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

Another chilly morning, but a lot less wind. So the windchill felt a lot better. Nice.
But here’s a question… is it just too cold for clouds???


Categories: artists, friends, holiday, ornaments, production, seasons, studio

During this past holiday season, my metalsmith friend Sarah Chapman and I were already
planning the “next” holiday season. You know how we’re never satisfied… that’s us, always
moving forward… always working on the next project. So there we were working in Sarah’s
booth at the “One Of A Kind Show.” We both decided that she needs to try making Christmas
ornaments. And you know I’m always up for a challenge… always willing to “gently push”
my friends to play along with me. Thus the “2013 Ornament Challenge” was born.

So here’s the deal…
We’ve both committed to making a new & different holiday ornament every month in 2013.
I will post all of our ornaments here on my blog and we’ll both link to it on Facebook so
everyone can keep up with us. As we get closer to Christmas, there’s a really good chance
we may be asking for your input as to which of the monthly designs were your favorites
to help us decide which ones to make more of to sell for the holidays. Some ornaments may
be one-of-a-kind… some may be production… some may be a disappointment…
some may even be a Gary & Sarah collaboration of clay & metal.
Who knows where the ornament challenge may take us?… dare to dream, huh?!

Here’s Sarah’s entry for January. With a wonderful message to kick-off the New Year.
And according to Sarah… “It’s what everyone could use more of !”

And here’s my entry for January. Mine’s not quite a “done” as Sarah’s is. That’s me… slacker.
But working in clay is a little different than metal. It’s really tough to fire just one piece.
Or even five pieces. The problem is, you need to fill an entire kiln before you can fire them.
So I hate to say that the majority of mine will be somewhere in the leatherhard or greenware
state. I’ll try to re-post them again whenever they’re glazed and finished. So my ornament
this month is a wreath… trying to stay in my own style, use my own stamps, but still making
something new! I made five wreath ornaments so that I have a couple to play with when I get
to glazing & finishing. Hoping at least one of them turns out great…

Well, there it is… the kick-off of our “2013 Ornament Challenge.”
Our plan is to keep this up every month. To push each of us out of our comfort zone…
and force each of us to work on something new & different throughout the year.
And a great chance for Sarah & I to play with each other even though she’s
up & moved to Minneapolis. With this, we get to play long-distance every month!!!

For more about my metalsmith friend Sarah Chapman…
WEBSITE: Click here to see more incredible work by Sarah Chapman.

FACEBOOK: You can also follow Sarah on Facebook by clicking here!

Click here to follow me and Fire When Ready Pottery on Facebook.
Just be sure to click the “LIKE” button… and to “SHARE” with your friends!

Categories: bike, sunrise

Sure, it was cold this morning. It’s winter. Get used to it.
Somewhere in the vicinity of 19-degrees… colder with the windchill. But it also felt incredible
to be back in the saddle again. It’s been tough through the holidays – so busy with this & that.
My schedule seems to be getting back to normal. And we finally had a clear & sunny morning.
So I had to suck it up, pile on the layers and head on out the door. And it was well worth it…

Besides the sun that was slowly creeping up, I also loved the criss-cross ripples on the water.
A great texture that was ever-changing. Flowing in. Flowing out. Like a grid of ripples.
And then the sun finally made it up… Hello Morning Sunrise!!!

Welcome Back Mr. Sunrise… Welcome Back Mr. Bike… oh, how I’ve missed you both!


Categories: bike

It’s the New Year and time to get back on the saddle again… my bike saddle!!!
At the beginning of every year I start by zero-ing out my bicycle computer so I can track
my bike mileage for the year. So tonight I did it… with plans of a few miles tomorrow morning!

And don’t you just hate those instruction sheets that are “so easy” that they think you
can do it all with pictures and no words?! Well let me just say, it’s not that easy!!!
I would have preferred some words. In a step-by-step kind of way…

Categories: process, production, stamps, textures, tiles

Towards the end of last year, I had become kind of enamored with my new, slightly larger,
textured tiles. Now don’t get me wrong… they’re by no means large. They’re just a smidge
bigger. And I’m still digging ’em… so I had to make more!!!

