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

A wonderful day of “playing hooky” at Six Flags Great America yesterday with my “family four pass.” We got season passes this year so we can play all summer!!! Roller coasters, water rides & cotton candy… and the new JOKER… oh my.

Yes, THE JOKER was our first ride of the day. It’s the newest roller coaster at Great America. I t may not look all that cool in still photos… but… what you can’t see is that the seats are actually flipping around while you’re sitting in them zooming & down the track. Much of the time you have no idea of which side is up!!!

To see more about the newest roller coaster THE JOKER, click here for the teaser video.

Never too early for cotton candy… luckily for us, my cousin Kim was willing to share!

A quick ride on The Viper… one of Taylor’s favorites!!! A great wooden roller coaster with lots of hills & bumps…. lots of flying out of your seat!!! Which I love!!!

Next up for me and Kim… Vertical Velocity. A quick twist up one end, and straight up the other. Not big hill to ride up and ride down… just magnetic propulsion sending you soaring up into the sky. Needless to say, Jen & Taylor decided to sit this one out.

While waiting for Logger’s Run… we saw momma robin had set-up her nest right above the the roaring rapids of the water ride. Not too calm or serene… but she sure seemed to like her vantage point.

After the ride, we were a little drenched… but happy!
Ready to move on to another roller coaster to help us dry out a bit!!!

As our day of roller coasters, water rides and snacks continued into the late afternoon, the sun began to set creating some great views & vantage points.

All of a sudden, the sunset turned the sky ablaze with colors. Creating a beautiful sky show creating a wonderful sky show with the roller coaster silhouettes.

All too soon, our day at Great America had come to an end. A wonderful day, beautiful weather and so much fun with Taylor, Jen & Kim!!! And luckily, we have our season passes… so more fun to come!!!

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Categories: family, pottery, studio

My Mom has been busy making pottery aprons again!!!
She has six of them ready to go. They’ve been custom-designed for potters… long enough to cover your thighs with a split to open when you sit at the wheel. The straps go over your shoulders instead of around your neck. And there are three button adjustments to change the height & width. So click on the link to see the current inventory… and thank you Greg for always being the perfect model!!!

Here’s a quick peek of the six that are currently available at the time of posting.
Please click on the “Handmade Pottery Aprons” LINK in the top far right column to see the actual “current” inventory… as well as more details and purchase information.

Or… click here to go straight to my Mom’s Pottery Apron page on my blog.

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Categories: family, friends

Looks like little Rosie really enjoyed putting together her jigsaw puzzle today…
one of a VERY limited edition of “prototype” puzzles!
Maybe there will be more to come???

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Categories: creativity, family, food

A slightly delayed Christmas gift from my cousins in Minnesota. Looks like they know me a little TOO well!!! Sadly though, Caroline, my Girl Scout cookie connection, has decided not to sell cookies this year. What?! Say it isn’t so… I might need a new hook-up. I’m jones’n already!!!

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Categories: family, special events, Taylor

Sure, it’s freezing cold outside today… but the summer memories are still warm!
So here’s another summer flashback!!!

We started our day (back in August) at Six Flags Great America… and of course we had to start on a roller coaster! Taylor may have been a little cautious at first, but that didn’t last long…

Then we were off to my favorite… The Raging Bull.

After our first couple roller coasters, we played Whack-A-Mole… and I WON!!!
But the best part was that we ALL won colorful character baseball hats!!!
We looked gangsta’s in the hood of Nickelodeon!

More spinning… more squealing… more giggling…

Of course we had to take a cotton candy break… it is Great America after all.
And who doesn’t like a little more sugar to keep everyone amp’d up?!!!

More roller coasters… more fun… this time back on The Viper!!!

Seems like it was all coasters all the time… including the X-Flight!!!

Taylor was great at most of the roller coasters… although she drew the line at Vertical Velocity. I had to do that one with my cousin Kim while Jen & Taylor did the flying swings a couple times. In hind sight, the swings may have been better for Kim too… she was a bit queasy after this one! Magnetic jet-propulsion, twisting and flying straight up might not be her thing?!

All too soon, the sun started to set and our day was drawing to an end. The park takes on a whole new look as the sun goes down and the park lights begin to turn on.

