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

With all of the talk lately about our “President” wanting to get rid of some of the designated National Monuments, I thought it was a great time to watch the documentary by Ken Burns about America’s National Parks… before they’re gone, damn you Mr. Trump!!! It’s a wonderful documentary. Very insightful showing the development and the importance of the National Parks system. And why we need to make sure it stays in place for generations to come!

I’ve been a HUGE fan of the National Parks system for a long time. I’ve been to several of them, and each one is better than the next!!! Even better when seen from my bike!!! Like the time we rode our bikes up and over “Going To The Sun Highway” in Glacier National Park, all the way down the Rockies and into Yellowstone. I’ve told many people that Yellowstone is one of the most amazing & unbelievable places I’ve EVER been to!!! Crazy cool things around ever corner!!!

Or pedaling through the desert to the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest… or stopping off at the Grand Canyon. It was my first trip through the desert during my cross-country bike ride from Los Angeles to Boston.

Or the beautiful Great Smokey Mountains… lush and green, beautiful mountains, waterfalls and scenic vistas.

So many amazing places that have been given National Park or National Monument status. I sadly must admit that I didn’t know the difference between the two before watching the documentary. But I do know… so I understand more fully what Mr. Trump is trying to take away from the American public. Something special that has been part of the American experience for decades!!!

I loved the documentary and would recommend it to everyone who loves nature, National Parks, or history. They go in chronological order as they show the creation of the system. The struggles , the patrons, the Presidents who fought so hard to keep them. It was amazing to find out more about the influences of those you’ve heard about for years… John Muir, Ansel Adam, the Rockefellers… and the creation of The Audubon Society and The Sierra Club. And the struggles the park system has gone through during The Depression, the World Wars and politic struggles.

It would be a huge disappoint and greater shame if we were to lose any of these National Monuments or National Parks.







Categories: ornaments, stamped

Ornaments drying after adding handbuilt tops & some flashing slip accents…
which will hopefully be a smooth buttery-yellow after soda-firing.

Categories: art fair, artists, friends, My Talented Friends

Another day done at the “One Of A Kind Show” with my friend & master metalsmith Sarah Chapman. This is one of her sterling silver rings with embossed texture, oxidation and an amazing piece of turquoise.

And a beautiful necklace with beads & stones clustered in a sterling silver “boat.”


Categories: stamped, vases

Another batch of mini’s. Small vases with even smaller stamps!!!

Categories: art fair, artists, friends

Fun day playing with my friend & amazing metalsmith Sarah Chapman at the “One Of A Kind Show” today. She has such amazing pieces in her booth #2120… and another fun day tomorrow from 10:00am-5:00pm. C’mon down to the Merchandise Mart!!!

Categories: ornaments

Wheelthrown holiday ornaments… too soon?

Categories: flowers, nature


Morning sun on Springtime flowers.
Beautiful crabapple trees during this all-too-short time span.

Morning sun on Springtime flowers.
Beautiful crabapple trees during this all-too-short time span.

Categories: production, stamped

Stamped, squished, slip-painted and ready to start drying!
Soon to be soap dispensers after a good soda-firing!

And if you want to see them spin… just ‘cuz they can…
click here to go to my Facebook page.


Categories: bike

So after talking my bike to the shop for a Spring tune-up…
and getting it back in two pieces. I knew I had to do something about it.
You know I can’t survive without my bike!!! So here’s the full story…

When I took my bike in for a regular tune-up, my normal bike guy said things needed to be tightened, cleaned, lubed, whatever. All the usuals. And something about new ball bearings. Whatever. But when he called me two hours later, I knew there was a problem – they never call before the tune-up is finished.

He said that as they were taking things apart, the actual mechanic found a problem. Apparently where the seat post meets the cylinder that holds the pedals they found a fracture in the joint. An structure fracture in the welded seam. He said I was lucky that they found it before something bad happened. Something like me pedaling too hard or standing up on the pedals and the whole thing breaking out the bottom. Something bad like that.

Unfortunately, there is NOTHING they can do to fix it. That bike was dead!!!.
Which I guess was time as there must have been well over 50,000 miles on it.
A lot of miles. And a lot of memories.

Luckily, he also mentioned that he thought it would still be under the TREK Bikes Lifetime Warranty. Unfortunately, my normal bike shop i snot an authorized TREK Dealer. So they gave me my bike back in two pieces so I could go to another shop. Thank you “On The Route Bicycles” for taking care of me over the years… and for finding the fractured frame before something bad happened!!!

So I did… and the new bike shop was great. Village Cycle Center in Old Town. The listened to my story, looked at the bike and totally agreed that it would be warranty-worthy. I left my bike there as they were filing a claim for me. They called the next day and said YES. Good news. TREK was willing to stand by their warranty and agreed that it was a structural flaw in the manufacturing of the bike frame. So they offered me a new replacement frame, or money towards a new bike. After a VERY short discussion with the bike shop guy, we both agreed that I should go for the new bike… instead of trying to “Frankenstein” it back together with old parts on a new frame.

Let the shopping begin… like a kid in a candy store.
I’ve had my old bike for about ten years… so it’s been awhile and things have changed a bit.

This one. That one. These components. This upgrade.
Shift this, brake that. Red. Black. White. Blue. So many options. So many decisions.

So many bikes, so little time.
After much deliberation, I finally decided upon this little beauty… another TREK of course!!!

A beautiful matte red road bike. A bit more than I expected to pay… but I completely rationalized it by knowing how many miles I will be putting on this summer… and many more to come!!!

So now to give it a name?… any suggestions?
My top two choices right now are “The Crimson Ride” or “Scarlett Don’t-Care-A.”

After some some final touches by the cycle shop staff… adding pedals, pumping tires, transferring my things over… and I was good to go!!! One big Happy Camper with a new toy… can’t wait to start putting on the miles!!!





Categories: Chicago

A fun afternoon at Wrigley… even on a cloudy, non-game day. Love the new “Park At Wrigley” and the rest of the new construction. Including a memorable quote by Ernie Banks… now memorialized in wood letters on the ceiling!!!