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

Wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving Day.
Hope you’ve spent your day with family, friends or friends-who-are-your-family!
And remember… pumpkin pie is NOT just for today!!!

Categories: Dad, family, Taylor

I couldn’t narrow down my photos to only ten in the “Family” category in my Instagram Photo Challenge… so here’s another batch featuring my adorable niece Taylor!

And Taylor working her new fancy camera for her Instagram Photo Challenge!!!

A great day downtown… where we even ran into our friend longtime Tracy
who had just finished climbing the stairs at Sears Tower!!

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Categories: Dad, family, special events, Taylor

So much fun playing downtown with my Dad & niece Taylor for their first ever 5K race yesterday!!! And a fun Instagram Photo Challenge along the way during the HOT CHOCOLATE RUN!

It was a personal best for my Dad… who logged over 20,000 steps on his FitBit.
Of course I made him walk off the last 50 steps in the parking garage just to make the goal!

Categories: Dad, family, Taylor, workout

Yesterday was the HOT CHOCOLATE RUN through downtown Chicago!
So much fun spending the day with my Dad & niece Taylor who both completed their first ever 5K Race… okay, so we walked… but still, a 5K!!! Gotta start somewhere!!!

Categories: family, flowers, Mom, Mom & Dad

Huge heartfelt thanks to everyone who has expressed their thoughts, hugs & condolences over the passing of my Mom last week. She left us early Tuesday morning, and was finally put to rest yesterday morning. It has been a sad & enlightening experience for all of us as we work our way through the loss & grief. Yet with so many positive thoughts & memories I’m sure we’ll all make it out the other side… as she will continue to guide us through with her teachings & our memories.

The visitation Friday night was beautiful, with so many people passing through to pay their respects. It was the first time that someone so close to me was the “guest of honor”… that I found I was treading into new territory. I wasn’t quite sure how to react, but to be thankful and cherish the moments & friends as they shared stories & support.

My entire family thanks everyone who made it out say  their good-byes to my Mom.
She was a wonderful lady, a fantastic Mom and one of my best friends.
It will be tough over the next few weeks to come to the full realization that she is gone.
I’m sure moments will pop-up that catch me off guard. And even more “signs”
that slap me upside the head to force a memory and a smile. It was wonderful to see
all of my family together yesterday at the gravesite ceremony…
even if it was for such a sad occasion.

Thank you for your support & caring.
Thank you for your understanding as we all move forward without her.
Thank you for sharing your fond memories of how she touched so many people.

Thank you Mom… for just being YOU!!!
You will be so sadly missed by so many people.

A fond

 

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Categories: family, food, inspiration, Taylor

SO SWEET. SO THOUGHTFUL !!!!
My Mom was known for always having homemade chocolate chip cookies for family functions… and she frequently made them for my art fairs for my “groupies” & shoppers to enjoy. Many people would look for my Mom and that tin of cookies before even noticing the pottery on my display shelves!

 

So, my niece Taylor decided that she would honor her Grandma with a tribute by baking the same chocolate chip cookies for tonight’s visitation service. This way all of the guests can enjoy another cookie.

Strange notes… they ended up with 316 cookies. Taylor’s birthday is 3/16.
As well as 3:16 being the most commonly quoted bible verse.
Coincidence or some crazy master plan?!

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Categories: family, Mom & Dad

It is with heavy heart that I share the news of my Mom’s passing this week. It has been a long journey for my Mom and our family. On June 25th, my Mom suffered another major stroke… the same day as her 80th birthday! We struggled with her situation as her health continued to decline. We’ve all been working to process & prepare for this eventuality. She was a wonderful Mom, friend, support system, art fair assistant… and Chocolate Chip Cookie Baker!!!

 

Visitation will be held this Friday, August 9th
from 5:00pm-8:00pm with a brief ceremony at 7:00pm.

 GLUECKERT FUNERAL HOME
1520 North Arlington Heights Road, Arlington Heights, Illinois 60004

 

Thank you for keeping my Mom, Dad and our family in your thoughts.
She will surely be missed by us all.

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Categories: family, special events, Taylor

Also last week, while I probably should have been “training or packing”… I spent the day with my own little Great America Gang. So much fun playing with my niece, sister & cousin on all of the roller coasters, eating snacks and focusing on the FUN!!!

Oh wait, but first… Taylor had to braid Kim’s hair. Sure, we came all this way…
and THEN we braid hair???

And then finally… we got onto some rides!!!

Great fun flying out of our seats” on The Viper!!!
I love that feeling of “weightlessness” when flying over the wooden hills.

Spinning Teacups!!!

Ready for one of the originals… The American Eagle!!!

