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

When Rosene sent me this picture of her grocery produce “harvest” on some of my pottery… it looked a little too much like she was setting up a still life to do a painting!!!

So I went ahead and made it for her!!!

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: creativity, terra cotta, The Ghouls Collection

So it took me a little while to figure out what kind of “ghoul” I wanted to make this year to add to “The Ghouls Collection.” Running out of ideas, and a bit of inspiration as ART IN THE BARN has been cancelled for months now… it was tough to dive in. But when I realized I should make them for ART IN THE GARDEN… I was ALL IN!!!

So I did a bit of brainstorming… even employing my summer camp kids for ideas… and finally made a “Ghoul-ish” decision… and a small test piece!!!

Categories: creativity, friends, inspiration, pottery, vases

Who knew that one little piece of pottery could draw out such creative wackiness?! Whether it’s a horn-holder on top of a watermelon?… or a kitten spittle-catcher?… or a zucchini bread holder???

Looks like he might be going a little “covid-quarantine-crazy”… but I LOVE It… and I can’t wait to see what he’ll do with larger pieces of pottery?!!! Bring it on Matthew!!!

Categories: creativity, friends

Got my second “shipment” of groovy postcards from THE POSTCARD CLUB!!! Bringing snail mail back to life by sharing the joy of handwritten notes on postcards! If you love sending postcards, check out THE POSTCARD CLUB online or on Instagram. This packet includes photos from really beautiful places I’d rather be right now… a little mini-vacation in my mind! Thanks Emma & Clayton!

Categories: bike, creativity

I’ve always said that “the best part of biking is stopping!” So many people will just pedal the miles without stopping to see the surroundings! Well, not us!!! So Friday when Chris and I went out to ride the Madison IRONMAN loop… we had to stop at this crazy cool retro drinking fountain literally in the middle of nowhere!!!

Categories: artists, creativity

My morning ride was hot & sweaty along the lakefront headed north. Still a beautiful ride… made even more beautiful by this collection of painted rocks along the Northwestern University campus. Most are just painted… some are just cute… but someone has some real talent out there!

Categories: creativity, friends, photography

Remember when people would actually write cards, letters & postcards… well, we’re bringing it back!!! My friends Emma & Clayton have started a new program to get people writing again… THE POSTCARD CLUB. I just got my first packet of postcards with some of Emma’s cool photographs on them! Can’t wait to mail them out… but to who?… that’s the question!

For more info…

Categories: cirque du soleil, creativity

By now you’ve probably figured out that I’m a huge Cirque du Soleil fan… err, groupie!
My first show was ALEGRIA on Chicago’s North Pier and was completely mesmerized by the magic, music & magnificence! I was hooked instantly… as soon as the singer hit the first few notes of the theme song!!! I bought the CD right there & then… and have listened to it like six million times!

I’ve since seen practically every show… and even worked for them when VAREKAI and DRALION came to Chicago! Yes, I’m a dork. And yet somehow it’s hard to believe that they’ve been around for thirty-six years already! So much fun to see their more meager beginnings here in this video… and how much they have changed & grown over the years!

From the Cirque du Soleil Facebook page…
The Cirque du Soleil story began 36 years ago today. We want to mark the occasion with you, our fans, who have supported us all these years with a special re-watch of our classics: Nouvelle Expérience, Saltimbanco and Cirque Réinventé.

Click here to watch the video on Facebook!

Categories: artists, creativity, inspiration

With all of the protests & riots over the past weeks, infamous street artist Banksy has expressed his thoughts through images & words on his Instagram feed. Very thoughtful and well stated… as I would have expected.

For those who are not aware of Banksy and his work… Banksy is an anonymous England-based street artist, vandal, political activist, and film director, active since the 1990s. His satirical street art and subversive epigrams combine dark humor with graffiti executed in a distinctive stenciling technique.

He’s kind of a big deal.