Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: friends, inspiration, special events

So I’ve been planning on this for awhile…
And I’ve been wearing my IRONMAN wristband ever since the race.
It’s all faded… and wrinle… and I’d swear it was getting smaller too?
But I’ve worn it proudly everyday since the race. Until today…

I’ve been considering this for quite a long time. I’m not the type to rush into something this permanent. I kinda knew I was going to do it all during my training, but never really admitted it outloud until after I had crossed the Finish Line. Like I didn’t want to jinx myself.

But, I did cross the Finish Line…. and I’ve been planning this ever since. I knew I was going to get my well-earned IRONMAN tattoo!!! But then the question was what to get? Where? What? How big? So I narrowed it down to four choices. And printed them out in six different sizes each. And then I would cut them out and tape onto my body… walk around and look at them in the mirror. One design here. One design there. Narrowing it down. Design. Placement. Size. Because yes, I am a dork.

And then I was ready. So I called my friend Chris to see if she would go with me, and if she had a tatoo artist recommendation. As my IRONMAN Sherpa and longtime biking buddy, of course she was right there for me!!! She mad all the arrangements and we went today to get some ink. And before I knew it I was on the table getting the stencil applied.

I showed Chris and the tattoo guy what I was thinking in terms of design, size and location. I decided to go with the traditional IRONMAN m-dot logo. Thinking I could always add more to it later if I ever needed to. But I thought I should start with the classic logo. I was kinda torn between calf muscle or side of ankle. We talked about it, he say my calf muscles and he said the decision was made. That my calf was SCREAMING for the tattoo. And I had to agree. So I showed him the size I wanted… which they both thought was too small. I taped it on and showed them in the mirror. He made a stencil of a slightly larger one and put it in the same place. And they were right. It looked so nice & proportional to my leg. Whereas my little one looked too small by comparison. He thought it should be centered on the back of my leg, but I thought it should be centered on the muscle itself. We moved it a bit and they both agreed. So there we were. Stencil ready…. time to go under the needle!

So I hopped back on the table as the buzzing of the tattoo machine began…
constant humming…. buzzing… building up the anxiety before it even begins…

First the outline in black…

And then the red fill-in…

And before I knew it, he was wiping me clean… and we were done!!!
Let me just say for the record… it didn’t hurt nearly as much as I expected it to.

And then I was wrapped up with some sort of clear “bandage” sealant material. Keep it on for like three days, then take it off carefully. Keep it clean with antibacterial soap and ointment. We’re going into New Year’s Eve festivities…. so I’ll keep the band-aid on and take it off when things settle down for the New Year!

Goodbye wristband. Hello IRONMAN tattoo!!!

And then Chris got a triathlon inspired tattoo bracelet “just ‘cuz” we were there…
I’m sure we’ll be back next Fall after Chris completes her IRONMAN in September 2017.



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…




Categories: friends, holiday, My Talented Friends, ornaments

We’re inching ever closer to Christmas… days away now…
and we’ve finalluy made it to the end of the Monthly Holiday Ornament Challenge.
The plan was for each of us to make a new ornament each month of the year. And we’ve finally done it. Four of My Talented Friends joining me for a year of holiday ornaments… and crossing the Finish Line with another festive batch of ornaments!!!

My Talented Friend : Cory McCrory
Cory’s ornaments for December are literally “out of this World!!!” Cory’s last entry in this year’s holiday ornament challenge is a collection of spaceships fresh out of a B-Movie!!! Charming. Adorable. Like they’re straight out of Flash Gordon!

And a splash of color like they’re flying through the Galaxy!

My Talented Friend : Sarah Chapman
Sarah went with a hydraulic pressed copper puff reminiscent of a pear!
Almost a partridge in a pear tree?!?

My Talented Friend : Roberta Polfus
Roberta decided to ring in the New Year this season with festive Christmas bells.
Each a small, hand-carved porcelain bell… ready to grant some angel their wings!

My Talented Friend : Amy Taylor
Amy went sterling again this month with three curvy & hinged pendants each with a sterling silver bezel. Beautiful scrolls dangling from your Christmas tree… or on a chain around your neck? Or the perfect gift for that special someone… maybe even YOU!

My Talented Friend :oh wait, it’s ME again!!!
My December ornaments kind of went on a “journey ” this month. Each month we tried to come up with ONE idea for one ornament. But somehow, with this being the final month of the challenge, I had trouble narrowing it down to one. First I started with a large snowflake. This was the first prototype. My plan was to do large textured snowflakes (surprising, huh?) but it seemed heavier than I wanted it to be. I still like the idea… but maybe I’ll try again next year!

