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

So this little piece of plastic arrived in the mail today.
And from what everyone is saying, it’s going to solve all of my credit card
transaction dilemmas. No more knuckle-buster?… can that be true?!
Just plug it in my iPhone and voila’… instant credit card processing!

So I think I’m ready for this. It seems just a little too easy.
I’ll need to give it a little “test run” before the Schaumburg Prairie Arts Festival
next weekend! And then hope for good weather… and good reception!

Categories: bike

Will the sun ever come out?… looks like it’s another day of gray!

Categories: production, textures
Categories: inspiration, nature, photography
Categories: friends, My Talented Friends, nature

This past weekend I went down to the Peoria area to play with my very first “art fair friends.”
I met Gerry & Rosene several years ago when I did my first art fair… err, craft fair… in
Sandwich, Illinois. That first fair was quite the learning experience for me. I had no idea
what I was doing – and luckily, Gerry & Rosene were right across the aisle ready to help.
And we’ve been friends ever since. Since then, they’ve “retired” from crafting and are now
“full-time” gardeners. With the best front & back yards ever!!!

And a special, handmade totem pole doesn’t take anything away from the plants either!
It’s a stacked totem pole with soda fired flashing & textures that I made a few years back.
As well as a fun “Green Man” smirking back when you walk past the rusted gate!
Look familiar?… well, I made that for them too! Gerry always wanted one!!! Plus a lot
of fun accent pieces scattered about… going natural, weathering, rotting, whatever!

With layers & terraces all over, they’ve staggered their gardens all the way down to the creek.
Gerry & Rosene have taken such care & effort to plant the coolest plants for their colors,
textures & novelty. Which I love. But as you know, it’s been raining since I can remember!
So it was great to see their garden this time after a little sprinkle of rain. I loved how the colors
seemed more vibrant, and the water droplets glistened on the leaves!

And not only do they have great plants… but they also have an addiction to rust!
Maybe that’s why we get along so well? Rusty trinkets, wooden pulleys, bikes, letters
and a whole lot of other fun to be found all over the garden! Or in their guest room…
which had been “prepared” for my arrival!

Over the years, they’ve “propagated” a wonderful little business in their garden!
And every year they divide bunches of their plants to sell off at their annual plant sales.
After the sales, they can’t stand to put the unsold plants back in the ground… and therefore,
I totally “score” and benefit from their generosity! And thanks to my “green-thumbed friends,”
my condo gardens are thriving with some of the coolest plants ever! And now…
I have a car-full to plant if it ever stops raining?!

Categories: classes, lillstreet, summer camp

Okay… it seems like Summer must be SO far away as we’re still waiting for the warmth
of Spring to get here?! Go figure.
But in reality, Lillstreet Summer Camps are starting
again in just a few weeks. It’s not too late to start planning your summer and enroll your
kids in Summer Camp at Lillstreet. The following list is my schedule for the summer.
I typically only teacher the older group of kids – 8-12 years old. Some classes are geared
towards a slightly older group (aged 10-14) due to the amount of focus, creativity and
enthusiasm I’ll expect the kids to bring in. I like to push the kids to make real projects…
not just a pile of scraps, glitter & glue! So sign up soon…

June 13th – 17th – Garden Camp
It’s a full week of art projects designed to decorate your family’s garden.
Flower pots, birdhouses, lawn ornaments, totem poles and so much more!
Full-day camp from 9:00am-3:30pm

June 27th – July 1st – Wild Things!
It’s all animals, all the time! The kids will get to explore their “Wild Side” in art!
With a clay project on Monday followed by the Zoo on Tuesday – more fun all week!
Morning camp from 9:00am-1:00pm with a Field Trip to Lincoln Park Zoo on Tuesday.

July 11th – July 15th – Clay & Multimedia Camps
It’s a week of fun and assorted art projects. With clay on Monday, the rest of the week is
developed to help teach the kids new mediums & encourage them to express themselves.
Morning Session from 9:00am-1:00pm… and Afternoon Session from 1:00pm-3:30pm.

