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

A great night of food & fun at Macello’s with my friend Pam.
A perfect start to an evening of theatrical spectacle… with live horses!!!
Bright colored murals on the walls. Striking black & white prints.
And WONDERFUL wood-fired pizza with burrata… possibly my new favorite cheese?!!!

 

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Categories: food, friends, mugs, soda-fired, stamped

I love when my friendly customers share their Fire When Ready Pottery on Instagram. It’s so great to see your work being loved & used… especially on a cloudy & rainy day like today! Thanks for sharing Allison!

Categories: food, friends

Dinner at Margie’s Candies a block away from Lillstreet.
And a huge hot fudge sundae with banana & marshmallow!!! And did I mention the “extra” gravy boat of hot fudge on the side?!!! I should be extra “entertaining” for my pottery class tonight. Ha!!!

Thanks for joining me Pam…
and for continuing your Birthday Celebration Week…. err, Month!!!

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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: artists, creativity, friends

Last night was my friend Pam’s 50th Birthday Party!!!
And sure, we could have had a “normal” night out… but that’s not how we fly!
Pam decided to have her party at the Firehouse Art Center in Chicago. She was surrounded by all of her friends… and a lot of flames to play with!!! We all had a chance to do some glassblowing with proceeds going to the ArtReach Program. Such a great idea for her party… and her group of artist friends! So much fun for everyone!!!

So first, you need to decide what colors you want added into the glass. There were bags of colored frits to choose from… a little overwhelming. So many choices… and far too many flames all around as a wonderful distraction!!!

Then you with down with a glop of molten glass on the end of your rod. The glass is pressed into the pan of colored frits so they stick to the glass and begin to melt. Then you poke, snip and swirl the colors with metal tongs. Since I decided to make a paperweight, I knew I wanted to add some cool air bubbles into my glass, so I poked holes deep into the glass.

Another dip of glass… more swirling… more mixing…

Then you finally get to start shaping it into a ball using tongs and a wet wooden “scoop” shaper.

Once the shape is good, you need to make a groove where the piece will be “cut off” the rod.

A little last minute shaping… and then it was time to snap it off the rod, blow torch the bottom edge to smooth it out, and then it went into another kiln for a slow cool down.

And me… a happy camper after playing with fire & glass!!!

My friend Kelly was there too… so here’s her glass “journey” too!
Rolling her glass in the colored frits…

Re-heating the glass to melt it all together again…

Some poking, snipping, swirling… and shaping…

A wet wooden “bowl” shaper to help refine the shape of the molten glass.

And then since Kelly was making a bowl, she got to actually “blow” her glass ball open. While the studio tech was helping with the bowl, Kelly was at the other end of the rod ready to blow and inflate her glass at his command. The coolest part was when her glass was a nice large, round “bubble”… he told Kelly to suck the air out and it pulled in the top half to make a double-walled concave bowl. Pretty amazing!!!

So at this point, all of the bowls and paperweights made last night are still in the kiln cooling down. I’m pretty sure we will get them in the next day or two… and I’ll be sure to post some photos!!!

And again… HAPPY BIRTHDAY PAM!!!
We all had a great time at your party… it was a wonderful idea to party with fire!!!!

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Categories: food, friends, stamped

A little sneak peek of the Pumpkin Cheesecake I made for my friend Pam for her 50th birthday. It’s her favorite flavor of cheesecake. I’m pretty sure she’s going to like it… especially when she figures out that she gets to keep the platter too!!!

Categories: friends, mugs, weather

So what better place to be than curled up in front of the fireplace with some hot cocoa in a stamped handmade mug. Looks familiar. Thanks to my buddy Pammy for showing off how she spent her afternoon!

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: food, friends

Looks like one of my not-so-Secret Santas knows me a little too well!!! They look amazing… and methinks they might just become the Breakfast of Champions this morning. It’s a holiday, right??? Thanks Pam for feeding the addiction!!!

Categories: friends, inspiration, special events

So I’ve been planning on this for awhile…
And I’ve been wearing my IRONMAN wristband ever since the race.
It’s all faded… and wrinle… and I’d swear it was getting smaller too?
But I’ve worn it proudly everyday since the race. Until today…

I’ve been considering this for quite a long time. I’m not the type to rush into something this permanent. I kinda knew I was going to do it all during my training, but never really admitted it outloud until after I had crossed the Finish Line. Like I didn’t want to jinx myself.

But, I did cross the Finish Line…. and I’ve been planning this ever since. I knew I was going to get my well-earned IRONMAN tattoo!!! But then the question was what to get? Where? What? How big? So I narrowed it down to four choices. And printed them out in six different sizes each. And then I would cut them out and tape onto my body… walk around and look at them in the mirror. One design here. One design there. Narrowing it down. Design. Placement. Size. Because yes, I am a dork.

And then I was ready. So I called my friend Chris to see if she would go with me, and if she had a tatoo artist recommendation. As my IRONMAN Sherpa and longtime biking buddy, of course she was right there for me!!! She mad all the arrangements and we went today to get some ink. And before I knew it I was on the table getting the stencil applied.

I showed Chris and the tattoo guy what I was thinking in terms of design, size and location. I decided to go with the traditional IRONMAN m-dot logo. Thinking I could always add more to it later if I ever needed to. But I thought I should start with the classic logo. I was kinda torn between calf muscle or side of ankle. We talked about it, he say my calf muscles and he said the decision was made. That my calf was SCREAMING for the tattoo. And I had to agree. So I showed him the size I wanted… which they both thought was too small. I taped it on and showed them in the mirror. He made a stencil of a slightly larger one and put it in the same place. And they were right. It looked so nice & proportional to my leg. Whereas my little one looked too small by comparison. He thought it should be centered on the back of my leg, but I thought it should be centered on the muscle itself. We moved it a bit and they both agreed. So there we were. Stencil ready…. time to go under the needle!

So I hopped back on the table as the buzzing of the tattoo machine began…
constant humming…. buzzing… building up the anxiety before it even begins…

First the outline in black…

And then the red fill-in…

And before I knew it, he was wiping me clean… and we were done!!!
Let me just say for the record… it didn’t hurt nearly as much as I expected it to.

And then I was wrapped up with some sort of clear “bandage” sealant material. Keep it on for like three days, then take it off carefully. Keep it clean with antibacterial soap and ointment. We’re going into New Year’s Eve festivities…. so I’ll keep the band-aid on and take it off when things settle down for the New Year!

Goodbye wristband. Hello IRONMAN tattoo!!!

And then Chris got a triathlon inspired tattoo bracelet “just ‘cuz” we were there…
I’m sure we’ll be back next Fall after Chris completes her IRONMAN in September 2017.

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