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

It’s tonight!
I’ll be spending my New Years Eve with some old college friends, their kids,
and a LOT more friends of their kids down in Central Illinois. It’s become an
annual tradition. I laughingly refer to it as my “Norman Rockwell New Year’s Eve.”
We sit around all night and play games, eat too much fun food, goof off and then
bang pots & pans on the front porch at midnight. Nothing too raucous or rowdy.
Just some good old-fashioned fun with friends.

But what are YOU doing tonight for New Year’s Eve?
I found this wonderful will video by Zooey Deschanel & Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Sure, they may be big TV and movie stars, but they’re never too big to pick up a ukelele
and serenade us with a great holiday classic! And who doesn’t love a good ukelele?!!!

Two celebrities hanging out and asking that age-old question…
Click here for the video… “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?”

Categories: theater

The fun of this holiday week continues… as I spend my days trying to clean my place,
taking down the Home Show remnants, dismantling the tree and packing away all of my
holiday decorations! But it’s also been a fun week to play with friends who also have
some extra time on their hands. Tonight I went out with my friend Nancy for a great
dinner at “Prairie Moon” in Evanston, followed by a night of live theater.

I first heard about “The Secret Garden” many years ago when it was live on Broadway
and snatching several statuettes on the Tony Awards. I still remember Mandy Patinkin
performing this one song “Lily’s Eyes” on the show and I’ve been entranced ever since.
Check out their live & abridged Tony performance from over fifteen years ago…
“The Secret Garden” Original Cast at the Tony Awards.

I’ve never seen anything about it being performed live (or undead?) in the Chicago area.
So when I finally saw it was coming to Evanston for a few short days, I had to get tickets
right away. I had never heard of the theater group, or the theater itself… so I was a little
apprehensive. Especially because the show involves a lot of ghosts & spirits who are
“haunting” the residents of the house, as well as singing many duets – and I was concerned
that the production could be really cool or really cheesy. You know, ghosts on stage are
never easy! And the lead character is played by a fifth grader?! Could go either way…
Luckily, it turned out to be a wonderful performance – and I’m looking forward to their future
productions as well.

Categories: holiday, special events

Every year, Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo becomes ablaze in holiday color & sparkle.With
the trees and buildings being splashed & adorned with festive lights of all colors & kinds.

Tonight, after a quick trip to Winter WonderFest at navy Pier, Amy and I spent the
evening wandering around the zoo taking in the lights & colors of “ZooLights.”
It was a perfect night… crisp & cool, but not freezing cold – and still no snow!

Sure anyone can wrap a tree with lights. And some were better than others.
I appreciate who they rapped the trunks & branches instead of trying to sting a “ball”
around the upper branches as though there were leaves still on the tree. And I really hate
when you can still see the string-line of the lights loosely draped throughout a tree.
I think highlighting the actual structure of the tree is so much more intriguing!

And then… as it there weren’t enough sparkle, color & fun…
I decided to take it one step further. Sure, the light-covered-canopy-tunnel was cool.
But with just a little movement of the camera and you can “paint” with color! And I did…

Categories: artists, friends, holiday, My Talented Friends

Now that the holidays have passed, this week is a perfect chance to catch up
with some of “My Talented Friends” to share stories, break bread and trade goodies!

Today I had lunch with two of my “ART DETOUR” cohorts… my friend & metalsmith
Sarah Chapman
and potter-from-the-Northwoods Amy Higgason! We chatted and
shared some of our Christmas stories. As well as talking about some of our plans for
the upcoming year. With art fair application season right around the corner, it’s time
for all of us to consider where we want to be in the coming months! We had a nice lunch
at a local Thai restaurant – Amy’s choice as she doesn’t have Thai food in the Northwoods!
Along the way, there were also a few gifts shared, a few more trinkets purchased,
and we all left with more “goodies” than we came with!

Amy and I are both proud owners of some new “Chapman-wear”… me with a new
silver link bracelet and Amy with an incredible new ring. Custom-made by Sarah just for us!!!

I also added to my already expansive Christmas ornament collection…
adding two more Amy Higgason ornaments to the mix. Already on my tree…

Have I mentioned lately how much I love having “talented friends”???

Categories: artists, friends, My Talented Friends, photography

Well, Christmas has come and gone…
after months of planning, decorating, shopping & wrapping.
And now it’s time to enjoy some of the gifts you’ve received from friends & family.
And for me, it was a “picture-perfect” present pairing.

