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

Here we go…. our fourth month… April.
And another batch of holiday ornaments made by me & four of My Talented Friends.
Remember, we’ve all signed-on for a Monthly Holiday Ornament Challenge.
The plan is for each of us to make a new ornament each month of the year.
We’re four months in… it’s hard to believe we’re a third of the way through already!!!

My Talented Friend : Cory McCrory
Cory was a bit “sheepish” about turning in this month’s ornament. She didn’t have time to create a whole flock like she wanted to. She was a baaaaa-d girl. I’m in the days to come she’ll be cranking out a few more… as she wouldn’t want to pull the wool over our eyes with just one!

My Talented Friend : Sarah Chapman
For April, Sarah made a patterned metal ribbon ornament out of copper. According to Sarah, “I needed a break from making earrings for One-of-a-Kind this week and decided hammering some metal would do it! I started by roller printing the floral pattern onto a copper sheet. Then I went to work hammering folds into the piece, letting it be as ribbon-y as it wanted to be!”

My Talented Friend : Roberta Polfus
Roberta made a few “Queen Of Hearts” ornaments by carving & poking some porcelain. A beautiful stylized ornament.

My Talented Friend : Amy Taylor
Amy switched back to her metalsmithing ways and offered up a few ornaments very reminiscent of her hinged jewelry line. Sweet little jewels for anyone’s tree!

My Talented Friend : … oh wait, it’s ME again!!!
And for my April ornaments, I returned to a variation of a favorite from two years ago. The stamped star impression becomes more dimensional when the star “puffs up” with a gentle curve on both sides.

I started by cutting out the stars and giving them the gentle curve. I then attached tow of them together… one with the stamp impression for the front, and a plain star for the back.

I then painted the back solid with Nichols Gold Flashing Slip… as well as the front border around the star impression. Once soda-fired, we should see some nice “mustard” gold-ish colorations on the front & back. The star impressions will most likely be inlaid with temoku glaze and then soda fired in my next kiln… in about two weeks! So we should see some results relatively soon!!!

So there they are… April ornaments of My Talented Friends Cory, Sarah, Roberta & Amy. Be sure to check out their websites. They’re all in the LINKS section in the far right column. And they all have fun Facebook pages too. Find your favorites & follow them everywhere!

Categories: friends, My Talented Friends

Spent the day at the Spring One-Of-A-Kind Show with “My Talented Friend” Sarah Chapman. Wonderful metalsmithing and designs… like this beauty made of copper & silver. I’ll be there tomorrow helping her out again. If you want to see some amazing art, and her incredible jewelry, c’mon down to the Merchandise Mart tomorrow!

A better close-up shows better details of Sarah Chapman’s incredible handiwork. Oxidized sterling silver with a roller-printed “embossed” pattern and iolite points protruding from the side. Gorgeous!

Here’s the “other” side of the twosome necklace by Sarah Chapman. This side is roller-print “embossed” copper and “stitched” with beads of iolite, labradorite & chalcedony

For more about Sarah’s amazing metal works, click here for her website.

Categories: studio

Dirty… but still doing their duty!

Categories: bowls, process, production

With just a month left before art fair season, it’s time to buckle down and produce some more pots! Tonight I focused on throwing some more bowls… that will be trimmed & drilled to become berry bowls.

And some small plates that will go under the berry bowls.

Categories: artists, bowls, creativity, process

Here’s a pretty amazing technique to decorate the inside of a bowl. Always an awkward place to get into without altering the pattern or the bowl. Well, here’s a way to alter BOTH that looks so perfect you’d have no idea of what it went through to get to this point. My students know I’m not a big fan of the heat gun… but for this technique it might just be worth it?! File this one under “Things I Definitely Need To Try.”

Click here for Forrest Middleton’s video clip courtesy of Ceramic Arts Daily.