July 18th – July 22nd – Chess Camp
This camp is a LOT of work, but also a LOT of fun!
With only five days, each kid will create an entire thematic Chess Set of their own in clay!
It’s a lot of planning, creating, handbuilding & painting to make their own perfect Chess Set.
Full-day camp from 9:00am-3:30pm

July 25th – July 29th – Clay & Multimedia Camps
Another week of assorted art projects. Clay on Monday… other projects throughout the week.
It’s up to the kids to help decide on what we’re making – and always a chance of tie-dye!
Morning Session from 9:00am-1:00pm… and Afternoon Session from 1:00pm-3:30pm.

August 1st – August 5th – Forge, Fire & Feast
It’s a combination week of clay & metal. The kids will design their own dinnerware sets,
and then set about to create it during the week. Monday & Tuesday are for clay plates, bowls,
cups & more. Wednesday & Thursday are focused on metal for knives, forks & spoons.
Friday it all comes together and we celebrate with a big potluck lunch using their newly
created dinnerware sets! It’s a lot of work, but a lot of fun & accomplishment… plus, we’ll
all get to play with Pam Robinson who run the Lillstreet Metals Program!
Full-day camp from 9:00am-3:30pm

August 8th – August 12th – Chess Camp
For those who couldn’t make it for the first week of Chess Camp… here’s another opportunity.
Same exciting projects… new kids, new themes. Always an exciting week of kids & creativity.
Full-day camp from 9:00am-3:30pm

August 15th – August 19th – Masters Camp
New this year, we’re expanding on of my favorite topics to a full-day camp. We’ll spend the
week focusing on famous artists. The kids will learn a little art history along the way, and
create their art “in the style of” assorted famous artists. This camp also includes a Field Trip
to the Chicago Art Institute… and hopefully a gallery show at the end of the week.
Full-day camp from 9:00am-3:30pm

Registration is already open for all Summer Camps. Sign up early before my camps fill up!
It’s going to be a fun summer for everyone.. lots of art, fun & laughter!
Stop in at Lillstreet Art Center – or register online at

Categories: artists, friends, My Talented Friends, studio

While I was at Terra Incognito today, I stopped off in back to visit with one
of the studio artists there. Roberta Polfus. And there she was, tucked away back
in her little corner of the world working away on her little treasures! It’s always so much
fun to see an artist at work in their normal surroundings. Generally everyone sees their
work at an art fair, in a store, or in a gallery somewhere. Never really taking time to think
about where the work is actually being produced. I love Roberta’s space… complete with
a lot of inspirational images, knick-knacks, postcards, tools and a lot of Tupperware!

If you’re lucky enough to run across Roberta at an art fair, take some time to admire
the fine details & glazing effects. There’s a lot of work going into these tiny treasures!
For more about Roberta Polfus and her work, click on her website here.

Categories: artists, creativity, friends, gallery, My Talented Friends

You know I love textures. And clay. And colors. And whimsy!
Put them all together and you’ve got wonderful work by Cory McCrory!
And today was quite the day for Cory as her gallery show opened at Terra Incognito
in Oak Park, Illinois. It was wonderful to see such a wide collection of her work all
in one place. She’s a wonderful artist… and it was great to play with her today as well.

I met Cory several years ago during the Hinsdale Art Fair. We had booths fairly close
to each other and have been friends ever since. Her sense of whimsy, attention to details,
use of colors & textures… and her never-ending creativity have amazed me for years!

Some of Cory’s newest work includes there incredible wall pieces – complete with twigs,
leaves and playful, life-sized blackbirds! But they’re not all feathered… there were also
love birds, and other fun things perched on branches! All of which are handmade
& sculpted with Cory’s special blend of paper clay. With that, she gets great such great
textures and flexibility while she’s constructing her pieces.

If you can make it out to Oak Park, Cory’s show will be running in the gallery at
Terra Incognito through June 16th, 2011. For more information, click on Terra Incognito.
And if you do, make sure you add a new piece of hers to your collection… I did.

Categories: special events

Another good fairy tale. And they loved happily ever after…

Although I’m still waiting for the singing bluebirds to come and lift up Kate’s train…
and for the crows to come peck out the eyes of the mean, old step-sisters!

Categories: art fair, process

With just two weeks until the Schaumburg Prairie Fine Arts Festival…
it’s time to step up my efforts in the “shameless self-promotion” department.
Hey, if you don’t promote yourself, who will?

My mantra for today has been… “postcard, address label, stamp, repeat.”
Going well – but I still have a couple hundred to go!