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

Thrown tonight… trimming, stamping & finishing tomorrow if all goes as planned.

Categories: bike, Chicago

Today started out cloudy, and ended up being sunny.
Quite the opposite of yesterday.

But the morning skies left no room for a sunrise of any kind.
The clouds & morning mist were so heavy you couldn’t even see the downtown skyline?!…
let alone twenty feet in front of you?!

Yep… the skyscrapers should be there somewhere?…
at the end of the lights on Lake Shore Drive. Gone, but not forgotten…

Categories: bike, sunrise

This morning started out cold & clear.
Not but one lonely cloud in the sky.

Later in the day however, we traded off the cold temp for a bunch of clouds. It’s been cloudy gray all afternoon… but almost 30-degrees warmer!!!

Fair trade-off for today I guess.

Categories: flowers

Today was the Chicago Shamrock Shuffle.
And coincidentally, my oxalis shamrock plants were looking especially good today!

Even some delicate white blossoms to celebrate today’s big race!

And some great back-lighting to show all of the veins, colors & textures!

Even my purple shamrock plant was rockin’ it today!
With some precious, light purple flowers popping up from the dramatic purple leaves!

Categories: special events

Today was the Chicago Shamrock Shuffle.
Sure, it’s not even close to St. Patrick’s Day… but who’s counting?!
What it is for many of us is the kick-off of the outdoor sporting season.
But for me, it was actually my very first outdoor run this year!!! No real training for me!

My friends Chris & Nancy met me at my condo, and the three of us took the El train downtown. Not knowing what kind of weather was in store for us, we all brought a few extra options. So after layering it on, we took our “extras” to Gear Check and prepared for the run. Yeah, me and thirty-thousand other runners!!!

Chris and I were finally all bundled up with layers of moisture-wicking clothes, tights, pants, windbreakers, hats, gloves, socks… and then more of the same… ready for the run ahead of us. Feeling a little “thick” from all the layers… but I’d rather be “thick” than freezing cold!!!

I also ran into Jeff… husband of my friend & college Little Sister Pam.
Surprising, that out of thirty thousand runners, we just happen to be in the same area. It was Jeff that recognized Chris & I as we were in Corral E waiting for our chance to start. It’s a lot of waiting & standing around for those of us in Wave Two… starting at 9:15am.

The Shamrock Shuffle is a really fun race that takes you through a lot of the downtown area. It was quite windy in several sections. Especially in the cross-street areas where it would catch you off guard… and then the wind would SLAM you from the side!!!

I, of course, could not resist a quick photo-op with the Nesquik Chocolate Bunny!!!

Thousands of people flooding through the Finish Line…
each thrilled to be done with their first race of the season!

We all met up after the race at Buckingham Fountain. Including my friend Tracy who had us all sign-up on her team “Step In Time.” Sure, it’s too early in the season for the fountain to be working yet, but still… it’s kind of a tradition. Tracy and I have a very similar photo from our marathon finishes two years ago. Unfortunately, the winds were picking up, the temperatures were dropping and you could tell that some rain & sleet were imminent. So we only hung out for a little while, then walked back to the El for a train ride home.

It felt great to be back home… finally warm & dry after a nice hot shower.
A couple snacks, some more water and feeling good.

And so begins another season… running, biking, racing, Tri’s, whatever… bring it on!!!

Categories: clay, process

Today in the studio I spent couple hours with a pile of gooey clay. My pile of reclaim clay has been drying out on a large plaster bat for a few days. The top layer and edges were getting pretty dry. So I started by shaving them off and wedging them back in with some wetter clay.

At my wedging table I pounded the mess of clay into blocks. Then I took those blocks and shaved off thin slices, layering them into new piles. Mixing the clay a bit more in the process.

But when I got to the “center” of my reclaim pile, it was still a LOT wetter & gooier than the rest. But of course I was impatient… and not ready to stop in the middle of the project. Instead, I cut the clay into thinner slices and stood them up with a fan on them. Hoping the breeze would speed up the process a bit… I’m not sure that it did?! But it felt like the right thing…

While I was slicing & layering, mixing & homogenizing the clay, I sliced into something hard. What?

Oh… so THAT’s where my yellow rib had disappeared to.
Inside my reclaim bucket with lots of clay scraps!!!
Good thing the “slicing into thin layers” trick found it before I tried to wedge it back in.

More pounding. More stacking. More layering. More pounding again. Block after block.

Soon enough, I had pounded up all of my reclaim clay.
Still a little gooey in some places, but layered & blocked up just the same.

I put all of the blocks into thick plastic bags where it will stay for a few weeks. Then I’ll start using the new reclaim clay… doing a “real” wedging as I go. Until then… it’s just free clay!!! And you know how I LOVE FREE CLAY!!!

And now

Categories: classes, lillstreet

Looks like there’s only one spot left in my Tuesday night Beginning & Advanced Beginning Wheelthrowing class for the Spring session that starts on April 7th. Sign up today before that last spot is gone… and we move onto a Waiting List situation!!!

Visit Lillstreet Art Center in person, call or click here to register online.

Categories: special events

Three strange things happened this morning at the health club.
It was a seemingly normal morning when I arrived at XSport Fitness… and then…

1. When I got into the locker room, one of the club attendants (who is usually vacuuming the place) was washing his feet in the sink with a bottle of water? And then using a hair drier to finish the job. And yes, he was still in uniform and still supposedly “on the job.”

2. An elderly man was confused in the Locker Room and asked me where the exit was.
I said “Turn around” as the open Locker Room door was directly behind him.

3. When I got to the group studio workout room for my Step Class, the Zumba class before was still going. But instead of the usual instructor, it was Louis Van Amstel from “Dancing With The Stars” teaching the class.

I think it was a “surprise” guest appearance. I never saw any notices.
And no, the Zumba class was not dressed for the occasion…

What’s going on today?!
Maybe I need to buy a lottery ticket? Or at least stay safe inside my condo?!!!

Categories: production

Okay, maybe I’m already addicted?
But now I’m working on a couple new spoon shapes.
Bigger? Longer? Narrower? Wider? Smaller?

Categories: bike, sunrise

Not much in the way of sun this morning.
Just a lot of chilling clouds. Pretty… but chilly & blue.