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

So I started with some bottomless cylinders that I had already finessed into ovals. Then I added a smooth slab bottom, scored & slipped, and let them sit overnight after roughly trimming the slab with a smidge of a margin. I placed them on newspaper and under plastic. My hope was that the bottom slab might stiffen up a bit, but the rest of the cylinder would stay moist. And it worked. I also add a small tile weight inside so that there is no extra bulging or warping overnight. Not sure if there would be… but why not take the precaution just in case?

So today I came in to smooth out the bottoms for a more finished edge.
I start by cutting the bottom slab margin off with a needle tool.

Then I flip it over and do a light tapping with a paddle to compress the attachment
and create a bit of a beveled angle along the bottom edge.

More fun with a good action shot, right?

Then I take a stiff green Mud Tool plastic rib to “shave off” the excess clay that bulged out during the paddling.

And then I do some gentle smoothing & refining of the edge. Establishing a good beveled edge, as well as smoothing out the attachment so it looks like it might have been all one piece from the start.

At this point the “could be” done… but I have more plans for these ovals!!!
So they’re wrapped up overnight so I can continue working on them tomorrow after camp.
There’s got to be some texture somewhere, right???


Categories: bike, Chicago, sunrise

So I woke up early for my morning ride and the pavement was wet. I checked the weather and it looked like no more rain for a couple hours. So I had a few choices… Wet streets vs. dry bed. Hours of sleep vs. hours of pedaling. Chance of rain vs. chance of dreams. Well… no surprise, my biking addiction won out once again! No sunrise to speak of, but the cloud cover & crashing waves were pretty darn AMAZING!!!



Categories: soda-fired, stamped, vases
Categories: art fair

Next weekend I’ll be back “under the tent” for another weekend art fair. A new one for me… but well-established with a lot of great artists. The 65th Annual Glenview Art League’s Summer Art Fair 2018 will be held on Saturday, July 28th & Sunday, July 29th, 2018 from 11:00am-5:00pm. The art fair is held on the grounds of Lyons School, which is on the corner of Lake Street & Waukegan Road in Glenview, Illinois. Mark your calendar and come on by next weekend!

And since the Evanston Lakeshore Arts Festival was cancelled a few years ago…
this is a great opportunity for all of my Evanstonian & North Shore fans to stop by!


Categories: sculpture, summer camp

After a week of fun, my Summer Camp kids finished their sculptures yesterday just in time for a “gallery” showing for their parents and other campers. They truly took it to heart when I challenged them to go LARGE… the only “rule” was that they had to be able to get it home!!!… somehow.

VIVIAN’s life-sized sea turtle and colorful squid taking a ride

LILY’s 5-foot tall phoenix… based on Fawkes, the phoenix from Harry Potter.

McKENZIE’s 5-foot long flying dragon beast

LAUREN’s squiggly branched 5-foot tall tree designed to hold her necklaces and stick into a corner of her bedrooom.

ISAAC’s armadillo

ROSI’s shooting star complete with sparkling glitter

SAUL’s 5-foot tall alien creature… inspired by the ALIEN movies

CLOELLE’s 4-foot tall flowering cactus.

SASHA’s clock with black widow spiders on the front, and a bunch of gears on the back.

MARTHA’s 5-foot tall light blue tree complete with mail slot, functioning mail box, swing, cat and bird.

SYLVIA’s five-foot tall weeping willow tree.

BEN’s sculpture…. hold on… wait for it... 4-foot tall standing potato man with marshmallow arms and fish tail. Yep, his idea.. not mine!

So the only one that is missing is MAX’s six-foot long snake! He had to finish his on Thursday as he had to miss Friday’s big show! Family trip to St. Louis… I get it. But he was pretty darn stoked that his snake measured out at OVER six-feet long!!!

So there it is… another week of Summer Camp in the books,
Next week I’m up for another great week of camp… it’s FIRE, FORGE & FEAST.






Categories: color, summer camp

So yesterday my Summer Campers were painting their sculptures with acrylic paint. Some of them got a little frustrated that it wasn’t going faster?! So a couple of them decided to forego the paintbrush… hoping this might be faster. I don’t think it was. But they had a good time, a few laughs and a LOT more hand washing to do afterwards!!!

Categories: summer camp

Yesterday at Summer Camp, the kids worked on their sculptures with some goopey, gloppy fun we call plaster gauze. A bit slimy & messy… but works great for the kids’ sculptures. Think of it as “paper mache on steroids”!!!

Categories: summer camp

More clouds today with a strong wind from the south… tough riding into the wind as I headed downtown. Not much of a sunrise this morning… but the ride back home with that tailwind was great fun!!!

Finally a bit so color in the clouds… but still not quite a “real” sunrise…


Categories: bike, sunrise

Another beautiful morning. Another beautiful bike ride.
Swift breezes blowing in off the lake kept it cool & comfortable
as the cloud show continued to amaze.

To see video of this morning’s sunrise, click over to my Facebook page or Instagram feed.

Categories: food, friends, summer camp

A surprise visit by one of my friends to summer camp this afternoon… became an extra “sweet” visit when she surprised me with a couple YUMMY cupcakes! Thanks Catherine!!! Sadly, not enough to share with my campers… so I just “had to” save them for myself. Shucks!