Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: art fair, glaze, mugs, stamped

Unloading a new kiln of glazed pieces just in time for this weekend’s Glenview Summer Art Fair. Got some prepping, pricing & packing to do… and then you can come see some new work this Saturday & Sunday on the grounds of Lyons School in Glenview, Illinois from 11:00am-5:00pm.

Categories: summer camp, terra cotta

Here’s a sneak peek at this week’s Summer Camp… we’re doing “Fire, Forge & Feast.” Where the kids are designing & producing their own thematic placesettings in clay & metal. These are a few of our combo utensil samples shown to inspire the kids!


Categories: bike, sunrise

Started out slow and a bit underwhelming…
but when the sun finally made its way through the clouds,
it was all worth the wait!!!

Categories: glaze, mugs, process, production

Glazed mugs. If all goes well in the kiln, these should turn out a nice watery green… hopefully accentuating the stamped textures with some glaze runs in between. Fingers crossed.

Time to start loading the kiln… firing & cooling just in time to get everything prepped, priced & packed for this weekend’s art fair in Glenview, Illinois.

Categories: art fair, glaze, mugs, process, production

In the middle of glazing…
one last kiln to be fired before this weekend’s art fair in Glenview, Illinois.

Categories: sculpture

In the category of “Gary’s An Idiot”…
So I’ve seen a LOT of sunrises. But never like the one this morning CRAZY STUFF!!!

So I was pedaling south with a lot of clouds and no real sunrise. When I got to about Belmont, I noticed this odd “glow” in the water. I literally pulled over just to examine and take some pictures. A large patch of glowing orange in the water. What??? I’ve NEVER seen this before?!!!!

With just a few hours of sleep, biking in darkness and my mind racing, I of course came up with several plausible scenarios to explain the glow in the lake. Luminescent plankton? Oil or gasoline spill? Plane crash? Flaming chemical spill? Volcanic lava? So many possibilities, my mind was racing.

So much so that I actually stopped off at Fullerton to point it out to two policemen who were hanging out enjoying the sunrise. They hadn’t noticed it, but were equally intrigued after I pointed it out. No news on their radio. No solutions.

So I pedaled further and grouped up with three fellow bikers. I pointed it out to them as well. They said they had noticed it around Montrose. I asked if they had an ideas, and one of them said it was the clouds. What??? There was no sunrise anywhere, so there could be no reflection!!! So where could the glowing the water be coming from???

Any thoughts???

As the sky lightened up, you could start to see what was really going on… a bit better…

So here’s what was REALLY going on. Nowhere as cool as the scenarios I was running through my head. Turns out I’m just an idiot. But it was kind of an optical illusion. If you look really closely, the actual horizon line is blow the “orange glow in the lake.” So it is indeed orange clouds floating low above the horizon. I think the visually confusing part is that there is a perfectly straight line above the orange glow as well. So I mistook that as the horizon line… thus putting the orange glow IN THE WATER, instead of above in the clouds as normal sunrises are. I like my version better… made the morning ride oddly interesting today!!!



Categories: mugs, process, production, stamped

Bisqued, waxed and waiting to be glazed.

Categories: bike, sunrise

Another beautiful morning complete with clouds for color and splashing waves for entertainment… as I found myself laughing & dodging waves while trying to capture that perfect picture! Let’s just say I didn’t quite time it right for all of them!!!


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!!!