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

After a full day of touring the ceramic galleries & shows of NCECA…
and maybe a bit too much shopping along the way…
Sarah and I got home to indulge a bit… with some of each. She knows me so well.


Categories: artists, sculpture

Okay, so I’ve seen the big spoon sculpture for years!
I’ve been aware of Claes Oldenburg and his amazing oversized sculptures of everyday objects since art history classes in college! And I’ve been in Minneapolis so many times… but have never stopped by to see the real thing!!! Until today!!!

So cool. So big. Great fun to finally see it… plus we had the best weather ever!!!

Even the staircase is cool…

And another kinetic sculpture by Mark di Suvero…
we have a couple of his sculptural pieces in Chicago as well along the Lakefront…

There’s also a piece by an old friend of mine, I knew back in the day when he was just getting started back in Chicago, Theaster Gates. Okay, so he’s a BIG deal now… and I’m sure I’m nothing but a faint memory… but it was cool to see his piece here in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.

A fun “detour” on our NCECA Gallery Tour Day!!!… more art, just not pots?!!!


Categories: food

We had had a great breakfast… but then jammed in TONS of pottery shows & galleries… and you know how that builds an appetite, right?! So when Sarah and I got a little “peckish”, we decided to stop for lunch at one of my favorite restaurants in Minneapolis! We came here last year for an amazing breakfast… but decided to try it again for an amazing lunch! And the Hi-Lo Diner certainly stepped it up and succeeded… maybe it was the especially chocolatey chocolate shake made perfect to my extra-chocolatey request!!!


Categories: art fair, pottery

Always a great stop while in Minneapolis, the Northern Clay Center is much like Chicago’s Lillstreet. A great gallery, classrooms and studio spaces. In the special gallery space, they had this great wall piece… loving the textures, patterns, shapes and how well they all work together to make one great piece by Chotsani Elaine Dean!

Also in the Northern Clay Gallery, a fun display of how ceramic pieces have been employed with some hydroponic “farming.” A great use of terra cotta… but who’s going to really eat all that swiss chard?!

And then we went back into the Studio Artist area and I was IMMEDIATELY taken by this amazing chess set made by sculptor Alessandro Gallo. You know I’ll be sharing this with my kids this summer during Chess Camp!

Okay, look closely… that chess set is hanging on the wall… and HUGE!!! Each square is probably a good 7-inches or so! And oh, but wait there’s more... they each have a hook on the backside that slips into the slot on each of the squares! AMAZING concept!!!

And there was a smaller chess set by another artist… this one seems imminently more do-able for my Summer camp kids!

But the thing that made me laugh the hardest while at Northern Clay…
was this sign… this display… this sponge. It’s truly INSPIRED!!!



Categories: art fair, gallery, pottery

With one full day of NCECA behind me… Sarah and I started out our Gallery Tour Day at The Nevica Project Pop-Up Gallery. It was funny that the very first pieces I saw as awe walked into the space was this beautiful trio by my pottery-friend Mike Stumbras. Love his technique, glazes & surface decoration.

At The Norway House Gallery, they had a nice little show of work…
but it was really these large wall pieces by Ben Bates that caught my attention!

Among all of the many gallery spaces we stopped off at, was this space filled with pots made by the potters who put on the St. Croix Valley Pottery Tour. Sarah and I go to the tour every year… so it was fun to see their work again in a slightly different format!

At one point, we saw there was a gallery listed on the NCECA gallery tour list that featured pottery with a bicycle theme!!! What?!!! So of course we just HAD to go to that one. Turns out it was located inside a actual bike shop right off the side of the Greenway Bike Route. Here’s a cup I picked up while were there… a simple yellow cup with a spare inner tube wrap by Kate Fisher!!!

At Lakes & Legends, we arrived and saw a entire glass window FULL of cups & mugs!!! Turn the corner, and there was another one too! Yep, two full windows FULL of wonderful pottery!!! So much fun seeing so much pottery all in one place.

It was a beautiful day in Minneapolis… and a beautiful day FULL of pottery! Too many stops, locations & galleries to show them all. In hindsight, I wish I would have done a better job capturing images from every stop along our way! Sarah and I had an amazing day of touring the NCECA Galleries!




Categories: bike, sunrise

Sure, this morning was pretty albeit a bit cloudy, wet & damp… but yesterday was STUNNING!!! With a kinda crazy half & half cloud thing going on for some pretty dramatic photos!

Categories: artists, mugs, pottery

One of the highlights for me of NCECA is The Annual Cup Show! So many great ceramic artists donating cups for The Cup Show… with all proceeds going to NCECA charitable causes & scholarships. Picture an entire ballroom filled with tables & tables covered with mugs & cups!!! The show was open for viewing on Thursday, but the actual “sale” took place on Friday morning! So here are some “preview” pics…

Some of them were quite un-usable!!!… like this one that was all one piece,
kinda huge, crazy-cool surface and weighed about 20 pounds!!!