By the end of the night, I had pretty much covered my entire work table. So I was done.
I put all of my tiles on a plastic grid so they can dry more evenly. It doesn’t always work,
but they seem to dry more evenly, with less warpage, when they have air drying them from
all sides, top & bottom. It’s a little “trick” I learned from friend & tile-maker Mike Skiersch.
It’s a simple “trick” using the plastic grids they put in suspended ceilings to help “hide” the
fluorescent light fixtures. Any hardware store has them… and they’re pretty darn cheap!!!

Categories: movies

Every year I try my best to see all of the movies nominated for Best Picture.
It’s always so much fun to see them all and have a “vested interest” in the outcome.
Well, today the nominations were revealed and I’ve got a lot of movies to see!
Out of the list for Best Picture, I’ve only seen one so far… “Les Miserables.”
And there are two I’ve never even heard of?!

“Beasts of the Southern Wild”
“Django Unchained”
“Les Miserables”
“Life of Pi”
“Silver Linings Playbook”
“Zero Dark Thirty”

So there they are… the 2013 Oscar Nominations for Best Picture.
I’ve got a LOT of movies to see… a lot of popcorn to eat… and quick!
The Academy Awards are on Sunday, February 24th… sooner than you think!


Categories: blogs

Well, I just found out tonight that I was chosen by the webmasters
at “Pottery Making Info” as one of the Top Ten Clay Bloggers of 2012.
I was chosen as #5… not that I’m counting!… Yeah me!!!

Okay… since I am apparently counting… this is my third year in a row in the Top Ten!!!

If you aren’t familiar, Pottery Making Info posts a great collection every month of
what’s happening on the many of the pottery blogs out there. Apparently they like
my pots, my stories, ,my stamps, my textures AND my sunrises!!! See, it’s all about me!!!

It is pretty exciting. And an odd sort of validation that what started as my own “little blog”
has turned into something bigger… and that it may actually be doing something, helping
someone, educating someone, or even amusing someone other than myself?! I remember
when I started it, my potter & friend Emily Murphy was the one encouraging me to do it.
I was hesitant. Fearing that I would have nothing to share and no one would care anyway.
Well, look at me now. I can’t stop posting… and apparently, someone does care.

To see the rest of the Top Ten list, click here… Top Ten Clay Bloggers of 2012.

So thank you “Pottery Making Info” for choosing my little blog again this year.
And thanks to the rest of you for taking time to read my posts… or at least look at the pictures!

Remember, if you want a more instant experience, just follow my pottery page on Facebook.
Click here for Fire When Ready Pottery on Facebookand then hit the LIKE button!

Categories: process, production, studio

I got my hands dirty tonightyeah!!!

I finally made it back into the studio and started working on a “new project”
for the New Year!!! I hoping that something comes of it… we’ll see…

Categories: art fair, artists, pottery

Great fun in my mailbox this weekend…
The posters for the St. Croix Valley Pottery Tour are out!!!

Mark your calendars for May 10th, 11th & 12th to make a trip up north
for an incredible weekend of pottery! This year there will be 50 well-known potters
from around the country showing at the seven local studios.

Sure, most of the standard favorites will be there… Bob Briscoe, Matt Metz, Suze Lindsay,
Steven Hill, Sylvie Granatelli, Ellen Shankin, and Delores Fortuna!!! But there are also a
few new faces on the Tour that I’m excited about too! Great artists. Great fun. Great pots!!!

Categories: inspiration

The beginning of a New Year is always a time for reflection.
A time to consider new directions. New paths. New adventures.
To figure out where you want to be & what you really want to do.
Here’s an inspirational video that might make you consider some alternatives to
your path. Enjoy… and then tell me what YOU would do if money didn’t matter!

Click here for the video… What If Money Didn’t Matter?