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

My very first Noodle Kugel homemade by my friend Pam. Quite yummy…
and even yummier in a handmade Bob Briscoe bowl.

Categories: friends, holiday

Just wrapping up a few last-minute presents. Including this little gem for my Mom (shhh… don’t ruin the surprise). It’s a wonderful coloring book made by my friend Allison! And if you don’t get what you want for Christmas… I’m sure she could hook you up with one of these sweeties too!

Don’t want to wait?… and just want to order a few for yourself and friends?
Click here for the Artillicious website.

Categories: food, friends

So you know how I LOVE sweet treats. And how I LOVE my Talented Friends!!!
And how special it is when they both come together. Like today!!!
Look what was waiting for me when I got home today!!!

A very “sweet” care package from a Facebook Friend in Alabama. Donnalee and I have been friends online for a few years now as she follows my Facebook page as a fellow potter and fan. She’s purchased a couple mugs online and shared Selifies you may heve seen here recently. But when I found out that she lives on a farm and produces natural honey… errrr… back it up… FRESH HOMEGROWN HONEY?!!! Who doesn’t like fresh honey??? So we decided to do a little trading. Who doesn’t like a good trade?!

So my good box arrived in the mail today. I quickly opened it and was thrilled to find a couple different kinds of honey, all homegrown in Pelham, Alabama at Blankenship Farms! A couple different jars of honey and some fun sticks of honey.

And oh, but wait there’s more… PEPPERMINT HONEY???
Who would have thought? It sounds perfect for the season…
and I can’t wait to give it a try!!! Not sure in what?… with what?… or just on a spoon?

So if you like honey as much as I do… and like supporting small, family-owned businesses, please click here for Blankenship Farms. And when you do, tell Donnalee I sent you to Blankenship Farms!!! Their Facebook page can link you a few different options of where to find their honey.

Would you love to get some of this…

 

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