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

As we were standing on the rooftop deck out side of our Lake Placid room, we could look out over Mirror Lake and see where the IRONMAN swim course was already set-up. As Chris and I were looking at the water, we were suddenly impressed by a full rainbow that stretched over the lake.

It wasn’t until later that evening that I called my sister Jen to check-in for any updates on my Mom’s situation. I was aware that this was going to be a tough day for my Dad & family… as they were having a “final” discussion with the medical doctors, and deciding to move onto the hospice phase of her care. It was a tough decision for all of us. Yet we were all sadly aware that there was no more hope for recovery or any sort of “quality of life” left for my Mom. We were responsible for seeing to her final wishes.

As I was talking to my sister on the phone, she told me all about the meeting, the doctors, the choices, and the decision agreed on by all to move forward with hospice care. She then asked me about my trip to see how it was going, and to make sure we made it there okay. I told her about our “accidental trip” into Canada, and then told her about our hotel room and the rainbow over Mirror Lake.

She stopped me right there. The mention of the rainbow stopped the story.
She told me that during the meeting with the doctors, they offered up three different hospice care companies. My sister & brother researched each of them, checked locations & services, and finally chose the one that best fit our needs & wishes.

The name of the company?…    RAINBOW HOSPICE.

Yep, chills went through me too!
Like this isn’t a “sign” from my Mom???… saying that she’s okay with the choice???…
and that she is wishing me well in my upcoming swim?! I mean seriously?!

Could she make it any more obvious?!!!
Slapped right upside the head. “Hey look at me… and my rainbow!!!”



Categories: classes, food, inspiration

Last night in my pottery class, my students rallied with a LOT of sweetness…
both with a sweet sympathy condolence card and a LOT of OREOs to sweeten the sorrow.

Categories: family, food, inspiration, Taylor

My Mom was known for always having homemade chocolate chip cookies for family functions… and she frequently made them for my art fairs for my “groupies” & shoppers to enjoy. Many people would look for my Mom and that tin of cookies before even noticing the pottery on my display shelves!


So, my niece Taylor decided that she would honor her Grandma with a tribute by baking the same chocolate chip cookies for tonight’s visitation service. This way all of the guests can enjoy another cookie.

Strange notes… they ended up with 316 cookies. Taylor’s birthday is 3/16.
As well as 3:16 being the most commonly quoted bible verse.
Coincidence or some crazy master plan?!



Categories: inspiration

Even today’s Summer Camp tie-dye shirt is a bit more solemn than usual…

Categories: inspiration, textures

Almost as cool as rusty metal… crusty old weathered barn board is pretty amazing too.
The way the wood withers away, the knots are revealed, and the paint flakes off.
Wonderfully weathered textures! So cool.

Categories: Chicago, inspiration, rusty

Quick sights at the Montrose “L” stop yesterday as I was headed downtown for the ONE OF A KIND SHOW. Love the geometry, the typography, the rusty metal and all things industrial.

And a little “leftovers” from yesterday’s snow fall…

Categories: friends, inspiration

After a couple days in Minneapolis surrounded by all that darn NCECA going on.. Ha!… it felt great to get away to continue my long weekend away from home. So I hopped in the car and followed some friends on the expressway as we crossed into the middle of nowhere Western Wisconsin. A beautiful drive as we had gorgeous blue skies once again. Shockingly great weather for the weekend as Minneapolis had just gotten snow & freezing weather just a few days prior!

Random side note… apparently a tornado had gone through this area awhile ago,
and that is why these trees are “shaved off” along the top!

We eventually got to the farm… after a pretty yummy lunch with an “award-winning” burger along the way! And yes, it was indeed yummy so I can totally understand where the AWARD would have come from!!!

It was great to tour the farm as she has been renovating much of it to become her new pottery studio. Her work space, kilns and retail showroom would be on the first floor. But it’s the second floor that takes your breath away!!! You walk up the stairs…. and the vaulted ceiling just opens up and shows off the amazing wooden ceiling craftsmanship! Her plan is to open this space up for other artists to stop by, stay for awhile and share their creative energies as a sort of “resort-creative-getaway kind of place”!     And I’m in!!!!

I also love all things “farm”… lots of old pieces with great history,
lots of rusty metal, lots of grounded reality!

But it’s not just the barn that’s so impressive… it’s also her cozy country farm house!
I always LOVE seeing where artists live, and how they decorate their spaces, what they collect, and how they show up as artists in every part of their place. Great fun seeing all of her collections & personal treasures… many of them with a touching family memories still attached.

Huge thanks to Delores for opening her home… and her farm... to me for the weekend! So much fun to spend time with good friends like Delores, Roberta & Yuki… discussing & solving all of the problems of the pottery world… just chatting… and maybe a little gossip. And a great way to cap-off my NCECA weekend!


Categories: creativity, inspiration, lillstreet

So fun to see some of the LILLSTREET THROWDOWN projects coming out of the kiln… like this incredible “creamer” from the Beatles Sugar & Creamer challenge! Well done Jon!!!… everyone needs an adorable yellow submarine in their life!


Categories: friends, inspiration, mugs, soda-fired, stamped

HAPPY MUGSHOT MONDAY… with another fun surprise
seeing one of my stamped mugs featured in a friend’s Instagram Story!
Thanks Allison for sharing YOUR good energy!!!

Categories: classes, creativity, inspiration

After last week’s POTTERY THROWDOWN class where they decorated tiles and a cylinder using that one tool… their “homework” was to throw another cylinder at least 9-inches tall… and then decorate that new one with that same one tool. Looking to see how the design transformed from the two-dimensional tile, to a smaller cylinder… and then even larger where there was even more “canvas” to decorate. This time, they had to use THAT ONE TOOL as their primary decorating tool, but they could also embellish with other surface decoration techniques as well.

Unfortunately… Teresa, Jon & Patti missed the class the week before…
so they didn’t have a tile or a cylinder to work from.
All they had was their homework assignment… and ONE TOOL.




And now back to the original challenge… with tiles, cylinders and their new vases!








And now our TOP TWO WINNERS…

Ryan who carved out all of the areas with the dull metal part that was inside his tool.. and then applied each cut-out to the vase to make it even more dimensional.

Donna who started with a simple heart design on her nine tiles, then extrapolated one tile of the heart into the five dots and one hexagon for the cylinder… and then came back and combined them all back together for her heart-themed vase… still with the dots and hexagons!