Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: friends, mugs, soda-fired, stamped

So today is the first “official” day of Fall… and it looks like my pal Rosene has already started switching out her pottery collection to reflect the season! Gone are the bright colors of summer… enter the warm colors of Autumn!!!

Categories: friends, garden

With the cool weather setting in so quickly this weekend, looks like some of Rosene’s outdoor succulents have made the trip indoors… most likely for the rest of the year!!! I’m sure they’ll be looking forward to getting back outside next Spring as soon as possible… just like ME!!!

Categories: artists, food, friends, mugs

Looks like Martin is starting his morning off right… with some tea & crumpets before he starts painting! And I’m sure his tea is extra tasty this morning… in one of my mugs that he got from our pottery class mug “exchange-stealing-trading” game!!!

You can check out some of Martin’s amazing paintings & other artwork by clicking here for his website!

Categories: artists, bowls, creativity, food, friends, pitchers, pottery

When Rosene sent me this picture of her grocery produce “harvest” on some of my pottery… it looked a little too much like she was setting up a still life to do a painting!!!

So I went ahead and made it for her!!!

Categories: friends, garden, soda-fired, stamped

Looks like my friend Sarah has done a little succulent re-planting! Loving the line-up of my stamped & soda-fired flower pots… sure, they were intended for a “collaboration” between us. But after a “couple” years of collecting dust in her studio… it’s good to see they’ve come out of retirement with a wonderful solution!!! Beautiful Sarah… and I still love the ONE piece that came out of that original project!!! HA!!!

Categories: friends, soda-fired, stamped, totem pole

Back at the start of the Covid Pandemic, my very first art fair friends Gerry & Rosene had a little “incident” in their back yard. A storm blew through Central Illinois and took out one of their largest trees. As if that weren’t bad enough… it also smashed my ceramic totem pole that was residing their yard! We had installed it in their back terraced garden about a decade ago. a beautiful addition to their incredible garden treasure. But that big tree coming down did a LOT of damage to their garden… and what with a pandemic just starting to take-over! Bad timing!

Luckily, we had cemented the totem pole into the ground… so their insurance claim covered as it was a “permanent” piece of their landscaping. With funds coming from the inurance company, Gerry & Rosene had me start making a replacement totem for them I threw the pieces, stamped them and started decorating them.

Once they were soda-fired, I packed them up in crates and stored them in my basement until Gerry & Rosene were ready to install into their yard. Turns out yesterday was the day!!! I I packed up my car with all of the stamped & soda-fired sections… grabbed my cousin Kim… and drove down to Peoria for the day yesterday!!!

After a tour of the garden… a lot of chatting & catching up in our masks… and some food, it was time to get started with the totem pole! So we set out all of the pieces in the beautiful sunshine and got the project started!

I started by digging the hole for the pole to be planted into. I used a great auger tool to make the hole, and a sledge hammer to pound in the pole. We then added a bag of cement around the pole to fill the hole and secure the pole.

Rosene & my cousin Kim worked to organize and sequence the pieces in the right order… not that there is a right & wrong… just a preference. They looked at colors, textures, patterns & shapes and tried to randomize them as much as possible to it all stacked together nicely. Not quite as easy of a project as it sounds!

As they continued to organize the pieces, Gerry & I started to stack the pole from the bottom up. Piece by piece, section by section. I finally made it to the top to put on the every last piece. The topper to the totem pole!!!

And then we were done… and ready for our “photo shoot.” It was so nice to give them back the totem pole they lost in the storm. I do think that this “version” is much nicer than the original. The pieces have a bit more stamping &detailing on them. The colors are a bit more vibrant… and they chose a fitting spot for it right in their front yard! They were SO excited… and SO CUTE!!!

So there it is… their NEW replacement totem pole. Bigger & better than the firs tone… thanks to State Farm and their homeowner’s insurance!

However, they also still had a few pieces left from the original one that had “survived” the tree crash! So I planned ahead and made a new base & a new topper for them “just in case” we could re-stack the survivors and make a smaller totem in the back yard. It worked great… as it is very close to the original location of the first totem. In fact, in the next photo, you can practically see the “dead space” where the tree fell!!!

So no they have TWO new totems in their amazing garden!!! It was a wonderful day playing in the garden, chatting, eating all the while trying to keep our safe distance with our masks on. Okay sure, we may have gotten a little close a couple times… but we tried... we really tried!!!

But in the end… THEY HAVE A NEW TOTEM POLEor two!!!