Categories: bowls, family, holiday

Apparently the Easter Bunny left far too much candy for my cousin’s kids in Minnesota?! They still have a LOT of sugar going on up there. Luckily, they have a great bowl and a few spoons to help scoop up some sweets! Because you know that jelly beans always taste better when eaten off a handmade ceramic spoon… or five!

Categories: flowers, nature

Possibly the only bright spot in an otherwise gloomy Chicago morning.

Categories: art fair

We’re exactly one month away from the kick-off of my Summer Art Fair schedule. I start off on Memorial Day weekend and continue through the summer. Mark your calendars for the list of shows below. I’ve been making a lot of new work. Lots of bisque piling up in my studio… gotta start glazing & firing soon! And then it’s time to pull out the tent and dust it off. It will be fun to get out there again to see all the smiling faces of my wonderful customers!

Schaumburg Prairie Fine Arts Festival
Saturday, May 28th, 2016 – 10:00am-6:00pm
Sunday, May 29th, 2016 – 10:00am-5:00pm
Robert O. Atcher Municipal Center
201 Schaumburg Court in Schaumburg, Illinois

Hinsdale Fine Arts Festival
Saturday, June 11th, 2016 – 10:00am-6:00pm
Sunday, June 12th, 2016 – 10:00am-5:00pm
Burlington Park on Chicago Avenue between Washington & Garfield Streets
in Hinsdale, Illinois

Evanston Lakeshore Fine Arts Festival
Saturday, August 6th, 2016 – 11:00am-6:00pm
Sunday, August 7th, 2016 – 11:00am-6:00pm
Along Lake Michigan’s shores at Dawes Park on Sheridan Road at Clark Street
in Evanston, Illinois

Art In The Garden : A Grassroots Art Fair
Saturday, September 1oth, 2016 – 10:00am-5:00pm
Sunday, September 11th, 2016 – 10:00am-5:00pm
1205 Hutchings Avenue, Glenview, IL 60025
One block west of Waukegan Road, between Lake Street and Glenview Road.
It’s a special weekend to play with some of My Talented Friends!!!
We’re at the home of metalsmith Amy Taylor, with our other artist friends…
including wonderful & whimsical paperclay artistry of Cory McCrory, glass bead jewelry by Donna Sauers, metal jewelry by Carole Axium, paintings & sculptures by Martin Chadwick, stained glass by Retta Hentschel and ice-dyed scarves by Jill Wheeler.

Art In The Barn
Saturday, September 24th, 2016 – 10:00am-5:00pm
Sunday, September 25th, 2016 – 10:00am-5:00pm
Located on the grounds (and in the barns) of Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital
on Route 22 in Barrington, Illinois – Lower Barn E4 & E6


And then it’s never too soon to start thinking about the holidays, right???

“My Home For The Holidays” Home Show
Saturday, November 19th, 2016 – 10:00am-6:00pm
Sunday, November 20th, 2016 – 10:00am-6:00pm

“Mud & Metal” : A Collaborative Holiday Home Show
A second Holiday Home Show for those who need some last-minute gifts!
Saturday, December 10th, 2016 – 10:00am-6:00pm



Categories: Chicago, nature, weather

Soon enough the sphere at Chicago’s Solder Field will again be covered with vines.
But on another cold & rainy day… not so much.

Categories: food

Look what arrived in my studio the other day… M&M S’MORES!!!
Yep, the online challenge worked.

I couldn’t find them in Chicago, but a few resourceful people have found them elsewhere. Congratulations to Liz from Massachusetts who was the first person to get them to me. For her “heroic” efforts, Liz gets a FREE MUG as promised.

I shared the sweet treats with my pottery class last night. Pretty tasty… but I do believe they missed the mark just a bit. I kind of think they should have made the light brown ones just graham cracker filled, the dark brown ones regular M&M chocolates and the white ones marshmallow filled. Instead they all taste the same – kinda like s’mores without the fun or gooey mess?!

Thanks to everyone who played along with my crazy challenge…
but you understand the “addiction” involved when you combine two of my favorite things…
M&M’s and S’MORES!!!