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

With a forecast for more snow this evening, I had a brief window of opportunity to get out this morning for my sunrise bike ride while the roads were still clear. Sure it was cold – but at least the windchill wasn’t so bitter!!! The lakefront is still covered with glaciers… and the splashing waves are making sure they don’t disappear any time soon.

And a quick Sunrise Selfie… with my helmet headlamp still shining!!!

Categories: bowls, classes, stamped

Last night in class we discussed Nesting Bowls. We talked about sizing, fitting and different ways to make them “look” like a better set. Whether adding a repetitive detail to each bowl, a quick rim flip, a glazing detail, whatever. We looked at some examples of traditional nesting bowls and discussed ways to make them.

Like these carved-rim bowls by Whitney Smith…

And these rim-flip bowls by Maria Gabriela…

Or a slightly Moroccan flair with a set by One Clay Bead in Asheville, NC…

I even showed them some photos of my own “nesting” bowls as they were going into the bisque kiln. Sure, they¬† weren’t designed to be nesting, nor were they glazed or finished as nesting… but they sure looked cool going into the kiln stacked this way. I may need to consider making some nesting bowls on purpose, huh?!

And these unbelievable & unconventional sets of nesting bowls by Alleghany Meadows!
See… they don’t always have to stack the way you think they should!!!

Categories: porcelain, process, stamped

Another batch of stamped ovals.
Thrown, oval-ed, stamped and waiting to be assembled.
This is the first time I’ve ever made them out of porcelain… I have high hopes. They’ve been a little more finicky than stoneware. Hope they make it through to the end?!!!

Categories: Mom & Dad, Taylor

I know it’s been awhile, and I’m glad she’s a patient girl…
But I “finally” got around to glazing the cute little pots my niece Taylor made during her latest visit to my studio. She finally got to work on the wheel and make a couple pots of her own. My Dad got to make a couple as well… and the center blue bowl was my demo. But here are the results :Taylor’s finished pots… finally… and her well-made & thought-out instruction sheet of what colors she wanted for each.

Categories: mugs, production, stamped

My favorite thing to make… MUGS.
So when I don’t quite know what to make, my default is MUGS!!!
Can’t stop myself…

Categories: artists, friends, My Talented Friends

We made it up to the Fifth Floor of the Bridgeport Art Center last night during their “Third Fridays” Open Studio Night. It was great to see all of the beautiful works up there of our friend Jay Strommen lining the hallways. He’s one of those “crazy” masterminds who creates incredible pieces… nothing that you would EVER expect. These wonderful wall pieces started as a “deconstruction” of the ceramic process using conventional materials in unconventional ways. They are wood fired with recycled glass accents.

This triptych is literally three kiln shelves layered with ceramic materials and then fired. You’ve got to love the layers, textures & details that literally “suck you in” to piece. The closer you look, the cooler it gets!

Another wood-fired tablet that looks kinda like a slab of Jasper stone.

A smaller, square tablet with layers of “clay” materials and a wonderfully shallow puddle of recycled glass… and a couple of drips along the way!

Each one more precious than the next… layers, textures, colors, glass…

And then there’s THIS masterpiece!!!
A large grouping of pieces lining the hallway. Each one spectacular. And the whole lot of them FANTASTIC!!! With carved circles, layered ceramic materials and incredible pools of turquoise glass. The cracking & fracturing of the glass is incredible as the light bounces around “inside” the piece.

So there’s a quick overview of Jay’s amazing work. For more information
about Jay’s work, he’s represented by Perimeter Gallery in Chicago.

While we were there, we also got a quick tour of his living space. The Bridgeport Art Center was recently rezoned as a “live/work” facility. So he & Gina are renovating a space in the Bridgeport Art Center as their living quarters. Complete with illuminated “floating” floor areas and a beautiful view of the Chicago River.

