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

So I had a little “summer camp” situation in my studio over the summer. My friend Kristen asked if her kids could stop by for a little “private” summer camp experience in my studio. I’ve known the kids forever… so of course I said yes. Although I haven’t really done much with them since they took my Lillstreet Chess Camp a couple years back.

We started with some wheelthrowing lessons, and then they each gave it a try. AJ went first, followed by Lizzy. I think they were both a little surprised that it wasn’t quite as easy as it looks!

But then I also “flipped the script” a bit on them… and told them they would have a handbuilding project as well. They thought they would be able to make whatever they wanted…. but, oh no, that’s not how I play!

I think they had all kinda forgotten about a little drawing that AJ had done back when he was in second grade. He was trying to raise money to buy himself a new set of LEGO’s… and his mom Kristen set-up a little gallery show for him to show-off his artwork. I purchased this drawing at that gallery show… and have had it in my studio ever since.

So I pulled it out… and challenged them each to make a handbuilt “cup” that was “inspired” by AJ’s monster drawing from so many years ago.

On their next visit, they trimmed their wheelthrown pieces, and finished working on their handbuilt monster cups. The final touches were put on with some colored underglazes. Once they dry, I will bisque fire the monster cups and glazed them with a clear glaze. Their wheelthrown pots will be glazed as well… to match their color choices of course!

As you can see, Lizzy went for a more literal approach in building her cup. I especially liked her use of textures to mimic the patterns in the drawing. While AJ went a little off on his own “version” of the monster… with a great triple-eye & vertical mouth situation!

So much fun playing with these kids… they were so much fun. Glad we could work out this Mini Summer Camp this summer… two days of clay fun in my studio with AJ & Lizzy!

Categories: art fair, artists, collaborations, color, flowers, process, production

Looks like Cory McCrory is in the final stretches with our collaboration project. Just putting some finishing touches, staining, sealing & assembling all of the parts & pieces… before se starts choosing the “perfect” trio of flowers for each of the wall vases that I made. Another wonderful collaboration project with Cory coming together in the nick of time for ART IN THE GARDEN this weekend!

Categories: art fair, artists, collaborations

The clock is ticking… and adhesives have got to dry… so I better get these collaborations going quickly!!! I made the colorful ceramic frames & Mary Foster made some amazing mini-paintings to go in them! I just need to pair them up so that they’re all ready for ART IN THE GARDEN this weekend!!!

For more info…

Categories: art fair, artists, collaborations

One last peek at Amy Taylor’s beautiful handiwork for ART IN THE GARDEN. Looks like she’s figured out a way to add a little firefly on top of my cutie-patootie mini vases?! And since Amy is totally enamored by hinges… I think there’s a good chance there will be hinges too! You’ll need to come to Glenview this weekend for ART IN THE GARDEN to see these fun collaborations in person!!!

Limited quantities of these one-of-a-kind pieces… so come early!!!

Categories: art fair, artists, collaborations

Just a reminder that this weekend is ART IN THE GARDEN in Glenview… just in case you’ve missed the “one or two” posts I might have shared about it?! It’s a great little grassroots art fair hosted by My Talented Friend Amy Taylor in her backyard. We’re a group of artistic friends pulling together this fun event, working with each other & making some fun collaboration projects along the way! Everything is handmade & one-of-a-kind by the artists themselves. We’d love to see you there… and please bring your friends!!!

For more information, click here for the website –

Categories: art fair, collaborations, process

Doing a little last-minute underglaze staining on the colorful characters for ART IN THE GARDEN! Painting some black underglaze on the cups, and then wiping it away so it only stays in the grooves, textures & edges.

If all goes well, these little cuties will be all ready for their “Big Debut” at ART IN THE GARDEN this weekend!!! C’mon by early to collect your favorites characters!!!

Categories: art fair, artists, collaborations

While we’re busy sharing sneak peeks… here’s another ART IN THE GARDEN collaboration in the works. So far I see my clay tiles “playing” with Retta Hentschel’s stained glass. And I’ve heard rumor that it “might” then go to woodworker Ken Staggs for his additions to the collaboration?!

I can’t wait to see this one… my first three-way collaboration!!!

Categories: art fair, artists, collaborations, creativity

Well, ART IN THE GARDEN is just a couple days away, and it looks like my pal Cory McCrory has added some fun underglazes & stains to her whimsical flowers! All part of the collaboration project that we’re working on together!!! Oh, wait… are those chicken feet too???.. those aren’t for me!!!… so I’m guessing that Cory must be doing another collaboration with another artist for next weekend’s show in Glenview!

For more information, click on

Categories: art fair, artists, collaborations

So all of the colorful collaboration cups are assembled & painted. They still need some stain & glaze loving before they make their “big debut” at ART IN THE GARDEN this weekend in Glenview. At least one more kiln to fire before the weekend to get these cuties done! There’s a limited quantity… so come early to pick out your new friends!

Categories: art fair, artists, collaborations, flowers, handbuilding

With ART IN THE GARDEN less than a week away, we’re all working quickly to get our collaborations done by this weekend! Looks like Cory is still adding bright colors to her flowers…. making them fun, keeping them whimsical. Love them Cory… can’t wait to see people picking some of your flowers to go in my vases!!!