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

Today was the Grand Opening of the new Centennial Wheel at Navy Pier.
Celebrating “The First Ride” with all the pomp & circumstance it deserves.
Including a speech by Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and a group of adorable school kids with perfect school attendance to get it started. A quick “flip of the switch” and there were fireworks, kabuki steamers and a large rotating Ferris Wheel!!!

I was lucky enough to be invited to for the Big Event!!!
Huge thanks to my friends at Navy Pier for the invitation… Jen, Jared, Erika, Sue, etc.

And for the record… I was on the very first ride of  “The First Ride”
… ahead of all those other people! First one at the head of the queue I might add.

The view from above is pretty amazing too. This new Ferris Wheel is larger than the previous one… so the view seems that much larger too! Unfortunately the clouds had moved in… but still cool to see the Chicago Skyline and rest of Navy Pier from above.

With souvenir cookies at the end.

And a pretty cool view from inside the adjacent Crystal Gardens.

Categories: Chicago, sunrise

By the time the sun was shining, I was down at Chicago’s Navy Pier. Perfect timing as the new Centennial Wheel opens to the public later today!… and I’ll be there for the festivities! Yeah me.

The wheel is cool… but even cooler with the moon still hangin’ out!

Categories: bike, sunrise

Vibrant colors layered across the morning clouds.

After I had turned around at Navy Pier and headed home, the orange sunrise color had dissipated. The blue skies had taken over, and the clouds became pretty impressive.

Categories: art fair, glaze, kiln firing, stamped, terra cotta, textures

With just two days until the Schaumburg Prairie Arts Festival,
it’s my very last chance to get these birdhouses fired in time!

So with a quick coat of clear glaze on the roof tops, they’re headed into a single-fire terra cotta cone 04 kiln. Fingers crossed that they fire okay… and that they’re not still too hot to bring to the fair on Saturday!

Categories: art fair, Mom & Dad, mugs, pottery, process

With just a few days until the kick-off of my Summer Art Fair schedule, it’s time to start pricing & packing all of my new pots. I’ve fired four kilns in the past couple weeks – so there are a LOT of new pots!!! Well over a hundred new mugs!!!

Luckily, my parents came over today help with the slightly overwhelming project. Our goal for the day is to get everything prepped & priced, and then divided and separated into two separate piles. Each pile is designated for a different art fair. Kind of nice to have enough pots packed and ready to go for BOTH my Schaumburg and Hinsdale shows!

Nice to have this huge project done. And ready to go for both shows with a new & separate inventory for each. Even better, we also packed the van for Schaumburg… so tomorrow can be a “rest day” for all of us before we head out to Schaumburg for the weekend show.

Categories: classes, pottery, production

Last night in class it was great to see so many of my students cranking out the work. Megan had plates & cups everywhere, Natalie was slip decorating a full set of mugs with her “Starry Night” design, and everyone else was up to their elbows in clay! Hard to believe we’re already at Week Nine of classes… so proud to see how far they’ve come.


Categories: art fair

It’s been a busy couple of weeks. My first art fair is this weekend in Schaumburg…
and I’m still trying to get everything ready. The good thing is I’m unloading two more kilns tonight, and will still try to squeeze one more in. On the bad side, I’ve been burning the candle at both ends for so long now that I’ve just got a puddle of wax!

Categories: production, stamped, terra cotta, textures

With just a few days left, I’ve decided to crank out a few terra cotta pieces for the Schaumburg art fair. My soda & cone 10 kilns are done, but I can still squeeze in one last cone 04 electric kiln filled with once-fired terra cotta pieces. People have been asking about the birdhouses I made a couple years ago… so why not make some more?! They’re textured terra cotta. The sides will be stained with black underglaze to help accentuate the textures, and the rooftops will be colored with bright underglazes and then glazed clear. Just hoping that they dry quickly… they’ve got to get into the kiln tomorrow!!!

Categories: bike, sunrise

Sure, I may be over-extending myself just a bit… but when the sunrise is this wonderful, how can I be expected to miss it? A great sunrise bike ride is always better than sleep, right?!


Categories: studio

When faced with a small studio space in Chicago,
organization is the key. And I have one suggestion… PEGBOARD!!!
Go vertical with the help of IKEA baskets & cups.