Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: food, Mom, platters, stamped, Taylor

It’s the end of the year and I’m busy making a big batch of chocolate chip cookies for tonight’s festivities. Reminiscing about yummy cookies… how my Mom used to bake them for my art fairs… how my niece Taylor has occasionally taken over “cookie duty”… and so many other end-of-the-year thoughts. Seems like the perfect time for cookies!

Categories: family, holiday, Mom

After a very hectic “pottery & holiday season,” I’m finally getting around to finishing up some of my own personal holiday fun! And I just love this gift that arrived from my cousin Michael & Anna in Minnesota… custom dish towels with two family recipes printed in them. I must admit I got a little choked-up when I saw my Mom’s perfect handwriting on one of them… and my Grandma Kitty’s on the other (my Mom’s mom). Such a thoughtful gift… THANK YOU Michael & Anna!!!

Now I feel like I might just need to make a Pineapple Coconut Sheet Cake!!!

Categories: art fair, artists, food, friends, Mom

After today’s art fair in Hinsdale, I had a nice dinner with my booth neighbor Rhonda. She contacted me on Friday and suggested we do dinner after the show… and went on to suggest we go to Jade Dragon for Chinese food. She knew that for years I would go there with my Mom & Dad after the show on Saturdays. She thought it would be a nice way to honor my Mom… and I got warm fuzzies! And then tonight we ordered all of the same foods that my Mom would have ordered. Such a nice evening with my very thoughtful friend Rhonda!

Categories: challenge, classes, holiday, Mom

Many years ago, I bought this cute ceramic snowman for my Mom while on a bike ride. At the time I had just started taking my Beginning Wheel class. Fast forward to now… where I now own this guy after downsizing my Dad’s place…. and teaching pottery classes! My Monday night class was looking for a fun “challenge” project… something holiday… and something fun! So this guy served as the prototype for our challenge. Where they’re all making their own snowman in their own style. Tonight is the last class of our Fall session… so it’s also the big “Snowman Reveal.” I can’t wait to see what they’ve all come up with!!!

Categories: animals, Mom

Hard to believe that it has already been two years today since my Mom passed away. And you know I don’t believe in all that “mumbo-jumbo hoodoo-voodoo” stuff. But… when a “sign” shows up and slaps you in the face… sometimes you take notice!

I was on my back porch this afternoon talking to my neighbors and Melanie asked how my Dad was doing these days. At that very moment, a hummingbird appeared flitting around my geraniums. It was the first hummingbird we’ve seen… and at the VERY moment Mel asked about my Dad?! Really???… c’mon Like my Mom was there telling us that everything was good… and that my Dad is doing great.

If that was a “sign”… I’ll take it!

Categories: family, holiday, Mom

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all the great Moms in the world…
to those still with us, and to those who are not.
Take time. Share stories. Make memories. Life is short.

Categories: food, Mom

While playing & biking in Elk Grove Village yesterday… how could I not stop by the best bakery ever?! I grew up with baked goods from Jarosch Bakery on a regular basis. So now it is such a TREAT to get out there to “treat myself” to a yummy childhood memory! It’s the same coffeecake my Mom would ALWAYS get us when she went there… a nice Mom memory.

And then I just realized… is it so bad that I did basically nothing all day today, and pretty much ate nothing but THIS!!!

Little sliver after little sliver… bite after bite… slice after slice… burp…

Categories: art fair, food, Mom

Sweet success at ART IN THE BARN today. Not only did we send a lot of pots off
to their new homes… but we had lots of cookies too!!!

My Mom used to bake cookies for every art fair. But now that she’s gone, a couple people made cookies for me in her honor! Special thanks to my niece Taylor, painter Cheryl & potter Patty for the extra “sweet” tribute to my Mom.



Categories: inspiration, Mom

RIP : TUESDAY, AUGUST 6th, 2019.
It was early on that Tuesday morning I was already at Lillstreet getting ready for my Summer Campers to arrive. My phone rang early and I saw that it was my Dad calling. He never calls in the morning. He’s more of a later in the evening phone call kind of guy. I immediately had the sinking feeling that I knew what the call was going to be. The phone call we had all been waiting for. The phone call we had all been dreading. The inevitable phone call to let me know tat Mom had passed.

I stepped outside to take the phone call from the privacy of my car. I knew I didn’t want to hear “the news” with everyone around. And yes, it was the news we had all been expecting… that my Mom had passed early that morning. Quiet. Serene. Just as we would have wanted it to be. I asked my Dad if he needed me to do anything. To find a quick sub for camp… to leave Lillstreet and come out to their house… stuff like that. He said “no” that he was okay, and oddly relieved, and that my sister & brother were coming over to help out with everything. He said I should continue my day at Summer Camp as best I could.

And then… as I was walking back into Lillstreet, right there on the corner of Lillstreet there was a single stalk of milkweed with the tiniest of baby birds there chirping & chirping like crazy. Just a baby bird that had lost his Mom.

Now I know the feeling.
And it was a little too coincidental… a little too ironic.

Another sign from Mom… I got it. Slapped upside the head one more time!!!

baby bird without his Mom


Categories: food, inspiration, Mom

A few weeks back I had received some fresh-grown rhubarb from my friends down in Peoria. I intended to make a yummy sheet dessert that my Mom used to make with it. Kind of a shortbread crust, custard filling and rhubarb baked into the top. I looked all over for the recipe, but couldn’t find it. So I put the rhubarb in the freezer… hoping to find the recipe when I got back from vacation.

As we were driving, somewhere in the middle of nowhere, I told Chris the same story about Mom’s recipe… as we had many touching discussions about my Mom and her situation during our drive. I had kind of forgotten about those discussions, and that rhubarb recipe, until we stopped off in Amish-land Indiana. As were were looking around to buy a yummy pie for me to share with my pottery class that night.

And there it was…. an Amish pie version of the exact same rhubarb dessert I had been telling Chris all about. The same recipe I had been searching for. Done. Made. And ready for us to eat. Another “sweet” sign from Mom?! I think so.