It may have been sunset, but we still had time for a few more rides. Including another ride on Taylor’s favorite The Viper. Which looks so much cooler with the silhouettes of sunset.

Darkness was falling quick and we had time for one last ride… Spinning & swinging on The Revolution. So much fun… especially in the dark when all the lights are blurring, spinning and sparkling. A fitting end to our wonderful day at Great America… oh wait, that might have been the funnel cakes ala mode with hot fudge that we had just before leaving the park?!!!

 

Categories: classes, family, friends, pottery, process

While down in Chenoa celebrating the New Years, I found out that one of  the kids received a pottery wheel from Santa! And Rosie was anxiously waiting for a private tutorial with her Uncle Gary!!! So we set up her little clay studio… okay, a dining room chair for her wheel, and another dining room chair for her water bucket… err, I man cereal bowl?! And then we had a little tutorial and she couldn’t wait to get her hands dirty!!!

So she started centering and quickly found out it wasn’t as easy as it looks!
But Rosie was a trooper and kept trying…. and trying… and trying…

And then all of a sudden she got it…

Here it is… a centered piece of clay… so NOW what do I do?

So we continued the tutorial and talked about opening the clay, not going down too far (which she did the first time), and making the hole wider.

Once she had the ball of clay opened, it was time to start raising the walls. Two fingers inside, two fingers outside, thumbs crossed, both hands working as one unit!

She kept having trouble with that whole “elbows down” concept…

And then one of her brothers started hovering like a vulture waiting on its prey.

So when Rosie had had enough and saved her first piece of pottery, Finan was quick to swoop in to give it a spin! He jumped right in and gave it a whirl solely based on the online video he watched while Rosie was practicing.

And he did pretty well… except for that whole “elbows down” thing I kept telling them!

His cylinder was looking pretty great… still working on pulling up the walls…

And then… WHOOPS!!!… looks like the clay went one way and fingers went the other!!!

And again, I kept using my favorite classroom mantra…  “It’s just clay.”
Even if it’s all muddy all over your hands!!!

Categories: family, holiday

It’s the first day of December…. and the first ornament on my Advent Calendar.
It’s a felt calendar that my Grandma made for me years ago. Everyone in my family has one of these “heirlooms” from my Grandma. For YEARS we all thought she had created them by herself. It wasn’t until a few years ago that someone came to my Home Show and said “I have the same calendar.” To which I was shocked… and confused… until we discussed it a bit and we realized that it was actually a kit. And NOT an original craft project by my Grandmother?! Still… it goes up every year and kicks off the start of December… and the holiday season!

Categories: family, sunset

Okay, so by now you may have noticed that I’m more of a SUNRISE guy.
Living in Chicago, we have a much better sunrise view over Lake Michigan.
Sunsets are frequently “hidden” by buildings, street lights and a lot of visual garbage.
So I was excited to see my cousin David getting into the act and sharing his SUNSET
while vacationing in Hawaii.

Thanks for playing. Thanks for sharing. Now I want to be on a beach too!!!

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Categories: family, special events

So the day started out a little rainy & drizzy… and a morning filled with Summer Camp kids… but that never stops us from even more fun at Six Flags Great America!!!

As soon as camp let out, I drove quickly up to Six Flags to meet my cousins & kids up there! We rode a few rides and got a little wet before they shut down the roller coasters for a few minutes while the rain passed through. Even though Caroline and my cousin Kim were a little wet, we still found plenty of things to keep us busy!

Soon enough the afternoon was clear, and thanks to the rain, the lines for the rides were short. We had a great afternoon twisting, flipping and zooming on all of the roller coasters! And then, seemingly out of nowhere, the clouded skies gave us a beautiful sunset sky show!

But then it was back to the rides… and back to the fun. It may have been dark outside, but that just makes the roller coasters more exciting. So we squeezed in a few more… The Viper… and my favorite Raging Bull!!!

All too soon, our day of fun had come to an end. We were all tired, a little damp, and filled with great memories of a fun day at Great America!!! I’m hoping that this becomes an annual adventure with my cousin’s kids from Minnesota!!!

Categories: family, food

Breakfast made special with handmade pottery.
Still the most important meal of the day… even for my cousin David on Ohio!