Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: art fair, artists, collaborations, friends

ART IN THE BARN is just over a week away in Barrington…
and it looks like my favorite painter Cheryl Holz has been busy making pieces for the show.
Sure, they’re pretty and all… but they kinda need a frame, right?!
Maybe a clay one would be cool?…. you know how I LOVE a good collaboration!

For more about Cheryl Holz and her beautifully inspired multi-media work…
click here for her website.

Categories: friends, special events, workout

HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to my buddies Chris, Nancy & Rose who just crossed the Finish Line of IRONMAN MADISON!!! It was the first full IM for Nancy & Rose, and the second for Chris! All three of these ladies rocked it today! I just wish I could have been up there to cheer them on!!! But duty called… and I had a great weekend at ART IN THE GARDEN. Some of us had to work… while others got to workout!!


Pay no attention to that man in the crazy pink shirt… she’s IN FRONT of him!!!

Shortly behind was Chris…

And then it was Rose’s turn to cross the Finish Line…

Again, HUGE CONGRATS to all three of these amazing friends! They did an amazing job completing the 140.6 ile course…and still all smiles!!!


Categories: friends, special events, workshop

My buddies Chris & Nancy rounding the Capital at the halfway point of the IRONMAN marathon. About 13-miles into the run and they’re still smiling! Somewhere at the end of the bike course, Chris & Nancy met up in the transition and head out for the run together. What better way to run the final leg of their IRONMAN together with a good friend to keep you moving. To share a story and a laugh. And to commiserate about the pain. And to share the entire experience together. Great friends with a great experience!

Categories: friends, special events, workout

Best of luck to my buddies Chris, Nancy & Rose as they race in the IRONMAN Madison today! So excited for them… right now they should be in the middle of their 2.4 mile swim! It’s going to be a long day, but I’m confident they can make it through the 140.6 miles of fun!!! This will be Chris’ second IRONMAN, while it is Nancy and Rose’s first full IRONMAN.

To celebrate their achievement, one of their training-mates Beckie decided to print “team” photos for them… and asked me to make some custom frames. A great collaboration to commemorate their huge achievement. Way to go girls!!!

Pictured left to right… Rose, Nancy, Coach Chilly, Chris and Beckie.
Missing from the photo?… ME – the “honorary” Team Chilly member!



Categories: art fair, artists, friends, textures

The collaboration projects for ART IN THE GARDEN are coming along quite nicely. Here’s a sneak peek at a few of the beautiful silver necklace pendants that Amy Taylor has made using some of my textured clay pieces as cabachons. I just hope she doesn’t confuse a ridged chip with one of my pieces as she’s snacking & working at the same time?!!! Either direction would be a bad mistake!

Categories: friends, music, special events

After pulling an “all-nighter” firing the kiln, and a quickie one-hour nap, last night we were off to Ravinia for a fun concert under the stars… err, clouds… err, umbrellas!!!

We started with some amazing clouds blowing in and great friends with great snacks. They brought wine for themselves, and OREO Handi-Snacks for me!!! They know me so well.

And then it started to rain, and then rain even MORE, but it didn’t dampen our spirits. We “sufffered through” The Thompson Twins who needed a little tune-up, and then the B-52′s rocked the place!!! Only to be topped off with Boy George and Culture Club. He was AMAZING!!! He did all of their hits and sounded perfect – like it hasn’t been over 30 years from when he was popular the first time! He even ended the show with tribute cover songs from Aretha Franklin & Prince. Great show. Great fun… and now to dry out!!! Ironic the night ended with Purple Rain, huh?!

Categories: food, friends, mugs

Love when my mugs are actually being used… and making breakfast even better!
Also love randomly running across this photo on my friend Allison’s Instagram stories this morning!

If you’re posting photos of YOUR breakfast using my pottery?… or lunch.. or dinner…
be sure to tag me @firewhenreadypottery.


Categories: bike, friends, special events, workout

What a difference a day makes!
Sunday we ran our last two races in high temperatures & sticky humidity. So hot that they even shortened the International run course due to the red-alert conditions… after WE had already run that leg.

