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

With just one week until Christmas, there’s no better time to buy yourself a wonderful gift.
Sign-up today for a pottery class at Lillstreet Art Center. I teach beginning wheelthrowing
every Tuesday night from 7:00pm-10:00pm. It’s for brand new beginners who have never
thrown, people who have been away too long, and those who have taken a few classes but
are still honing their basic skills. It’s a fun class with a lot of social interaction. I know it’s
not as easy as it looks, but I’ll make sure you have fun while you struggle to center the clay!

Beginning & Advanced Beginning Wheelthrowing
Tuesdays from 7:00pm-10:00pm – 10-week session beginning Tuesday, January 10th.
Click on Lillstreet for registration information.

And don’t wait to long to sign up… my class is already half full.
Not many wheels left in my class starting this January!

Categories: terra cotta, textures

While I was at the studio today covering us for Open Holiday Hours,
I also found time to make three textured terra cotta trays – part of a special order
for a special customer. Her plan is to place three of my oil lamps on the tray!

Once they dry, I’ll wash them all with black underglaze and then gently wipe off the top layer…
leaving the underglaze in the stamped textures and giving it all an aged patina.

Categories: tiles

Tonight a Lillstreet student came over to my place to purchase a bunch of tiles for her kitchen.
Sure, she could make her own tiles, but why not use mine?! She’s re-doing her kitchen and
installing cement countertops. Her plan is to randomly imbed several of my handmade,
textured soda-fired tiles into the cement. Very cool. And kind of exciting to be part of her
kitchen counters for may years to come! I can’t wait to see the final results!

Good thing I try to keep a couple boxes on hand for different projects, magnets & ClayQuilts.

And in the spirit of the holidays, after she had chosen all of her tiles, I told her that they would
be my holiday gift to her AND her new kitchen! Merry Christmas Jette!!!

Categories: creativity

Is it so wrong for me to stop off for ice cream just because their name was SO clever?!
New to my neighborhood is a very cute frozen custard shop. I’ve seen it a few times
but finally decided to stop in for a visit. Not because I really needed frozen custard, or the
extra hot fudge I had them layer on top. The reason I stopped by was simply because the
name of the shop is SO clever. And the frozen custard was pretty darn yummy too!

Categories: special events

As part of my “glitter gig”… I had a great time tonight converting the Park West into a fantastic
circus atmosphere, complete with a huge “tented” canopy ceiling! The event was a corporate
holiday party… and a LOT of fun for me to design. With an elephant truss entrance, circus ring
buffets, a lion cage buffet, and a makeup mirror buffet that isn’t quite as glamorous as the rest.

Plus, what’s a circus without a ringmaster?! And that ringmaster needs to have his own trailer.
Which also became the photo-op for Santa… err, the Ringmaster. Complete with evergreen
swags decorated with popcorn & circus peanuts. Yeah, the stale orange marshmallows!!!

The circus was bright and flashy, yet as with all circuses, the veneer has slipped a bit.
If the guests looked closely, there were a lot of flaws in the veneer… like the makeup area
with a dead bouquet of flowers, smudged make-up mirrors, photos & clippings of clowns
from the past, reliquary candles and even a forgotten record player still skipping on an
old-fashioned LP album of “Send In The Clowns.” Oh yeah, did I mention the hairbrushes
& rollers with hair still in them?! Like I said, not everything at the circus is pretty!

But then we all know that the circus attracts an “eclectic” group of employee carnies!
Many of them evading the law and hiding out in the circus… or traveling under a few different
aliases and making their own passports. Poker chips, liquor bottles, spilled popcorn, lottery
tickets, stolen license plates and more!

Yes… that’s Cooky the Clown with AND without his makeup!

Categories: bike, sunrise

After a hectic weekend of holiday home shows & studio sales, it felt great
this morning to get back on track, and back in the saddle. Luckily, the gray skies
had parted and the sunrise was clear & cloud-free this morning!

And since I still had a few minutes before the sun would actually hit the horizon,
I pedaled a little further south to the next lighthouse… this time at Montrose Harbor.

Categories: art fair, artists, My Talented Friends

Today is “MUD & METAL”- the final Holiday Home Show of the season.
The weather is great and we’re ready for some last-minute holiday shoppers!
There’s pottery in every room of my condo, plus this time – a special guest artist!
Sarah Chapman has just finished setting up her beautiful jewelry in my dining room
and her work is literally glowing in the sunlight streaming in through the windows!

I especially love how the sun is making all of the inclusions in that amber pendant
reflect and sparkle. If no one else snags it, someday it may need to join my “collection.”
And the incredible shadows being cast across her display on some of her beautiful
wire-knotted pieces. This necklace looks incredible!

So stop on by to see Sarah’s incredible work… while the sun is still shining!

Categories: art fair

With less than twelve hours until we open, I’m still stocking shelves… and more importantly,
adding more pieces to the “Tired Of Shlepping” bargain shelves. Marking down even more
to make room for new pieces in the New Year! Swing by tomorrow from 10:00am-6:00pm
to snag a few of these bargains before they’re gone!

MUD & METAL – Another Holiday Home Show
Saturday, December 10 from 10:00am-6:00pm… ONE DAY ONLY.
With special guest artist & incredible metalsmith Sarah Chapman.
With pottery in every room, jewelry in the dining room, snacks in the kitchen…
and the “Shlepping” bargains on the back porch!

If you need my home address information, shoot me a quick e-mail…

Categories: art fair, production, tiles

I woke up this morning to Chicago’s first snowfall. Everything was white.
Alas, no morning sunrise bike ride for me. Instead, I used the time to assemble three
new ClayQuilts just in time for tomorrow’s “MUD & METAL” Holiday Home Show!

Just for the record, all of the snow melted within a couple hours.
But it was white when I woke up… I swear!

Categories: nature

When I stopped along the lakefront this morning to take some sunrise pictures,
I also found some frozen puddles. No surprise. It was pretty darn cold out this morning.
But upon closer examination, they were no ordinary puddles… err, frozen puddles.
These may have been the coolest puddles EVER!!! Look closely…

Yes… that ICE is literally “floating” about 2-inches above the ground. Crazy, huh?
And even-freakier, no residual water under the frozen puddle surface?!

Yes, it appears as though the ice is “stretched” kinda like frozen Saran Wrap?!
My guess is that somehow the puddle of water froze quickly overnight, and somehow
most of the water in the puddles evaporated (or otherwise disappeared?) leaving behind
a very thin layer of ice suspended about two inches above the remaining water & rocks.
I still have no guess on how these incredible “spikes” of ice could have happened?!
They’re literally jutting out from the rocks?!

And look how thin the ice is… thinner than a piece of glass!

If you look even closer… you can even see some green plants living under the glass!
Like a little “greenhouse effect” for the plants living along the water’s edge.

So?… can anyone explain this natural phenomenon better than I can?
It’s the kind of unexplained beauty you can only find in nature… if you take time to look!

And look close at this last one… stretched, rippled, spiked, pulled, drooping… all frozen ice!