First off, I received a beautiful photograph from a photographer friend of mine.
I’ve been “coveting” this photograph for a few years after meeting Brad Pogatetz
as my “Art In The Barn” booth neighbor. I’ve himmed & hawed for years…
and finally, tired of me putting it off I’m sure, my parents purchased a print of it for me
at the “One Of A Kind Show.” Of course, I had no idea. Brad didn’t tell me. Even Sarah,
who was totally in on it, didn’t tell me! Regardless, I love it. Now I just need to get it
framed and find a place to hang it!

I love Brad’s work. It’s an intriguing combination of architecture, history, urbanization,
ruin, vegetation, nature’s reclaiming power, and my favorite… rusty metal.
Check out more of his work on his website, click here – Brad Pogatetz Photography.

Also… as if that weren’t enough…
my parents also gave me a brand-spankin’-new Canon PowerShot camera!
Much like the one I’ve been using for years. Hundreds of sunrises later, a couple bad falls
and few pieces of tape holding it together… I guess it was time for a new camera?!
I’m very excited to start out the New Year with a new camera.
So I can continue my quest for the perfect sunrise!

Categories: holiday

This morning I finally put the last ornament on my advent calendar.
Which means Christmas Eve is finally here!!!

It’s an annual tradition beginning on December 1st of every year.
I put up this advent calendar that my Grandma Mills made for me years ago. And then
everyday, I put up another ornament to check off each day. It amazes me every year how it
seems to fill up so slowly for the first two rows of numbers. But get around to the bottom rows
and it seems like time starts speeding up! And before you know it… Christmas is here!!!


Categories: inspiration

Okay, so maybe I’ve been watching too much TV lately?!
And yes, let me just say before anyone else does… I WATCH FAR TOO MUCH TV.
But I’m really good at multi-tasking so I can get a lot done at the same time.
Especially with the TV & DVD player I have in my studio!

With that said… I saw this wonderful pile of metal this morning on my bike ride.
It has just “appeared” along the lakefront in a parking lot near Montrose Harbor.
And it seemed odd that this geometric pile of metal would just show up. Out of nowhere?!
Love the geometry. Love the repetition. Love the unexplained presence along the lakefront.
Kinda like an alien invasion. Setting up before their “arrival” to our planet… uh oh…
Yes, I just finished watching both seasons of the alien invasion show “V.” Can you tell?…

I’m also all caught up on the fairy tale based shows”Grimm” and “Once Upon A Time.”
As well as criminal drama “Person Of Interest” from “LOST” creator J.J. Abramms.
Next up, it’s another alien show – “Falling Skies” … and then “American Horror Story.”
It’s been really nice having a little more free time heading into the holidays. Catching up
on a lot of TV viewing while wrapping, packing & prepping for this weekend’s festivities!
My TiVO was getting full with all these shows piling up. It’s been fun watching all of these
series from the start and clearing out my TiVO at the same time.

But while I’m on the topic… I’m also all caught up with “Chuck” and “Hawaii Five-O.”
Both of which I’ve really liked over the years, but am now ready for them to end.
“Chuck” just seems to drag on and on… luckily it’s their last season! As for “Hawaii Five-O”…
I still like the show, but I really hate how they always seem to spoon-feed you every detail.
How each plot “revelation” is handed out like a Hawaiian prescription drug. Someone needs
to tell them that their audience can think and piece together the clues without them
smacking me over the head with them! But I digress…

Making room for MORE TV in the New Year!
More Reality TV… more Housewives… and a new season of “Survivor” starting in February!

For those of you haven’t figured it out yet… this pile of geometric metal pieces will become
a large geometric done to house salt. Yes, the salt that they will scatter all over Lake Shore
Drive throughout the winter to help keep it clear. No dome yet… just a pile of metal.
And I love it. The only thing that would make it better is if it were all rusty!!!

Categories: bike, sunrise

The stockings are hung by the chimney with care…
so why not head out on my bike for another beautiful sunrise bike ride?!

Okay, so I have a few more packages to wrap, a few pieces to finish making,
and a couple appetizers to make for tonight’s festivities. But if all goes well…
I’m pretty sure I’ll also be able to squeeze in a good afternoon nap!

Categories: holiday

One of my customers missed both Holiday Home Shows… so she contacted me
to ask if “the store was still open” and if she could stop by some time to shop.
Of course I said “YES.”

Well, she just left and apparently everyone on her holiday gift list
is getting one of my mugs this year! You gotta love those loyal customers!

And if anyone else needs to stop by for any last-minute gifts, just let me know!
Even if the aforementioned gift might be for yourself…

Categories: bike, sunrise

It may be just days away from Christmas…
but it’s still nice enough to play on my bike. Warm enough in fact to take off a few layers
as I pedaled down the lakefront waiting for the sun to make it over the clouds.

And eventually it did…