Jay then took us on a quick tour of the Fifth Floor space that is going to become the new Bridgeport Clay Center. It’s a beautiful lofted space with with a lot of history. Jay walked us through and showed us where the walls, the wheels, the wedging tables and everything else will be. The kiln room is just off to the side… under construction with two kilns already inside!!! It’s going to be a wonderful adventure & opportunity as another Clay Center comes to fruition under the watchful eyes of clay-genius Jay Strommen!

Categories: artists, gallery

Last night I went to the Bridgeport Art Center with my friend Kristin for their “Third Fridays” Open Studio Night. I’ve only been down there once before with the “glitter gig.” This was my first Open Studio Night so we were both excited to see some great art & visit with artists.

Their Gallery space was very nice. Quite a few beautiful pieces around the room – along with live music!!! Here’s one of the pieces that caught my eye… a diptych of color stripes. All made from tiny slices of colored paper.

I was also enamored by this “curtain” of prisms, mirrors and sparkle! It was a nice installation in the middle of the room… and I especially appreciated the way the light bounced off of it… and the shadowed patterns it created on the floor!

On the Fourth Floor, a little off to the side of the Gallery, is the glass studio of my friend Dobrila Pintar. She was there greeting people and showing off her beautiful pieces. Dobrila took my Beginning Wheel class “centuries” ago, and now teaches glass bead classes at Lillstreet. It was great to see her in own environment!!!

As we were touring the Fourth Floor studios, we followed the “maze” around the building. We turned a corner and suddenly it opened up to a large workroom filled with wonderfully precious artworks. Project Onward is housed in the Bridgeport Art Center… lots of glitter, tons of color, and a wonderful spirit.

According to their website…
Project Onward supports the professional development of artists with exceptional talents and challenges, ranging from autism to mental illness, and provides these artists with workspace, materials, professional guidance, exhibition opportunities and access to markets to sell their work and advance their careers.

Here’s one of my favorites by an artist named Sheila Smith. Such wonderful use of color & dots to create patterns & movement.

After our time in the Project Onward workroom, we were ready to leave the Fourth Floor and head up one more level to see our friend & ceramic mastermind Jay Strommen!!!


Categories: clay, process, stamped, stamps, textures, YouTube

Well, it’s been awhile now… and time for another VIDEO on YouTube!!!
What with the Academy Awards coming in two weeks and all…

This time I tackled a softer platter than I’m accustomed to.
I threw the platter as a demo during my Tuesday night wheelthrowing class. It sat out during class and stiffened up more than I expected. So I brought it up to my studio, sprayed it really well with water and wrapped it up. Maybe too well.

As you know, timing is everything. And I knew that I had a certain “window of opportunity” to do some stamping… otherwise it might be too dry if I put it off any longer. So I forged ahead… and it was a little sticky. Typically I like the pot to be on the softer end of the “leather-hard” spectrum. But this one may have been a smidge too soft. If you watch closely, you can see the stamp sticking a bit… and more apparent, my fingers were sticking to the clay too!

But I decided to forge ahead… knowing that it might stick too much or slump too much.
It’s just clay, right?!

Click here to go to YouTube for “Another Stamped Platter.”

Categories: holiday, Taylor

After a fun morning at Step Class, and then a not-so-fun afternoon memorial wake,
I got to spend some fun Valentine’s time with my niece Taylor!!!

We went to lunch after the wake to the Cheesecake Factory… my favorite!
I gave Taylor a couple heart cookies…

And she gave me a handmade Valentine Card… and a LOT OF LAUGHS!!!
We had a great time at lunch with her Mom & Dad (my sister). Maybe a little too much sugar was involved.. or at least a silly iPhone app or two!!!

Categories: artists, holiday

Here’s to hoping everyone is having a great Valentine’s Day today.
Spending time with the important people in your life… friends, family & loved ones.
Or at least doing whatever you love doing.

Special thanks to My Talented Friend Cory McCrory for letting me borrow this fantastic Valentine image… one of her whimsically textured hearts with the perfect LOVE message… stupid.