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

It was a very long drive. Luckily, it’s pretty much a straight shot to Minneapolis!
I got into town fairly early, so I swung past my cousin’s place in White Bear Lake
to drop off some “surprise presents” on their front porch! Remember back to
“the incident” and the projects the kids were working on? Well, I finished them off
for the kids, glazed ’em & fired ’em. So I dropped off their planters… plus my
demo planter with a colorful arrangement of succulent plants.

Then I drove further on towards Bob Briscoe’s studio – always the first stop in my
annual Pottery Tour. I got there a bit early so I squeezed in a few moments of shut-eye.
The tour “officially” starts at 10:00am, but who am I to play by the rules when others
were getting a head-start?! So I began my Tour fun about 9:45am!!!

Straight to the Matt Metz collection… of course, I needed to add to my Metz collection!
I quickly snatched up to adorable lidded jars. Then headed on to see more…

After setting down my new Matt Metz jars on the “hold” shelves, I was quickly greeted
by Suze Lindsay with a hug and a great discussion. It was still early in the morning and
the hoarding masses hadn’t arrived yet, so she was free to chat for awhile. My friend
Amy arrived and we continued our shopping. As we were admiring, shopping, resisting
and being inspired, Amy’s friend Debbie showed up to join our adventure. Before we left
Bob’s place, I did snatch up a new Suze Lindsay tumbler!

After a long visit at Bob Briscoe’s we finally moved on towards Connee Mayeron’s
studio which is not the closest one… but it is the studio with two of the artists that
Amy was anxious to see… and shop! There we found Jenny Mendes and the work
of Shoko Teruyama. Both make these insanely detailed & meticulous pieces with
incredible illustrations. While Amy & Debbie were fawning over their work, I was
quickly distracted by the s’mores at the campfire!

We then moved on just south to Guillermo Cuellar’s studio. Hundreds of pots scattered
all over the tables around his yard. Our friend Delores Fortuna shows her work here,
and her Tour assistant Roberta Polfus was there to play with us for awhile! While there,
the beautiful blue skies clouded over, the temperature dropped and the winds picked up…
it felt like a storm might be rolling in.

We made a quick stop off for a picnic lunch overlooking the river. Unfortunately, it was
getting chilly… and the picnic table only had one side?! So we didn’t linger too long…
and we had more studios to see!

Moving along the Tour, we went to Will Swanson’s place – which had expanded from last year.
More big tents in the backyard gave more room for more great pots. Tom Turner was one
of the “new” potters on the Tour. He’s been making pots for a long time, and has created
some wonderful crystalline glazes. I was lucky to snatch up a small tumbler to add to my
mug collection… okay, not quite a mug, but close enough!

We did a quick stop at the studio of Jeff Oestreich, and saw some pieces by Josh DeWeese.
I had taken a workshop with him years ago, and it was great to see a collection of his work.

Next we went to Linda Christianson’s studio. A beautiful, wooded area with plenty of
trillium blooming and a beautiful pile of wood next to the kiln shed. While there, we
also met Michael Hunt & Naomi Dalglish on the Tour. It’s a husband & wife working
together to create their pieces. Apparently, Naomi went to Earlham College with my potter
friend Emily Murphy. So I just “needed” to pick up a couple plates…

Moving on, we went to Richard Vincent’s studio for some more great pots… and some
quality time playing with & making fun of my potter friend Steven Hill. I’ve known
Steven for a few years during his time here in Illinois. He has since moved back to
Missouri… and still not made my set of dinnerware?! It’s only been a few years…
but I’m still waiting… and not letting him off the hook!

By this time… it was already past 6:00pm. So officially they were closed!
Begrudgingly, we finished up and headed back to the hotel.
Day One almost done.

Gotta get some sleep tonight – as tomorrow is going to be another busy day!



1 Comment

May 17th, 2012

Thanks for the tour! Loved it!

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