Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: holiday, nature, textures

A little fortune cookie Scavenger Hunt at Illinois Beach State Park!
Handmade ceramic fortune cookies… textured, patterned, stained…
oh, and they rattle too!!!

So here we go… a few visual “clues” to help people find the hidden fortune cookies! Remember, there are twenty-three ceramic fortune cookies hidden throughout Illinois Beach State Park… both North & South Units. Kind of my way to share some “good fortune” for the New Year!

I hid them yesterday… so go get ’em!!!

Of course I’m not going to make it easy for you…
so these little “clues” may or may not help?! Plus, the photos are in no particular order! All part of the game… and FUN for me!!!

And a good thing I brought a couple extra fortune cookies with me…

I found this great piece of driftwood and thought that this would be a perfect place to stash a fortune cookie. When I set the fortune cookie into the hole on the top, it seemed a little wobbly. So I pushed it a bit further back… and it fell right in! ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE BOTTOM!!! I could hear it tumbling down inside… like through a “tube” down the center of the log! Never to be found until this piece of drift wood rots away! Whoops!

Categories: holiday, nature

Continuing a new New Year’s tradition…

I started this little tradition of mine two years ago during the Covid-19 Lockdown. Remember when there were to parties, no get-togethers, no way to safely celebrate the New Year! During the lockdown, I started exploring some of the Illinois State Parks by myself… safely “quarantining” by myself enjoying the outdoor air. What could be safer?

And then to “celebrate” the 2021 New Year… after a long drawn-out, Covid-filled 2020… I decided to “celebrate” by hiding 21 handmade ceramic fortune cookies for people to find out in a State Park. Then I did it again… with 22 fortune cookies for 2022!

Well, today was the day… bringing in the New Year!!!
23 clay fortune cookies for 2023!!!
Hidden out in a state park for people to find!
Happy New Year… happy adventures… happy searching…

Categories: nature

Kicking off the New Year in nature…
Yesterday I took the day off to spend New Year’s Day hiking through the Illinois Beach State Park. A beautiful lakefront park just north of Waukegan, A “treasure: that I found during my Covid quarantine a couple years ago. I had never heard of it before… and apparently very few other people have either! It’s always so unpopulated with people. You can hike for hours and barely run across more than a handful of people out there. Wonderful!

Yesterday was a bit cloudy & overcast, but still a beautiful day to hike around the park. As the name implies, Illinois Beach State Park has a lot of beachfront area. A lot of sand dunes & driftwood. A lot of open prairie grass areas away from the lake. And a lot of swales… yes, I learned what a “swale” was yesterday!!!

New this year, there was no snow & ice formations! Prior years I was up there during Winter marveling over the frozen spectacle, icicles & glaciers all over the lake. So this time, it seemed a lot more like a Fall day that Winter!

Quite a few “tee-pee” structures have also popped-up along the lakefront. This was the largest of them… kind of a structure built out of driftwood logs. Very cool, all uninhabited… but from the looks of some of them, there have been people inside them… some even had brick fire rings inside!

This was a cool stick I found on the beach… literally covered with shells. Like barnacles on a ship!

And a couple more “tee-pee” structures along the beach. Kinda wonder how long they’ve been here?!

Cattails look like they’ve weathered the storm!

Always fun to see some stacked rocks along the beach. I found this grouping in the South Unit. Already stacked by a cute young family… the kids were so excited about their creations as they posed for photos!

Loving the lichens!

Categories: nature

After another trip to the “pottery” Post Office, it seemed like the perfect chance for a beautiful morning stroll through the snow-dusted park! And then it’s back to work…

Categories: nature, seasons, weather

A bit rainy & slushy today… but not too much accumulation in the City. So does this still count as our first official snowfall of the season???

Categories: flowers, nature, seasons

Hanging on… a couple bright spots this morning! There’s still a few flowers blooming out there, but you’ve gotta look for them!!! The sunflower’s loving a bit of sunshine… but the dandelion seems a bit confused? What season is this again???

Categories: nature

More fall colored maple leaves…
catching the sun & making shadows earlier this morning.

Categories: nature, seasons

As I’m trudging up & down the stairs ALL DAY today… I was struck by the piles of dried fall leaves that have collected on the steps. Beautiful. I’m spending today carrying all of my art fair shelving & all of my pottery up three flights of stairs getting ready for next weekend’s HOLIDAY HOME SHOW. It’s great workout… and it’s all coming together!

Categories: color, nature, seasons

After a blustery day yesterday, there are a LOT of leaves scattered about. Fall has apparently FALLEN!!! Luckily, these golden solomon’s seal leaves are still hanging on!

Categories: garden, nature

I’ve always loved sumac bushes… the shapes of the leaves, the structure of the bushes, and most importantly the wonderful color they turn in the Fall. Like this little sumac growing in my front yard!