Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
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!!!




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!

Categories: bowls, family, food

Looks like it’s raspberry season!!!
And my cousin Kim has been growing them in her yard again this year. Making her morning cereal taste even better… and a “fancy bowl” to make them LOOK even better too!


Categories: bowls, family, holiday

Apparently the Easter Bunny left far too much candy for my cousin’s kids in Minnesota?! They still have a LOT of sugar going on up there. Luckily, they have a great bowl and a few spoons to help scoop up some sweets! Because you know that jelly beans always taste better when eaten off a handmade ceramic spoon… or five!

Categories: family, weather

After a beautiful sunrise, followed by some Lake Effect snow, I went out to the Kane County Flea Market with my cousin Kim and friends Gerry & Rosene. We were faced with crazy gale force winds, blizzard-like white-outs, moments of sun, followed by hail, then more wind and more SNOW!!!

What’s going on?…. well at least we all found some great rusty “treasures”!!! My cousin Kim had just about had enough of the cold weather… while I found it QUITE entertaining!!! So crazy… on, off, snow, sun, clouds, wind, on, off, etc.

Categories: creativity, family, food, holiday

We had some “colorful” fun with my family & cousins from Minnesota doing some Easter egg coloring. Many were simple color dips… but I went for the “textured” grid effect using a rubber grippy pad & rubber bands! I happened to find the grippy grid things in the grocery aisle… darn those impromptu add-on sales items!

Worked well on the first one… so I ventured out into a two-toned world! With a band of rubber grid. Half dipped in yellow, and then half dipped in blue…  overlapping for green?!

Christopher was right there trying the new technique with great results… and focus!

A good time was had by all.
We ended with some colored fingertips and some very vibrant eggs!

Categories: bowls, family, food

Looks like it’s that time of the year again!
My favorite Girl Scout is gearing up for another season of selling her cookie for of “crack” on the streets! Caroline is looking adorable… and the cookies look pretty amazing in their special cookie presentation bowl!!!