A beautiful sunset over The Raging Bull… my favorite roller coaster here at Great America!

X-Flight… so smooth!

Spinnin’ & flyin’ high on The Revolution… so much better when the lights come on!!!

And the end of another fantastic day at Six Flags Great America!

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Categories: family, special events, sunset

After a fun morning of Summer Camp yesterday, I zipped over to Six Flags Great America for a fun outing with my sister Jen, niece Taylor and cousin Kim… the “Fun-Foursome” with our Season Passes!!! It started out a little cloudy, but that soon passed and it became a beautiful evening playing in the park, zooming on the coasters & eating some great “park food”!!!

Categories: family, soda-fired, Taylor, textures, tiles

So I’ve been making tiles for quite awhile now…
a slightly larger size for a slightly larger installation!
Lots of slabs. Lots of textures. Lots of soda firing!!!

It took me awhile to get them done, but I finally did. The original estimate was about 520 tiles… so I didn’t want to start until I had more than that. As we got closer, my brother-in-law did a bit more math and decided that 380 tiles should be enough for the installation. WHEW!!!… I had plenty!

We started with a template. Scott made a piece of foam core that fit into the space perfectly. The tiles were going to fit into the space within their built-in bookcase and surround the television. So he made a template – and then popped it out so we could layout all of the tiles on the dining room table to fit.

And then we started to fill in the template. Tile by tile. Square by square.

Placing them all onto the template to fill the foam core. Trying to place them all so that they “appear” to be random. So it’s a jigsaw puzzle of sorts putting them together so the textures are spread out, the colors are not too close to each other… and so on. I like to call it “forced random.”

And it looks like we have a good start… in the top right corner at least!!!

With the top corner “done”… we still have a lot of surface to cover!!!

And then once the template was “full”… it was time to start finalizing it. Trying to “force” the random look.

And let me just say… it’s kind of a slippery slope that could last forever!
Every time you move & switch-out one tile… then another tile looks out of place…
and then another.. and then another…

At some point you just need to call it DONE!… and apparently, we’re not there yet?!

Yep… still switching them out… like I said… SLIPPERY SLOPE!

Finally calling the template done… and ready to start installation.
So here’s the bookcase… and our work table all set-up and ready to go!

So we started at the bottom, using tile spacers from the hardware store!

We followed the picture on the bag, as well as our own gut-intuition, using the spacers flat against the wall. But soon realized that THAT wasn’t going to work. After two rows, it appeared that it was going to get tough to pick-out the spacers as the tiles dried to the wall. So we quickly switched to sticking them in between the tiles parallel to the countertop.

Squirt-by-squirt… gluing them directly onto the wall. We found that it helped if we let the adhesive stiffen up for a few minutes before we squished them to the wall. If we did it too soon they seemed to be a lot slippery-ER.

So then we continued… row after row… until we had three done. We decided to take a little “break” to let them set up a bit before the stacked more tiles on these bottom rows. Long ways still to go…

A few more rows and we were up to ten rows! Leaving a space in the middle… space that will be covered by the television when it’s put back onto the wall.

And then we made it to twelve rows! Glue, squish, stick, repeat…

Luckily, I had my niece Taylor there as my more-than-able-bodied-assistant!
She did a wonderful job all say with the installation!

After crossing the span above the “TV” space… with the help of a well-spaced strip of foam core… we finally made it to the top. Well, “close” to the top of the wall. However… not close enough to leave as is… not big enough to squeeze in another tile…

So we ended up cutting a few tiles… some with a Dremel, some with an actual tile cutter!
Let’s just say it wasn’t as easy as I had hoped it might be! We had to do a full row for the top edge, as well as two cut to fit around the granite countertop part way down.

Taylor did a great job putting the finishing touches on the top row,
while I fudged the two to go around the granite counters.

So finally the tiles were up… spacers keeping everything in place. Since all of the tiles aren’t quite “perfect”… we also employed a few toothpicks to help even out the horizontal lines. Look closely…

As well as a couple custom-made tiles with initials on them!

After the tile adhesive cured, it was finally time to pull out the tile spacers & toothpicks.

What a difference it makes when all of that “support material” comes out.
So here’s the finished look… the dark lines between the tiles is merely the painted wall color. There will be no grout… just the “floating” illusion from the paint.

After re-installing the television and speakers along the bottom, the whole project is finally completed. It’s been a long time coming… lots of tiles, lots of textures, lots of soda-firing… and lots of wadding as every tile needed to be wadded before going into the soda kiln!

Thanks to my sister Jen, brother-in-law Scott and niece Taylor for their patience in waiting for the tiles… as well as all of their assistance & patience while we were installing this masterpiece. I hope they will LOVE it for many years to come!!!

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