Next I decided to try out a new snowflake stamp on a concave disk…
but I kind of felt like I’ve done this “trick” before. Different stamp. Different size.
Still too similar.

And then I saw these wonderful stylized peacocks in a window display in Dallas
and they’ve been stuck in my head ever since.

So I went back to my high “quilling” days… and created stylized peacock feathers.
Or maybe too much like a pinched cinnamon roll? Not quite sure how these might be glazed? Another challenge I’ll put off for the New Year.

So I finally landed on some colorful fish for my final ornament.
Each one has stamped “scales” and colored fins, head & tail. I made them out of terra cotta
so I could get them single-fired in time for Christmas. As you may recall, I like to dry thin
flat pieces on plastic grid to help avoid warping.

And then a quick coat of clear glaze sprayed on… and yes,
this odd green color will fire to be a shiny clear!

I kind of loved the residue left on my banding wheel after spraying the fish
while sitting on the plastic grid.

A quick cone 06 firing and we have a shiny school of Christmas fish!

So there they are… December ornaments from My Talented Friends
Cory, Sarah, Roberta & Amy. Amazing how the year has come and gone so quickly.
Twelve months of holiday ornaments. And how we’re all wishing you a very
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!








Categories: artists, friends

One of my favorite birdhouses enjoying a snowy day. This one is on my back porch. It’s one of many in my collection… all handmade by my very first art fair friends Gerry & Rosene!!!

Categories: bowls, friends

You know how I love seeing my pottery being used in people’s homes.
However, this is a new one!!!

My friend Chris bought a spoon rest as a new “food bowl” for her pet Bearded Dragon. Apparently he loves the color & stamped textures!


Categories: artists, friends, My Talented Friends, ornaments

We’re inching ever closer to Christmas… November’s gone… and here’s another batch of holiday ornaments made by me & four of My Talented Friends.

Remember, we all signed-on for a Monthly Holiday Ornament Challenge almost a year ago. The plan was for each of us to make a new ornament each month of the year. We’ve finally made it through the eleventh month… only one more to go!!!

My Talented Friend : Cory McCrory
Cory decided to “top it off” this month with a whimsical top hat. Just like the one that blew off of Frosty’s head! And for size comparison, Cory’s friend decided to take it for a test drive! Looks like a match made in Heaven!!!

My Talented Friend : Sarah Chapman
Sarah’s gone a bit more organic this month! A beautiful, textured copper leaf with a fantastic torch-colored patina.

My Talented Friend : Roberta Polfus
Roberta decided to go Christmas thematic this month… but it looks like the partridge was too tough. Ha!! So she just went with the pears! Love the gentle curves and the natural pear coloring.

My Talented Friend : Amy Taylor
Amy’s entry for her November ornaments are these two glass bead pendants. Nifty hinged pendants with a sterling silver bezel.

My Talented Friend :oh wait, it’s ME again!!!
My November ornament is a textured scroll pattern with a gentle curve! They’re made with soda clay… and some of then have been painted with colored flashing slips. Looking forward to seeing how the soda firing process affects the colors & textures of the scrolls.

So I made the ornaments first and let them set-up a bit.
And then a quick layer of flashing slip…

And set to dry on my plastic grid racks…

So there they are… November ornaments from My Talented Friends Cory, Sarah, Roberta & Amy. Hard to believe we’re just one month away from finishing the year. Just one more batch of ornaments to go!!!

Be sure to check out everyone’s websites. They’re all in the LINKS section in the far right column. And they all have fun Facebook pages too. Find your favorites & follow them everywhere!






Categories: artists, friends, My Talented Friends

Another fun day down at “One Of A Kind” with the uber-talented Sarah Chapman. So many great pieces of oxidized sterling silver with textures, patterns and spots of gemstone colors!

To see more of Sarah’c amazing work, click here for her website.

Categories: artists, friends, My Talented Friends

Spent the day with “My Talented Friend” Sarah Chapman at the One Of A Kind Show today. Such beautiful pieces. Wonderful designs. Fun shadows. And Sarah is pretty darn sweet too! Stop by tomorrow to see Sarah, fondle her jewelry and maybe take home a piece or two! Booth #2118 on the seventh floor of the Merchandise Mart.

If you can’t make it tomorrow, visit Sarah’s website by clicking here.