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

Quite the windy morning with waves crashing all around. Breaking up & over the bike trail on Lake Shore Drive. Blowing over towers at the AVP Tournament. Flags flapping in the breeze. Dramatic clouds blowing through as I LOVED the tailwind going south… and not-so-much fighting the wind riding home.

Quite the morning ride… until it ended with a bit too much drama with tragedy on the lakefront.

I ended my ride watching a search & rescue mission between Montrose & Foster Beaches. Apparently someone decided to go swimming late last night… he got caught up in the waves & riptide… and the search for him was ceased last night due to darkness & waves. The search resumed this morning.. and sadly, they recovered his body near the Montrose Dog Beach.


Categories: bowls, production, stamped

Tonight I did a little detailing… some stamping & fluting of the rims on my latest batch of bowls. Gotta re-stock the inventory for the next wave of art fairs!

Categories: sunrise

Sunrise serenity. Calming harbor reflections.

Categories: bike, sunrise

Another dark morning with low clouds hanging on the horizon effectively delaying the light from the sunrise. Great reflections over at Olive Park, but no real sunrise until I was pretty much all the way home! I actually had to wait in the park for the sun to peek through today. And it was still worth it…

Categories: bike, special events, workout

Today was the Chicago Triathlon sponsored by Lifetime Fitness.
And once again I was playing downtown with over 7,000 other triathletes!
International Olympic Distance… SWIM .93 miles, BIKE 24.8 miles, RUN 6.2 miles.

Unfortunately, I can’t carry my camera or phone with me during the swim,
and don’t want to stop during the bike, so I had to “borrow” a few images
off Google Images to help tell the story. And some of the professional photos the race photographers caught of e along the way!

So the day starts very early in the morning. The transition area opens at 4:00am and closes at 5:45am. So all 7,300 triathletes need to get in there and rack their bikes and organize their gear for the day.

I was in Wave 17… starting the race at 7:16am.

Eventually the waves begin entering the Lake. With approximately a hundred people per wave, and another wave taking off every four minutes, it goes pretty fast and before you now it… it’s time for Wave 17!!!

So you line up with your Wave… in color-coded swim caps…

Then you all climb into the lake to tread water for a couple minutes until the Starting Gun.

And then before you know it, you’re out in the thick of things… people swimming all over the place… People swimming around you, over you, kicking you, scraping you… none of which is fun, but you kinda get used to it after a few triathlons. So you do your best to make it to the finish… which is WAY down by the Chicago Yacht Club. That small gray building way at the far end of the photo!!!

And then you finally get out of the water… with the biggest sigh of relief…

Then you need to  jog back to the Transition Area on a long red carpet. You finally get back and now you need to locate your bike & gear amongst the whole sea of seven thousand!!! Good thing to remember your wave number, and to leave yourself a colored marker to help find your bike.

You think that’s bad?…. try viewing the Transition Area from above to see how huge it is…

So you take off your wetsuit and change into your biking gear. Shoes on. Helmet on and you’re ready to head out. So it’s a quick loop north on Lake Shore Drive, turn around at Hollywood, and back down again. Then it’s a quick trip around the city underground on Lower Wacker Drive, followed by the Busway down to McCormick Place and back. Let me just say… biking Lower Wacker Drive is SO MUCH FUN!!!

I was pretty pleased with my bike ride. It all seemed to go well… pretty fast, pretty consistent. Turns out that my biking average speed for the full course was 21.2 miles per hour. Not too shabby.

Then it’s back to the Transition Area where you change out of bikign gear and into running gear. Helmet off. Change of shoes. Chug down some Gatorade… and you’re off on the run. Along the way you see a lot of signs encouraging the runners. Some are better then others… and some, well… are sadly oh so true. And yes…. I’M SMILING!!!

Such focus… one foot in front of the other…

After a 10K run through Museum Campus down to t31st Street Beach and back, you finally make it back to the Finish Line in Grant Park. Always a welcome sight.

You get greeted by well-wishers, announcers and a full fleet if volunteers passing out water, Gatorade, snacks and the ever-coveted Chicago Triathlon Medal.

Tracy was a few waves behind me, so I was waiting at the Finish Line when she came across to get her medal.

Always a fun time hanging out at the Finish Line… especially when you run into a “new best friend” that Tracy made during her run by encouraging him and keeping him going during the run.

While hanging out at the Finish Line, they offer a full meal, free beer (if you’re into that kind of thing which I’m not), and some vendors giving away treats too. Like these yummy frozen yogurt protein bars… Tracy chose the Chocolate Mint Chip mostly because of the fun quote on the packaging… as she knows she’s been “Hangry” before! I chose to try the S’mores flavor… AND the Salted Caramel one… and then finished off Tracy’s Mint Chocolate Chip so I actually had all three flavors!!!

After stretching, re-hydrating, refueling and relaxing a bit, we decided to have a little “:photo shoot” at Buckingham Fountain on our way back to the Transition Area to pick up our bikes and gear.

When you finally get home, you get to relish in your victory… unpack all of your gear so it can dry before going into the laundry basket. And then choosing to each pretty much anything you want. You deserve it. One night to eat whatever you want… you deserve it… you’re a TRIATHLETE!!!

So what were my final results you may ask?
Just remember, I’m never going to WIN any race. Look at me… not built for speed.
Instead, my goal is always to finish, to have fun, and to not injure anything!
And very pleased to say that this was my fastest International Triathlon race yet!

SWIM – 0.93 miles – 47:55
Transition One – 11:07
BIKE – 24.8 miles – 1:09:56
Transition Two – 8:04
RUN – 6.2 miles – 1:06:53












Categories: bike, production, special events, workout

Tagged & ready to go… err, throw!
Just another relaxing evening behind the wheel before tomorrow’s excitement!


Categories: clay, process, studio

After another fun day at summer camp, I spent the afternoon wedging & bagging up
my latest batch of reclaimed clay. A little “muscle” and now I’ve got a LOT of free clay!!!
Another good day.




Categories: sunrise

The morning started with spotty clouds… and then a few more… and then a LOT more. Soon enough, too many for a good sunrise. Still pretty, but really just a lot of clouds.

Categories: clay

My camp kids loved this one… a random hand found in the clay reclaim bucket!!!

Apparently the adult sculpture class was responsible…
with a class demo hand by teacher Robin Power tossed in the night before.

Categories: inspiration, summer camp

Great summer camp kids this week… brutally honest and SO smart!!! Ha!