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

Remember the beautiful cherry blossoms a couple weeks ago?
The ones I got from the Chinese New Years Party? Well, some of the branches
we holding up quite nicely on the back porch. I think the cool Winter evenings
were helping to keep the flowers fresh. But then the temperature dropped quickly
and I kind of forgot about the cherry blossoms. Until today…

As I was leaving out the back porch to go to the studio, I saw the now-frozen
cherry blossoms and saw something crazy going on in the bottom of the glass vase.
At first I thought it was roots sprouting from the branches. Apparently not.

Upon further inspection, these frozen “threads” turned out to be air bubbles. Really.
I’m sure there’s some sort of chemistry or physics explanation for what’s happening here.
Or how the temperature fluctuations, barometric pressure, molecular formations and other
incomprehensible factors all aligned to create this magnificent frozen illusion. However,
I don’t understand it. And I’m not sure that I need to. I just love that it happens!

I also like how the discolored water that the branches were soaking in has somehow
been “balled up” and pushed together by the ice threads. A beautiful “sphere” of tannin
surrounding the branches in stark contrast to the sparkling ice bubbles.


Categories: studio

My goal for today was to “crank out” a bunch of pots.
To get back into “full production mode.” To get dirty. To play in the mud.

First off, I finished up the terra cotta trays…
and then got a little sidetracked into cleaning my studio. Sidetracked for 7 hours!!!
Yes… I cleaned. I organized. I threw away. I rearranged. I relabeled. I washed my floor.
And sadly, I didn’t realize that the evening had flown by and I made no pots!!!

At least now my studio is clean. And looks ready for some “pot making” tomorrow!
And the orchid arrangement I saved from the “glitter gig” dumpster looks so much
better now than they did in my dirty studio!

Categories: production, terra cotta, textures

Last Spring, I made a collection of textured terra cotta planters.
It never crossed my mind that they would need water drip trays to go with them…
because in my mind, I would be using the terra cotta planter outside and would not
use a tray?! But when I posted pictures, I got a few comments from people asking me
here the trays were?! Uh oh…

So… I quickly made another collection of textured terra cotta planters WITH trays!
And we started out the summer art fair schedule with both options.
With tray. Without tray. I was anxious o see which would sell better.

It didn’t take long for us to see that practically everyone wanted a tray.
Who knew?! Not me apparently. But by the end of the art fair season, I had no more
planters with trays. But I did have the tray-less planters. So tonight I finished up a
bunch of trays to “complete” the planter sets for this season.

So now they’re drying. Then they’ll be stained with black underglaze to “antique” them
a bit and make the textures pop. Then it’s a layer of glaze on the bottom… and into the kiln!
And if all goes well, last year’s “trayless” planters will this year BETRAYED!!!

Categories: cirque du soleil

You know I’m addicted. You know I can’t get enough.
So when I heard they were coming back to town… I had to go!!!

So tonight was another night if fun with Cirque du Soleil.
Okay, so there wasn’t a tent. No Grand Chapiteau this time around.
Instead, it was a “repeat” of the show “Quidam” that first made its debut over a decade ago!
This time, a slightly smaller production, in a smaller venue and smaller cast. I think it’s one
of Cirque du Soleil’s latest marketing strategies. Bring back some of the older shows to
smaller “stadium” venues for a new audience. Same show, reinterpreted for a new space.

Not quite as impressive as “the real show” under the Big Top. But still a lot of fun!!!
For those who have never seen the show before, I’m sure they loved it. But to a true
Cirque du Soleil “snob” like myself, I could tell there were things missing. Some of the songs
were truncated. Some of the lyrics were missing. There seemed to be more “transition” and
less “spectacle.” And sadly, the main character clown was sadly unimpressive. No energy.

Even still… a less than stellar show is still great fun with Cirque du Soleil.
Like I said… I’m a Cirque snob…. I know it… I’m kind of a groupie.
And even more excited that up next is Cirque du Soleil’s newest production…
Michael Jackson’s “The Immortal Tour” coming to Chicago this summer!
Gotta get tickets right away!!!

Until then, I had my fix… I’m feelin’ better now…

Categories: art fair

So I got an e-mail today. One of many really. But one of them was special…
From the folks who organize “Art In The Barn” every Fall.
And I was pleased to find out that once again, I was one of their “Top 10 Sellers”!
Yep, last September was another great art fair for me in Barrington.
Incredible weather… great sales… and did I mention incredible milk shakes.
Plus, fantastic supportive customers & fans who come out art fair after art fair!

Not only did I win the “Best Of Ceramics” award during the show,
but now I find out that I was also one of the “Top 10 Sellers” again this year!

And my prize?…
Pre-acceptance, no jury process and a complimentary double booth space!!!
So I’ll definitely be headed back to Barrington this Fall.

Mark your calendars…
Saturday, September 22nd & Sunday, September 23rd.

Now I’ve got to spend some quality time tomorrow applying to the rest of them!
I wish it were this easy for all of my shows!

Categories: classes, process

Tonight we went low & flat… and switched from basic bowls to basic plates.
I showed them how easy it is to throw plates. They’re basically just a low, flat cylinder
with the sides bent down. And then I explained that the tougher part of the process
is trimming & drying. I guess we’ll need to cover that more next week… or the next…

And it looks like I may need to do some stamping before then, right?!!

Categories: classes, stamps, textures

Tonight I made it back into the studio to do a little more work on the “basic” bowls
I made last night as part my class demo. A big part of my demo is trying to convince
my students to “make their own mark” and do something to their pots to make them
their own. Don’t settle for a simple, plain round bowl… when you can take time to add
a little design & style! So we’ve already made stamps in class… gently pushing my
“addiction” onto my students! As part of my mission, I had some work to do to add some
of my own “style” to a few of the “plainer” bowls from last night’s class demo.

Bowl #1 – A simple flanged rim quickly becomes far less “simple” with some repetitive
stamped impressions and a fun little pattern!

Bowl #2 – An extra wide flange gives me “extra wide space” to stamp. What fun!!!

Bowl #3 – What started with a simple fluted flange…
suddenly a lot more fun with a single row of stamps just below the flange!
oops… forgot to take a photo of the “in process stamping” stage… sorry!

Categories: art fair

I received an e-mail today telling me that a customer has requested a “chargeback”
on a purchase from last October!!! What?!… how does that happen?!
The folks at The Square notified me to see if I wanted to dispute the “charge-back.”
They’ve already taken the money out of my account – and I need to dispute it if I expect
to get the money back. Of course I said yes… let’s dispute!!!

The customer purchased $110.78 during “ART DETOUR” way back on October 8, 2011.
One wall pocket vase & three votive candle holders. She picked what she wanted & seemed
pleased with her purchase. I have not heard anything from her since. Until today.

So I sent the folks at The Square a couple photos of the actual credit card slip to “prove”
that she signed for the charge, as well as furnished her phone number.

I still don’t quite understand how she can have her pottery for over three months
and then try to get her money back?! So she gets her money and I get nothing?!
I didn’t see anywhere that I would get my pottery back. It all seems a little odd to me!

Has anyone else had a situation similar to this with The Square?!