued… the shopping didn’t. Apparently customers melt?!
So we packed down some of the larger & more expensive items preparing for a night
of rain… and more rain. You never know what’s going to happen to your tent, and
everything inside, overnight when you’re not there. Always better to err on the side
of safety and protect some of the stuff. We called it night… knowing there would be
another day of fun tomorrow!

Categories: art fair, process

Now I don’t mean to gloat… and I’m sure I’m not the first…
but I’m all packed up and ready for this weekend’s art fair in Schaumburg!
Yes, two days ahead of schedule. Unheard of.

Typically, I’d be scrambling all over the place on Friday trying to do everything.
Trying to remember where I left things at the end of last season. Where’s my tent?
How many shelves do I need to take? How much is this? Where is that? Help…
Many potters have been known to be unloading a hot kiln on Friday night
still needing to cool, price & pack on just the night before the show!!! Yikes!

But instead, my parents and I tackled the storage room today and got it all together.
We’re all packed up for this weekend’s art fair in Schaumburg! Done. Packed.
In the van ready to go… and it’s only Wednesday!!! Unheard of.
Again, I’m not gloating… but I’m just sayin’..

Sure, I still have a few last minute projects to complete. A few supplies to gather.
Snack. Flowers. Signs. But it does feel great to be ready… I’ll sleep well tonight.

Categories: art fair, process

Well, that depends on what you consider fun?
If you like a lot of pots, lots of pricing, packing, schlepping, piling, sorting, cleaning…
more pricing… more packing… well, then the “fun” begins this morning! Yippee!!!

It’s time to make sense out of the mess I’ve made in my storage room.
A lot of pots have come out of the kiln, just to be boxed up and piled up in my
storage room. Waiting for today to come… the day of pricing & packing!
Luckily, my best art fair assistants are coming over to help… thanks Mom & Dad.
By the end of the day (and evening?) we’re going to try and have TWO art fair’s
worth of pots priced, packed and ready to go! With two shows so close together,
I think it’s best to divide & conquer – two different sets of inventory ready to go!

Schaumburg Prairie Arts Festival – May 28th & 29th- this weekend!
and then just two weeks later…
Hinsdale Fine Arts Festival – June 11th & 12th

Categories: process, production, textures

It’s amazing what a difference a little underglaze was can make!
Painted on all over, then the top surfaces are gently wiped off.
All of the textures & patterns pop-out and become even more dramatic!

One more firing, this time cone 10…. and these little treasures should be ready
just in time for the Hinsdale Fine Art Festival. Now just a couple weeks away…

Categories: nature, photography
Categories: bike, sunrise

Finally?… a little sun on the horizon!
Plus, it’s a good sign that the lifeguard stands are finally “out-of-storage”
and back on the beaches!!! Another step closer…