And here are some of the TRIPLE CHALLENGE details…

And for the TRIPLE CHALLENGE… the athletes taking on the challenge do all three distances in two days! SuperSprint on Saturday, and then International/Olympic followed immediately by the Sprint on Sunday.

Of course my favorite part is the bike!
Basically we ride up & down a closed Lake Shore Drive, all the way up to Hollywood and back. Then we turn towards the city and ride on middle Wacker Drive. A covered section of the “underbelly” of the City… SO COOL… so fast… kinda like riding in the Batcave!!! And then onto the “secret” bus lane thatI didn’t even know about that takes you south past Soldier Field and back. Great fun riding on roads closed to auto traffic!

When you finish the bike, you change clothes quick and head out for the run. We follow the lakefront south around the Shedd Aquarium, south of Soldier Field and McCormick Place to turn around at 31st Street Beach. You cross the Finish Line for you International Race and then need to head straight back to the lake for the start of the Sprint race. And it’s a LONG huff through the Finish Line festivities, past Buckingham Fountain, across Lake Shore Drive to pick-up your wetsuit & goggles at the Triple Tent and back to the Swim Start. Then it’s another swim, bike and run to get to the Finish Line AGAIN!!!

So hot & humid that THIS is the actual photo the professional photographer took
with my iPhone camera at the Finish Line… all sweated up from the Sprint run!!!

So sweaty that I couldn’t even swipe to the right, and the camera lens was all fogged up. Guess that’s what happens when the heat index goes well over a hundred!!! Sweaty fun racing with Chris & Beckie doing International followed back-to-back by Sprint to complete our Chicago Triathlon TRIPLE CHALLENGE!!!

Three races. Three medals.
A challenging weekend with the heat & humidity…
and a shortened window to make it to the third race… which I made with just seconds to spare!!! I was literally the very LAST of the Triple racers who made it into the water, just under the deadline! Talk about stress.

Another fun weekend for the Chicago Triathlon TRIPLE CHALLENGE
and my third triple… my Triple Trifecta!




Categories: bike, friends, special events, workout

Getting ready for any triathlon is a bit anxiety ridden. Packing all of the the gear you’ll need for all three events throughout the day. All of the clothing, all of the gear, as well as all of the fluids & nutrition needed. Knowing that your race starts at 6:00am with a big jump into the lake. So you count time backwards to determine what time you need to leave to give yourself plenty of time.

These signs have been posted near my place for about a week. Telling everyone that Lake Shore Drive will be closing on Sunday from 5:00am-12:00pm… as the bike course will be taking up the southbound lanes. So I planned accordingly… knowing that I would need to get on Lake Shore Drive prior to the 5:00am closing!

I counted my time backwards and decided that I needed to leave around 4:00am to get there in plenty of time to settle in, run through the days races in my head, and et acclimated to the Transition Area. But when I got to the entrance ramp of Lake Shore Drive… it was already closed, barricaded and pylon coned!!! Obviously closed a LOT EARLIER than the posted 5:00am!!! Needless to say, I got there quite a bit later than I would have liked. A bit rushed getting into the Transition Area and setting up my stuff. But I made it down to the Swim Start with my wetsuit to find my friends Chris & Beckie waiting to start the race with me. And I was so rushed… that I actually put my wetsuit on inside-out!!! Still flipped after yesterday’s SuperSprint swim!

As I was parking in the Monroe Street Garage, I ran into my friend Tracy who was also getting ready for her race… or at least two-thirds of her race. She’s suffering from a bruised heel bone and will only be swimming & biking, with a friend doing the run for her.

Both a bit tired & groggy… but excited and ready to get on with the races at hand!!!
Swim, bike, run… swim, bike, run. The final two-thirds of my TRIPLE CHALLENGE!!!

Categories: bike, friends, special events, workout

Saturday was the first of three…
as Chris, Beckie and I tackled the Chicago Triathlon TRIPLE CHALLENGE
with a quick SuperSprint at Foster Beach.

And just for the record, this guy is not built for sprints!!! Just sayin’.