Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: friends, My Talented Friends, studio

A few weeks back when I was in Minneapolis for the St. Croix River Pottery Tour, I finally got a chance to see Sarah Chapman’s new studio space. She’s in the same building as before where she was renting a small space within Quench Jewelry Arts. It was a great place, nice studio and easy access to teaching classes there. But when the opportunity presented itself to move to a larger space with Quench owner Sarah Sitarz, the two of them moved upstairs to a bigger & better space!!! The Quench studio & classroom stayed downstairs… it’s just the two Sarah’s that made the big move upstairs!

QUITE POSSIBLY THE COOLEST & CLEANEST STUDIO EVER!!!

A beautiful display of some of Sarah’s wall pieces… and look…
just a few “unlidded” jars that are part of our collaboration challenge.

Let me just say… I am SO JEALOUS of Sarah’s space.
Makes my dirty little cubicle of a space seem SO small.
Sarah’s studio is groovy cool, with exposed brick walls, great natural light, wood floors and incredible tools everywhere you look. If only I was a metalsmith… and knew how to use any of these tools… and this could be the BEST STUDIO EVER!!!

Until then, I’ll continue to love my own little space… with pegboard, shelves & tools everywhere you look. And a seemingly never-ending layer of clay & trimmings on the floor. Ahhhh… the life of a potter.

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Categories: collaborations, friends, My Talented Friends, soda-fired, stamped

So you know how I LOVE a good collaboration project. Imagine my excitement when my friend & fantastic metalsmith Sarah Chapman proposed we tackle another collaboration project. She had a plan in her head… and I was ready to take it on.

So the “theory” is that I would make some ceramic jars, and she would add some metal lids, finials, knobs or embellishments. I’ve made a few batches of jars – some with and some without lids. Some turned out great, some I think might be too small or have a gallery that is too small. I’ve passed all of my pieces onto Sarah, so now the proverbial ball is in her court.

And I can’t wait to see what she does with them!!!
Sure, a couple of them might look like finished lidded jars… but I anticipate that Sarah will work her mojo, deconstruct them, and make some collaboration magic happen!!!

This lidded jar has a couple holes pierced through the lid… giving Sarah some options to add a finial knob. Or maybe even split the jar in two… and make a metal top to go with the clay base, and a metal bottom to go with the clay lid?!

So now the jars are all in Sarah’s capable hands… sitting in her studio waiting to fulfill their collaboration destiny!!!

 

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Categories: bike, friends, nature

Yesterday we had a wonderful day of pedaling through rural Wisconsin for the Horribly Hilly Hundreds. Starting at Blue Mound State Park and rolling off into “the middle of nowhere.” So much fun to spend the day pushing up the hills, zooming down… but still taking time to enjoy the scenery and spend time with friends!

Great ride, great hills… some tough to pedal up, and tough to walk up for some!
Here’s our friend Joni walking up. But as long as you’re still moving forward it’s all good!

Always ready to stop at the top of a hill and wait for our friends, here’s Chris at the top…
waiting, smiling, and watching other bikers fly down the next hill.

We’ve always said that the “best” part of biking is stopping.
As we’re always ready to stop and take in the local scenery. So much fun to get away from the hustle & bustle of the City. Out into the rural farmlands of Wisconsin. Chatting with locals, admiring nature and meeting some local livestock. It’s amazing to see all of the natural beauty if you just take time to look up from your handlebars!

Stopping… posing… and enjoying time with friends on the Horribly Hilly Hundred.
Thanks to my biking pals Chris and Nancy for making it so much fun!!!

Even better when you get to play at the Finish Line photo-op knowing that the hills are behind you! Sweaty, gross and a bit salt-encrusted. Exhausted but exhilarated… and already looking forward to the next ride!!

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Categories: bike, food, friends

A great day of biking today as we completed our first Century of the season! We made it through a very hot & windy day from Crystal Lake up into Wisconsin and back. So much fun… with some great rest stops along the way. Crazy cyclists like Chris refueling with bagels for carbs, peanut butter for protein, pickles for salt… and the “Superman” neon rainbow bagel just for the fun of it!!!

As always.. the best” part of biking is STOPPING!
So of course we had to stop on the side of the road for a few alpacas!!!

Categories: friends, studio

During the frenzy of glazing all day, it was great to have a visit from Gerry & Rosene… my very first art fair friends ever!!! We met several years ago when I was just starting out. It was a small holiday show in Sandwich, Illinois. And they were right across the aisle fomr me. Seasoned veterans of the craft fair circuit… and me just starting out. My very first show!!!

Needless to say, I made all the right mistakes. And they were right there to watch, help and advise. As I quickly overspread my booth space, fumbled all over the floor trying to set up my booth, and getting ready for the show. They were so supportive and encouraging… and we’ve been great friends ever since!

So although I was busy glazing & wadding all day, it was a great diversion to have them stop by. Sure, I was BUSY!!!… sure I was OVERWHELMED at the amount of work I still needed to do. But it was so good to see them stop by my studio for the first time! They were in town celebrating Gerry’s birthday with a studio visit and tickets to “Hamilton.” So we chatted, did a full Lillstreet tour with them, daughter Kristy, hubby Matt and Matt’s mom. I think they all enjoyed their tour of the studio… as they asked a LOT of great questions.

All too soon they were off to dinner so I could get back to work.
Glazing. Glazing more. Wadding. Cleaning. Glazing. Wadding and eventually loading the kiln!!!
I’d rather be eating dinner with them.

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Categories: artists, friends, kiln firing

A potter friend of mine up in Minnesota announced on Instagram today that he had a not-so-”little” kiln incident. Everyone is okay… the pots not so much. It could have been so much worse. A good lesson in kiln safety for us all to remember. If you’re headed up to Minneapolis this weekend, be sure to stop by the Rogue Potters to offer some support. Just don’t expect any “new” pots from Randal. Sorry buddy!

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Categories: art fair, artists, friends, My Talented Friends

Another day done at the “One Of A Kind Show” with my friend & master metalsmith Sarah Chapman. This is one of her sterling silver rings with embossed texture, oxidation and an amazing piece of turquoise.

And a beautiful necklace with beads & stones clustered in a sterling silver “boat.”

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Categories: art fair, artists, friends

Fun day playing with my friend & amazing metalsmith Sarah Chapman at the “One Of A Kind Show” today. She has such amazing pieces in her booth #2120… and another fun day tomorrow from 10:00am-5:00pm. C’mon down to the Merchandise Mart!!!

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!