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

And not to be out-done… Melanie had a pretty adorable final piece in her Matryoshka set as well. This teeny-tiny little cat jar was just PRECIOUS!!! Also worth the wait… finally glazed after several months of waiting & sheltering-at-home!

Categories: artists, creativity, lillstreet

So, after several month of pandemic, quarantines & sheltering-in-place… many of my students from last Winter’s LILLSTREET THROWDOWN have returned to Lillstreet to finish up the projects they were making during my challenges & contest class. One of the best challenges in class was for the students to build a set of Matryoshka Dolls… with a minimum of five pieces that all nestled in on each other. Most of them got their pieces made… but no one had a chance to glaze them as COVID-19 set-in just at the end of class. No time to finish. No time to glaze. Our final THROWDOWN class happened just days before the lockdown!

But now we’re back at Lillstreet… and students have returned to pick-up where they left off. There’s been a lot of glazing going on. Including Christine who won the Matryoshka Challenge… as well as the overall trophy!

Here’s a look at her Matryoshka set that recently came out of the glaze kiln!

Her set was based on the LILLSTREET THROWDOWN class itself, and some of the bigger challenges along the way! BRILLIANT!!!

Her largest jar was an homage to… well, err… little embarrassing… ME!!!
It’s not everyday you get memorialized in underglaze!!! Complete with my tie-dyed t-shirt & black gym shorts!!

The other exterior sides of the largest jar hosted shelves of pots and the names of everyone in class! Again, honoring the class, the fun , and everyone who took part in Season Three of THE GREAT LILLSTREET THROWDOWN!

Oh… but then it opens up…

And then the second layer was based on the challenge when they all had to make Flower Bricks. Self-enclosed vases with a bunch of holes on the top for the flower stems to go through!

Inside the Flower Brick was a set of Matching Mugs… another one of our weekly class challenges. They were told to incorporate four different patterns & designs on the mugs… stripes, polka dots, paisley and plaid!

Inside the matching mugs, is a set of matching bowls. Another one of our class challenges! Smaller than the actual bowls made for the challenge… but they had to fit inside, right?!

And oh, but wait there’s more…
Inside the stacked bowls was a miniature ceramic OREO cookie!!!

YES!!!… Christine actually made a clay OREO cookie!!!
Okay, so “maybe” I have a bit of an OREO addiction going on.
Perhaps we ate far too many of them during class?!
But good to see that they’re getting honored in Christine’s set!!!

And there it is!!! Well worth the wait!!!
Even though the pandemic is still carrying on… it does feel great to be back at Lillstreet teaching & working. So good to see students back in classes, and campers back at Summer Camp. Happy that we are all making the best of the situation… with more than enough social-distancing, sanitizing, procedures and structural changes within Lillstreet.

Happy to see Christine’s finished set of Matryoshka nesting dolls!
A BRILLIANT concept!!! Thank you Christine for sharing your talents!

Categories: artists, classes, lillstreet, mugs

As part of the final class of my Intermediate Wheelthrowing class at Lillstreet, I had challenged them to bring two matching mugs for a fun “trading-exchanging-stealing” game! I made my mugs for the game… although I couldn’t make it to the final class as I was at ART IN THE GARDEN.

My substitute teacher Chelsea covered the class, and they all decided to trade the mugs – but to mix up the pairs so people would get two different mugs by two different people! Looks like Stephanie got one of mine!!!

Categories: artists, friends, garden

So my cousin Kim & I hopped in the car early yesterday morning… and decided to drive down to Bartonville to visit my friends Gerry & Rosene. They’re my very first at fair friends EVER!!! From the very first day, from my very first show oh so many years ago in Sandwich, Illinois!!!

So we had a wonderful drive down to Central Illinois covering many subjects and “solving all the problems of the world”. We made it to Goodfield – and it’s always tough to go past Goodfield without stopping at BUSY CORNER for homemade pie!!!

We decided to get a slice to go… a snack for the road for the next 20 minutes… but I couldn’t decided… so I got two! I went with a classic rhubarb pie, and slice of chocolate turtle marshmallow cheesecake!

When we got Gerry & Rosene’s home, you’ve always go so much beautiful garden colors, flowers & rustic art everywhere to see. So here’s a visual tour… just a small glimpse of their garden!

And then at the end of our evening, we were sitting around on the deck having dinner, and more pie… AND brownies with ice cream & hot fudge!!! And then we saw a spider building an amazing web directly above my chair. Tough to photograph… but I kinda got this nice shot… a bit blurry… but still pretty cool.

And with that… our road-trippin’ day to Peoria had come to an end…
and it as time to head home!!!

Categories: art fair, artists, My Talented Friends

A HUGE Thank You to everyone who made it out to ART IN THE GARDEN this past weekend. During these crazy times, it was wonderful to get outside to see some of my Talented Friends with their beautiful artworks… as well as all of the wonderful friends, family, Fans & Followers that stopped by! We appreciate the love, support & encouragement… and we hope you’re loving the new artworks you took home with you!

But in case you couldn’t make it… here’s a small glimpse of some of the colors, textures & artworks that you missed from My Talented Friends!

AMY TAYLOR : silver hinged jewelry

CORY McCRORY : whimsical paperclay ceramics

DONNA SAUERS : glass bead jewelry


KEN STAGGS : wood turning


LYNDA WALLIS : beaded bracelets

Categories: art fair, artists, collaborations, porcelain, soda-fired, stamped

Not to be outdone, or out-bling’d…
here’s a little sneak peek at what Retta Hentschel did with the three lidded jars I sent her to play with. Such an amazing assemblage of colors, textures & bling on each of them. Stop by ART IN THE GARDEN to see them all… before they’re gone!

Categories: art fair, artists, collaborations, porcelain, soda-fired, stamped

Another glimpse into some of the collaborations we’ve been working on for this weekend. Months ago I soda-fired some porcelain lidded jars and then “challenged” some of my fellow ART IN THE GARDEN artists to add a knob to the lid. Here’s what metalsmith Amy Taylor did with the three jars I sent her. A beautiful addition to my pottery.

Collaboration projects like these are part of what makes ART IN THE GARDEN so special.

For more information, click here.

Categories: art fair, artists, food, friends, mugs

Looks like my buddy Allison is serving up a yummy breakfast this morning before her high school classes start remotely this morning! Also enjoying some handmade pottery for her morning ritual… and looking forward to ART IN THE GARDEN this weekend!!!

Categories: art fair, artists, bowls, color, handbuilding, mugs, My Talented Friends

Looks like Cory has one last batch of colorful fun to wash with underglazes, glaze & fire quickly for this weekend at ART IN THE GARDEN. I’ve been enamored with Cory McCrory, her work, her textures & her whimsy ever since we met at the Hinsdale Fine Arts Fair several years ago… and we’ve been fast friends ever since! So much fun to have talented friends!!!

Categories: art fair, artists, collaborations

Totally loving these cool beaded bracelets that Lynda Wallis has made with some of my soda-fired beads!!! She’ll be bringing them to Glenview this weekend for ART IN THE GARDEN… fun in the garden with MASKS and a lot of cool collaboration projects you won’t find at any other art fair!!!