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

Today was the “Cookie Bake-Off” with my Summer Campers.
We had twelve homemade options to choose from thanks to some very talented baking kids!!! Yummy… and quite entertaining to see my campers after all that sugar!!! A sampling of all twelve cookies for everyone to taste-test and vote!!!

Here are the twelve different varieties…

Yes, that last one – the white Sugar Cookies were the WINNER!!!
And will win the coveted “Best Cookie” Trophy plate that I made.
Congratulations Max… great cookies!!!

Categories: summer camp

This week’s Summer Camp is “Fire, Forge & Feast.” Two days of making thematic clay dinnerware pieces, followed by two days of metals making the forks, knives & spoons. On Friday we pull it all together with a full Potluck lunch with the kids using the themed dinnerware sets they’ve just made!!! While our Clay pieces go into the kiln, today we started in Metals… with a lot of teaching, sawing, filing & sanding. Here’s my co-teacher Pam Robinson showing the kids some of the metalsmithing basics…

After Pam’s demo, thee was a LOT of sawing, filing & sanding. Followed by texturing, stamping & forming. The kids have a LOT of work ahead of them to finish off their thematic dinnerware sets!!!

And in case you’re wondering… here’s a quick example of the cutlery they’re working on. Clay handles with metal utensils inserted into them.

Here’s another challenge for the kids… we’re keeping track of the number of saw blades they break. Whoever breaks the LEAST over the next three days will win a prize!!!

Categories: artists, My Talented Friends

Another colorful glimpse into my collaboration with Cory McCrory on some wall pieces for the upcoming “Art In The Garden.” Her pieces made it through the bisque kiln. My bisqued “parts” are currently cooling in the kiln… and soon to be glazed!!!

Categories: sunrise
Categories: bike, sunrise

Another cloudy morning. But today the clouds allowed the sun to play amongst them.
A shimmer. A shine.

And a wonderful sky show of dramatic clouds and the sun rays popping through.

Categories: bike, sunrise

Yesterday started out with gloomy skies & dark clouds on the horizon. I was pleased to find a quick “pop” of whimsy on Oak Street Beach. Someone was putting their “best feet forward” in a not-so-subtle advertisement for the Rene Magritte exhibit at the Art Institute. Made me smile… as did the sliver of a sunrise shimmer that followed.

Categories: summer camp, terra cotta

My Summer Campers finished building their themed dinnerware sets today. With their terra cotta, they’ve made plates, platters, bowls, cups, mugs, handles and more! Today we also glazed them with a once-fired colored glaze palette. Right now everything is in front of a box fan trying to dry as fast as possible… and we load them into the kiln tomorrow morning. Can’t wait to see all of their pieces come together on Friday!!!

Categories: blogs

It appears as though the fine folks at FACEBOOK are still trying to make it hard for small businesses to promote themselves. Oh sure, we can get a lot of people to “LIKE” our business pages… but getting our posts to those Facebook Followers? Well, that’s another story.

I currently have over 1,750 Facebook Followers for my pottery page.
However, each of my recent posts appears to only have reached about 350 people.
Not really sure how they decided WHICH Fans get them and which one’s don’t?!

It’s all part of their Master Plan to get businesses to pay extra money to “promote” their Business Page postings. Not the “FREE” Facebook that everyone is accustomed to. And let me just say, I will not be using that “service” to give them more money!

So, if you would like to see more of the postings from the Business Pages you have chosen to follow (like mine), it seems as though you need to click LIKE on postings more frequently, or leave a COMMENT now and again. And remember that you can always type in the name of the Business Page to see what you’ve been missing.

To see what’s going on with Fire When Ready Pottery on Facebook,
click here… and be sure to click the LIKE button.


Categories: summer camp

Today was the first day of a new week of Summer Camp.
We’re doing “Fire, Forge & Feast” this week… one of my favorites!!!
But when the “morning doodles” looked like this… I was a bit concerned?!!!

Looks like I have a little work ahead of me this week getting everyone “focused”
on the task at hand. It might be a long week…

Categories: process, stamps, textures, YouTube

It’s been a little while since my last video… so I decided it’s about time!!!
This platter was made with B-Clay, and was a little bit softer than I would normally like for stamping. But with my busy schedule this week, I knew that I had limited time in the studio. So… go for it now?… or wait and run the chance of it drying up too much?

Of course I decided to go for it!!!
You just need to be a bit more careful, use more even pressure on both sides…
and hope that the stamp doesn’t “stick” when it gets a little damp.

Click here for my latest Platter Stamping Demo on YouTube.

And here’s the set of tools that did all of the work…
one handmade stamp, two wooden tools and a thin sgraffito loop tool.

Click here for my latest Platter Stamping Demo on YouTube.