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

We’re nearing the end of the year… and quickly approaching the Holiday Season!
And it’s hard to believe that Sarah Chapman and I have been doing our Monthly Holiday Ornament Challenge for eleven months now. Only one more to go!!! Unfortunately, Sarah has been a little too busy making work for the coming weekend’s “One Of A Kind Show” here in Chicago. So we may need to give her a pass on the November ornament? And if you’d like to stop by and see here at “One Of A Kind Show”,
click here for a link to get your FREE PASSES!!!

Meanwhile, I’ve been working on my ornaments for November. They’ve been done for awhile… kinda waiting for Sarah’s entry before I posted. But today is the last day of November, so here goes…

This month’s entry is a layered terra cotta ornament.  A simple snowflake on a contemporary textured circle. Here we are in “production mode” making a full batch of ornaments.

When they were dry, I added a thin wash of black underglaze to add some dimension to the textures on the back circle.

Then I painted the snowflake disc with some low-fire white glaze. A single, low-fire electric firing and these ornaments should be done and waiting for a golden ribbon.

NOTE – – – – – – – – – –
So, some of you may have gotten a “sneak peek” at this month’s holiday ornament during my Holiday Home Show. And a few of them may already have them hanging on your tree. Just pretend that these are “new” for this post. Don’t ruin the illusion for the others.


Categories: bike, sunrise

Last night I picked up my re-aligned wheels at the bike shop.
So I was pretty anxious to get out on my bike this morning.
I had no idea how “out-of-true” my wheels really were
until I rode so smoothly this morning!

Categories: Chicago, sunrise, sunset

My bike wheels are in the shop being realigned.
And I’m working everyday this week at Navy Pier setting up Winter WonderFest
so I don’t have as much time in the morning for my sunrise bike ride.
Doesn’t mean I need to miss the sunrise though…

Sunrise today over Lake Michigan on my way to Navy Pier on Lake Shore Drive.

Sunset today looking back at the Chicago skyline as I was leaving Navy Pier.

Beautiful… both coming AND going!

Categories: family, holiday

Yesterday was another great Thanksgiving Day.
I spent the day with several family members at my Aunt Marilyn’s house. Even my cousin Michael and his family came down from Minneapolis. I of course turn into the BEST Uncle Gary ever as his kids were happy to see me, and so quick to play games, cards, piano, and so much more! After dinner, we turned the table to the “main course”… (for me anyway)… DESSERT!!! And of course we can’t just eat dessert… we need to have some fun with it first!!!

So here’s the oldest of the Minnesota kids… Mitchell…

And then Caroline…

And my little buddy Christopher…

And the brothers together…

But don’t blame me… I can honestly say that I did NOT squirt any whipping cream in any kid’s mouths. But some of you might recognize the real trouble-maker. Sure, I may have been “instigating & encouraging” the food fiasco.  But my Mom was the one doing all of the dirty work. I think memories like these are far more important than the adults having enough whipped cream on their piece of pumpkin pie.

And yes, I may not have been the one squirting whipped cream… but I did have a little “something” to do with finishing the Thanksgiving desserts!!!

And I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family & friends…
and had a little FUN with your food too!!!

Categories: holiday

Just finished making my dessert for today’s Thanksgiving Feast… cheesecake with cherries as requested by my cousin Michael’s family! If you’re serving your feast on Fire When Ready Pottery, I’d love to see some photos!!! After you’ve stuffed yourself, of course!

Categories: holiday
Categories: artists, mugs

I stopped by my studio tonight and made the “mistake” of cruising through the Lillstreet Gallery. Everyone needs to buy themselves a pre-Thanksgiving gift, right?! I ended up adding two great pieces to my mug collection. One by Kristen Kieffer, and one by Jeff Campana. Love ’em both!!!

I’ve long admired the work of Kristen Kieffer. I love her combination if stamping & slip trailing. No detail is overlooked. With a smooth satin glaze that breaks in all the right places to accentuate the patterns & designs. For more of Kristen Kieffer’s work, click here for her website.

And then there’s Jeff Campana. Again, a beautiful mug… but even cooler when you realize how he’s making them. He actually makes the piece and then cuts it into pieces and then puts it back together! Crazy cool, huh?! For more about Jeff Campana Ceramics, click here for his ceramics website.

For a little Jeff Campana process-photo-explanation, click here for a blog post that shows how he puts them all back together! Here’s a sneak peek…

Cutting the form apart…

Putting it back together with a new bottom “groove”…

The thrown-separately “disc” bottom…

That fits perfectly into the groove ads the “new” bottom of the pot.

Check his website for more!

Categories: Chicago, holiday, special events

When we walked onto Navy Pier’s Festival Hall this morning, this is what we saw.
A blank slate waiting for us to transform it into Winter WonderFest.
We have about nine days for a complete the over-the-top transformation. Here we go…

Categories: friends, nature

A quick Thank You to one of my customers who stopped by this weekend for the Holiday Home Show. It was great to see her again… and she brought me treats!!! Okay, so I’ve never actually eaten a persimmon. Heck, I don’t know that I’ve ever even SEEN a persimmon?! But I’m always willing to try something new. So apparently I need to let them ripen a bit more… and then I can give ’em a go! Thanks Robin!!!

Categories: art fair, friends

Whew… another Holiday Home Show done. It was a great weekend. Lots of fun. Lots of pots. Lots of food. And most importantly, lots of great customers. Thanks to all of you for stopping by & supporting your “favorite” potter!!! I hope you all love your new pottery. I’m happy just knowing that they all went off to a good home… yours!!!