And some that I believe were built by a 3D Printer…

And still SO many cups to see…

And here are are a few more of the ones that stood-out for me!… I just wish I had kept better track of the artists names, or even taken pictures of their business cards when available. Sure, a great after-thought.

And a two-parter that kind of mesmerized me… a pointed “cup” that will only stand-up in the special “rocky” cradle that was built just for it!

One of my favorites of the show… and someone that I’ve been following on Instagram for awhile now… Bryan Wilkerson. Love these skull mugs… but also the great column pedestal that makes it all that much more cherished!!!


Categories: artists, friends, My Talented Friends, pottery, wheelthrowing

One of the best parts of NCECA for me is getting to see some of my pottery friends, former teachers, online contacts & more! Always great to run into someone you know when you’re out & about – away from your normal path. Including running into some of my Facebook & Instagram “fans” who it was fun to stop & chat with… odd to be recognized only by my online presence?!!!

So much fun having a chance to hang out and play with my pottery buddy Steven Hill. He’s an amazing potter… and apparently the superstar for SKUTT Kilns & Wheels. He was participating in their trade show booth – both as a demonstrating artist, as well as the judge for their wheelthrowing contest. Either way, we had a great time chatting and meeting some of his other pottery friends. And as always, it’s just great to watch other people throwing pots. I could watch that all day, every day. And when it’s someone as experienced as Steven… it never gets old. Thank You Steven!!!

Categories: mugs, pottery, special events, tools

After spending the night in Minneapolis at a friend’s house, I got up and headed over to the Minneapolis Convention Center for a full day of NCECA fun. Okay, let me just say from the get-go… for the record… I’m NOT a huge fan of NCECA. I just want to make pots. I just want to see pots. I just want to have fun, buy pots, buy tools,¬† and see a LOT of pottery friends!!! Not so much into the “educational-lecture” part of the show, which I totally get as it IS an educator’s conference! So I knew going up that one day of NCECA would be enough for me! Well, that plus a full day of touring NCECA Gallery Shows on Friday.

So the first thing I ran into after registering for the day was the Artstream Gallery… LOVE IT!!! I’ve seen it before, but you can never see it enough! Basically they took an old Airstream Trailer and converted it into a mobile pottery gallery! What a wonderful idea!!!

There were several galleries that had made little Pop-Up Shops with their ceramic wares.
Many of them focusing on a few featured artists… like one of the galleries was featuring
this oversized sculpture by George Rodriguez

So many mugs… so little time. Loved this contemporary twist on mug display & shelving… one mug per shelf.

Also fun to see so many potters that I’ve been introduced to through social media. Like this slip-cast, layered-colors and carved tumbler by Valeri Alexsandrov. Beautiful to watch on Instagram, but even better to touch, fondle, caress and admire in person!

So many things to see… so many pots everywhere… I WAS IN POTTERY HEAVEN!
And the first “souvenir” to come home with me was this Ted Neal mug. Loved the rustic, almost rusty quality of it… as well as the industrial-somewhat agricultural aspects to it.

And one of my favorite things at the Pop-Up Gallery areas were these pre-packaged shot glasses. What a wonderful idea – a comic satire on commerce & mass-production… with a handmade ceramic piece inside the retro-inspired retail packaging. So, so funny!!!

And then it was off to the Trade Show Expo area. Always fun to see all of the latest in pottery tools & supplies. Many of which I’m not in the market for… like kilns, commercial glazes or more pottery wheels. But even though I might not be looking to buy any of these… still fun to see everything.

Including these little mini-wheels… a tiny little wooden box that is actually a miniature potter’s wheel… perfect for making miniature pots!

And then I finally got down to the back corner to find my favorite… DiamondCore Tools!!! Great to finally meet Robert and his crew, as well as see all of their amazing products all in one place! And all ready to be played with on some clay. Carving. Scraping. Sgraffito-ing. Whatever. So much fun getting a chance to play with all of their tools… as well as seeing some great demos by some pretty great artists!



Categories: nature, sunset, travel

Okay, so I always hate to post too much while I’m out-of-town away from my place. So I wait until I get back to post… but sometimes life gets in the way, and those posts just get put-off & put-off… and soon enough, it’s almost a week later?!!! Or in this case, a FULL MONTH later!!! Oh well… still had fun, still have photos & still have stories to share!

So I drove up to Minneapolis on Wednesday 3/27 after a full day of work.
It was a long drive by myself, but a lot of “pretty” along the way! Always nice to be treated
to a nice sunset as you’re driving… and taking a few photos along the way!

And then the sun went down, and I still had a couple hours to go…
with nothing fun or beautiful to watch along the way.
Luckily I found a little sumthin’-sumthin’ that helped pass the time!