Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: masks, summer camp, terra cotta

My summer campers this week are focused on sculptures… with a bit of art history along the way. Monday they made terra cotta masks painted with colored low-fire glazes. ADORABLE!!! For now they’re painted, drying and most likely in a kiln… the kids will get their masks back on Friday!!!

Categories: kiln firing, masks, soda-fired

Two wall masks “snuck” their way into my soda kiln. They were a last minute RUSH project. Pushing my luck by making them fresh last Tuesday night before class. And then putting them right into a bisque at the end of that same class!!! More than a little damp still, but they survived. Glazed them and loaded them Friday. Soda-fired Saturday. Out of the kiln Monday night – less than a week from start to finish!!! Whew… and not suggested. Here’s a quick glimpse of them “before” as they were loaded into the soda kiln, and then “after” the soda firing. Just in time for the Holiday Home Show this weekend.

Categories: art fair, flowers, garden, masks, tiles

It was a beautiful setting in Amy Taylor’s backyard for the first “Art In The Garden”. Five artists sharing their art… only to be upstaged by Mother Nature herself with some of her beautiful handwork. Whether is was her beautiful flowers, the striking clouds or the shadows they provided… it was a wonderful weekend in the garden!!!

Categories: creativity, holiday, masks

One of my customers “found” Santa in his house and decided to send my a quick picture of him. A festive red hat with some white fur lining can make one of my ceramic masks look jollier than ever! Thank you George for sharing your holiday spirit with me!

Categories: masks

Another ceramic mask just found a good home…
“New addition to our art collection. At first it was going to hang on our oak tree out back. But for now it has a home between the family room and dining area.”
Thanks Don!!!

Categories: lillstreet, masks, summer camp

Back to camp, and a room full of fun, creativity, craziness & energy.
This week I have fourteen campers focusing all week on “all things animals.”
Today we got to know each other and then set out to make clay animal masks.
This being our only “clay” day, they all had to finish our terra cotta masks, paint
them with underglaze and set them to drying overnight. Tomorrow we’ll put on a
layer of clear glaze… and then head out for a fun-filled day at Lincoln Park Zoo!!!

So first I did a little “clay basics bootcamp” discussing some of the basic skills &
techniques they all need to do. And the huge importance of scoring & slipping.
Or “scratch & attach” as I sometimes call it with the kids. Plus slabs, coils, air bubbles,
and all of the other important things to the success of their project. And the fun began!

Once we had the basic creatures assembled… then we added
color underglazes to bring them to life!

Categories: masks, pottery

With all of the shelves quickly filling up, I needed to move to the walls for more space
for my Holiday Home Show. What with a hundred mugs and all…

So the new collection of ceramic masks is now hanging on my living room wall.
They’re all high-fire, soda-fired stoneware – so they’re good for indoors or outdoors!
They all make me smile… especially the ones with horns. But there are a couple with
ears instead of horns… as suggested by Sheila!

Categories: holiday, masks, production

Technical difficulties resolved… and now retroactively catching up!

So I spent my Halloween evening making clay masks… not wearing one!
After a day of designing & ordering, and updating mail lists – I needed to touch clay!

Categories: masks, summer camp

Well, the week has ended and therefore so has my week of “Wild Things.”
And today was a big day for the campers as we finish the week & their projects.
The day started with them getting the masks that they made on Monday back from
the kiln. As expected… the masks were all adorable! Including Jasmine’s panda,
Sarah’s T-Rex, Shane’s dog, Trudy’s buffalo, Yulia’s cat… and my demo bird!

Then the kids worked to finish their animal sculptures by painting on the details
with acrylic paint. It’s always amazing to me how their “vision” comes together -
as they always seem to “have a plan” for their sculptures… and what I was “questioning”
before suddenly makes sense as they paint on the details. They’re amazing!

Categories: friends, masks

Over the years I have kept in touch with my very first “art fair friends.”
Rosene & Gerry were the “lucky” folks who were placed across the aisle from me
at my very first art fair (and I use that term loosely…) out in Sandwich, Illinois.
They were incredibly encouraging & supportive… and even tough they’ve
retired from the “art fair circuit”… they are still incredibly encouraging!

Over the years, they have “accumulated” quite a collection of my work.
Some purchased, some gifted, some traded, some made just for them!!!
One such piece is a special Green Man mask that I made for Gerry. He had
dropped “hints” several times… and I finally surprised him with it as a
special surprise Christmas gift.

So I just got a couple photos from them… which made me laugh…
of their  “playful” little grandchildren playing in the garden…