Categories: artists, friends, garden

So my cousin Kim & I hopped in the car early yesterday morning… and decided to drive down to Bartonville to visit my friends Gerry & Rosene. They’re my very first at fair friends EVER!!! From the very first day, from my very first show oh so many years ago in Sandwich, Illinois!!!

So we had a wonderful drive down to Central Illinois covering many subjects and “solving all the problems of the world”. We made it to Goodfield – and it’s always tough to go past Goodfield without stopping at BUSY CORNER for homemade pie!!!

We decided to get a slice to go… a snack for the road for the next 20 minutes… but I couldn’t decided… so I got two! I went with a classic rhubarb pie, and slice of chocolate turtle marshmallow cheesecake!

When we got Gerry & Rosene’s home, you’ve always go so much beautiful garden colors, flowers & rustic art everywhere to see. So here’s a visual tour… just a small glimpse of their garden!

And then at the end of our evening, we were sitting around on the deck having dinner, and more pie… AND brownies with ice cream & hot fudge!!! And then we saw a spider building an amazing web directly above my chair. Tough to photograph… but I kinda got this nice shot… a bit blurry… but still pretty cool.

And with that… our road-trippin’ day to Peoria had come to an end…
and it as time to head home!!!

Categories: family, friends, movie, music, Taylor

After a long day at the art fair Saturday, I met my sister Jen & niece Taylor for dinner… and then we went to see HAMILTON!! Our friend Tracy has started hosting “Movie Night” in her backyard every Saturday night. Sure, I was kind of exhausted after a long art fair day… but who can pass up a good dinner with family, a great movie musical and time with King George & The Schuyler Sisters?!!! Not me… I’m in!!!

Categories: art fair, family, friends

Not only was it AMAZING to see so many loyal customers, fans, followers & art fair patrons this past weekend… but I also had a few wonderful surprise visits as well.

Molly & Jacob stopped by with little Benjamin! Just three weeks old and only five pounds tiny!!! A bit of a preemie making huge gains and growing quickly. Also known as “Team Lavender” to many Lillstreeters… Molly & Jacob have been in several of my classes including two “seasons” of The Great Lillstreet Throwdown! You may remember… we helped them make all of the vases for the wedding reception during “Season One”. And then made surprise baby blocks for them during “Season Two!”

At one point I had another visitor to my booth who stopped by and quietly looed around… and then left. He looked familiar, but hard to identify with mask, sunglasses & bald head. When he stepped back in a minute later, he said “You didn’t recognize me, did you?” It was only when I heard his voice that I realized it was my older cousin David… who lives in Ohio!!! I had no idea he would be coming… he’s never been to one of my art fairs… and it was AMAZING and slightly confusing to see him there!!!

Later in the day, I was busy helping someone else… and then when I looked up I saw another familiar face!!! And there before my very eyes was my good friend Anna from high school… her husband, her sister with husband & daughter, and Anna’s Mom!!! Now keep in mind, I haven’t seen Anna since maybe a couple years after college graduation?! She now lives in St. Louis… so imagine my surprise now to have the entire family standing there in my art fair booth!!! CRAZY!!! Sadly, I was so shocked to see them all there in my booth… that I totally forgot to take any pictures!!! But Anna did bring me a little handmade souvenir… showing off her own crafty handiwork!

And then on Sunday, I was surprised by my friend Alison and her daughter Kasey. I haven’t seen Alison for a couple years… ever since they cancelled out Step Classes. Yes, we did Step Class together at the health club for YEARS!!! I love it… and still hope it will make a resurgence! Anyway, they popped into my booth and it was so good to see them. Especially after talking with Kasey who is now a news reporter up in Milwaukee. She had some amazing stories of what she’s had to cover in the field during these crazy times & the riots in Kenosha. Amazing… and more than a bit scary. Kudos for Kasey for stepping it up and reporting the news on camera to make sure the stories get told.

Towards the end of Sunday, I had another little visitor… adorable little Teagan who stopped bu with her Mom Nancy… one of my IRONMAN biking friends. Teagan was so cute walking around and being so thoughtful & cautious around all of the pottery.

Teagan seemed to really enjoy her first art fair… almost as much as she enjoys her morning oatmeal in her own little handmade & personalized cereal bowls!!!

Categories: art fair, friends

Hard to believe it is already the end of August?!!!…
how & when did THAT happen?

But more importantly, that means this weekend is ART IN THE GARDEN. A wonderful grassroots art fair with nine talented friends working together & creating together. Lots of wonderful artwork & fun collaboration projects in a safe garden setting with plenty of social distancing. We would love to have you join us in Glenview… with your mask!

For more info, click here for the website.
Or click here for our Facebook page.