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

Done. With not even a day to spare.
My friend & metalsmith Sarah Chapman and I have been making ornaments every month as part of our “Monthly Holiday Ornament Challenge”… clever name, huh? I’ve been a little busy getting ready for last weekend’s Schaumburg art fair, so it was nice to finally take time in my studio last night working on my ornament. Sarah sent hers to me awhile ago… I was the slacker this month. But we made it… today is the last day of May. So technically, we made it just under the deadline!!!

Sarah’s ornaments for May are made of brass with a hydraulic pressed and hung with a red silk cord. Peace, love and hope “ribbon” ornaments for the holiday season.

I decided to tackle the porcelain again for my monthly ornament. I made large disks of clay and then pierced them and stamped them. Lots of dots. Lots of circles. Lots of fun. I’m kind of hoping that people’s Christmas lights will shine through some of the holes when the ornaments are hanging on their tree?!

They still need a little touching up. Some cleaning. Some finishing. And then some bisqueing! I’m thinking these porcelain ornaments will be glazed in a few different colors… and then have a wire hoop added to it for hanging. So far, so good… I’m trying to keep them flat… and in one piece. They’re kind of thin. And they’ll get even thinner as they shrink. I may need to make another batch?!… or two!

Categories: bike, sunrise

Day Two on the “new bike.”
And so much better with normal shoes. No slipping. No sliding.
Still kinda weird trying to figure out where my feet are supposed to “hit” on the pedals?!
With my real shoes on my “real” bike, I click right into place right away.
Who knew that going back to “old school” would be so tough?

And the sunrise was pretty nice too. Even if I was more focused on my feet?!

Categories: Chicago, friends, special events, Taylor

Last night I took my niece Taylor, and her best friend Piper, to Opening Night of “Cirque Shanghai” on Navy Pier. I thought it would be a nice treat for them to come play downtown for the night. Sure, it’s a school night… but that’s not really MY problem, right? I’m just the “fun” Uncle!!! Plus it was GREAT entertainment for me too!!!

It was a very FULL evening  And on a school-night no less. We did dinner, ice cream, show, Ferris Wheel and fireworks. We started with dinner at the Billy Goat for “Cheezeborgers, cheezeborger, cheezeborger. No fries, chips!!!” Then followed that quickly with some yummy ice cream before the show started. Some great fun downtown for a couple little suburb girls!!!

We then went into the Skyline Stage for “Cirque Shanghai.” Taylor came to see the show last year too. But was excited to see this year’s version, and to share the experience with her buddy Piper.

One of their favorite acts was the Motorcycle Cage… where there were five, yes count them FIVE, motorcycles inside the cage all zooming around at the same time! Unfortunately, it didn’t show up too well in the photo?!

And does it strike anyone else as “weird” that in a show named “Dragon’s Thunder” that this illuminated gobo pattern on the wall was really the only dragon in the show?!… well, that and one dragon backdrop curtain!!!

As you’re exiting the theater, you go past the souvenir stand… and then they have a few of the performers there for photos & autographs. I love seeing a kid look at the autograph… and not being able to read ANY part of it. Of course, they sign their names in Chinese!!!

After the show & souvenirs, we watched the fireworks that shoot off over Lake Michigan. So much fun seeing the “first fireworks of the season” set to pop music… and listening to the little cuties sing every word to every song!!! When the firework show ended, we made our way to the huge Ferris Wheel for a spin.

They were a little anxious getting on… but once we were going, they both had a great time. And the view of the city was perfect as it turned out to be a beautiful night!

As our evening came to a close, it was obvious that the Pier may be slowing down… but NOT the girls!!! They were wired and ready to play. Or to strike a pose!!!

We all had a great evening… but after all the adrenaline & sugar-buzz, they were quickly re-named “Hyper & Piper.” And I must admit… I did feel just a wee-bit sorry for my sister Jen who had the “privilege” of driving them both home to the suburbs. I’m sure it was a long drive… but that’s my motto… Get ’em sugared up and send ’em home!!!


Categories: bike, sunrise

Seems like it’s been raining for weeks. Okay, slight exaggeration.
I’m tired of gray & gloomy... but I couldn’t wait any longer.

I couldn’t wait any longer to ride my NEW BIKE!!!
Okay, it’s not really “mine”… but just the same.
I got a new bike to ride during our upcoming “glitter gig” in Dover, Delaware. And I’ve been wanting to get some miles on it before we pack it on the truck to ship it out East.

When I got up this morning, the roads were wet which generally sends me back to bed. But like I said, I couldn’t wait any more. So I hopped on the bike for its first maiden voyage.

Sure, I wore the wrong shoes… my real bike shoes had nothing to clip into?!
Sure, I realized there’s no water bottle… luckily, the drinking fountains are back on.
Sure, I was not excited about getting the brand new bike wet & grimy…
but it had to happen sometime, right?!

Not only did the bike get christened with it’s first ride this morning.
But I also got “christened” by some more rain during the last few miles of my ride!

Categories: art fair, mugs, pottery

The first of my Facebook Fans who stop by the booth and give us the code word “JAVA JIVE” will get to pick out their own FREE MUG! The race is on…

And remember, you can always follow Fire When Ready Pottery on Facebook.
Just click here for the link, and then hit the “LIKE” button for quick pottery updates, photos & stories in your News Feed. There’s always more on the blog, but for a “quick fix”… have fun on Facebook.

Categories: nature, photography

Who knew there could be so much natural beauty out in the ‘burbs???

Categories: art fair, pottery

So we’re set-up and I decided to take a quick photo tour of the park that we’re set-up at for the weekend. Wildlife included. Plus, the sun has popped out for a few minutes! So here’s a quick tour… before the clouds decide to show up again.

But back to the matter at hand… and the clouds that came back in…
So we’re set-up and ready for the customers to come flooding in!!!

And another “bonus” at the Schaumburg art fair, we also get an extra 5-feet on the side of our tents. We’re not jammed tight side-to-side. A little breathing room! So, of course, I need to take advantage of that… and we now have our “Garden Annex” set-up with textured terra cotta planters, stamped flower pots, windowsill herb pots and groovy garden stakes!




Categories: art fair, Mom & Dad

It’s early morning and the clouds are still rolling through. But we’re still setting up my art fair booth & hoping for the best. The tent is anchored down and my “assistant” is starting to put the pots out on my shelving. She also “doubles” as my Mom… not only a great help, but she also makes great cookies! There’s a tin of chocolate chip cookies around here somewhere???


Categories: art fair, artists, pottery

With tomorrow being the kick-off of my Summer Art Fair season, I figure it’s perfect timing to share this brilliant video again. Sadly… it’s oh, so true. We’ve all been there. We’ve all seen it. We’ve all suffered through it. And if I’m lucky, maybe it will happen again this weekend. If it does, I’m sure I’ll have a good story to share! One of my favorite lines… “Like real pottery I buy at a store?”

Just promise me that YOU won’t be one of THOSE art fair people!!!

Click here to watch the video : “Potter At An Art Fair.”

Categories: pottery, production

I’m trying to finish up a few loose ends. Tonight I matched up the new salt & pepper shakers with their terra cotta trays. Glad that they all fit together… even though I was more than a little concerned as I kept watching the trays shrink. I was afraid they were going to end up too small. But no… they worked out perfect. And now they’re perfectly matched!!!

I know it’s a little tough to determine scale in these photos. So this should help…

There’s a limited supply of these… headed out the door tomorrow to the Schaumburg Prairie Arts Festival. Not sure how long they’ll last…