Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
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.


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!


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.”


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?!!!




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!!!


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???


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!!!

We all had a great time at your party… it was a wonderful idea to party with fire!!!!