Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
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!

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Categories: holiday, ornaments

Christmas is just a week away. And you know how much I LOVE making my wheelthrown holiday ornaments. Looks like I still have a “few” more to add to my tree!!!

Categories: art fair, holiday, ornaments

The Second Holiday Hone Show starts in a hour.
Anyone who comes to my condo today and shows me this INSTAGRAM photo
on their phone’s Instagram Feed gets a FREE Christmas Tree ornament!
Whoo-hoo… let the games begin!!!

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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!

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Categories: ornaments

Had a little extra time during the Lillstreet Holiday Opening to add some wires to another batch of ornaments. More ornaments finished off just in time for next Saturday’s “MUD & METAL” Holiday Home Show!

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Categories: artists, friends, My Talented Friends, ornaments, stamped

Hard to believe we’re just over a month away from Christmas!!!
How did THAT happen??? So now it doesn’t feel so weird making ornaments, huh?

So here’s another batch of holiday ornaments made by me & four of My Talented Friends.
Remember, we’ve all signed-on for a Monthly Holiday Ornament Challenge.
The plan is for each of us to make a new ornament each month of the year.

My Talented Friend : Cory McCrory
Cory has knocked it out of the park again this month!!! How cute are these little Elf Shoes?!!! Friggin’ adorable… that’s how cute! And you can bet they’re going to be even cooler after they are painted & glazed!


My Talented Friend : Sarah Chapman
Sarah’s gone with a twist this month! A lovely pierced spiral ornament in shiny brass.


My Talented Friend : Roberta Polfus
Roberta has stuck to her roots this month by making these flowering pod shapes that she’s known for. This time they’re a bit smaller than normal to make wonderful carved ornaments.

My Talented Friend : Amy Taylor
After a rough month in September, Amy returned to The Challenge with a vengeance. Simple, yet elegant. Beautiful sterling rings that will shimmer and shine on any holiday tree.


My Talented Friend :oh wait, it’s ME again!!!
My October ornament is pretty simple this month. I’ve been SO busy getting everything ready for my latest soda kiln. Not to mention raining & doing my first IRONMAN. Regardless… I made a lot of these textured heart ornaments to add to my “bargain box” of ornaments. They’re all textured, slip painted and ready for the soda kiln to work its magic!

So there they are… October ornaments from My Talented Friends Cory, Sarah, Roberta & Amy. 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!

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Categories: artists, friends, My Talented Friends, ornaments, production

Another apology for being delayed in posting again this month.
Life has just been slipping by… and some of us had an IRONMAN to tackle!!!
So now that that’s over… yay me!!!… it’s back to the studio. Back to ornaments!!!

Here’s another batch of holiday ornaments made by me & four of My Talented Friends.
Remember, we’ve all signed-on for a Monthly Holiday Ornament Challenge.
The plan is for each of us to make a new ornament each month of the year.

My Talented Friend : Cory McCrory
Cory made adorable little mittens! So cute with their little thumbs. Their little textures. Can’t wait to see the pairs of mittens colored & glazed in time for the holidays!


My Talented Friend : Sarah Chapman
Sarah’s has embraced Fall moving into the Minneapolis area. Her September ornament is a copper leaf… complete with veins & textures. When set amongst actual Fall leaves, they’re kind of hard to discern from the real things?!!! Nicely done Sarah!!!


My Talented Friend : Roberta Polfus
Roberta made these wonderful textured & carved porcelain pod-horns for September. I love the subtle textures and how the light & shadows play on them.

My Talented Friend : Amy Taylor
Uh oh… Amy had a rough go of it this month. Too many art fairs, commissions and other commitments keeping her too busy to make ornaments this month. So we’ll give her a “one-time pass”… and really expect great things, and great ornaments, for her October entry!!!

My Talented Friend :oh wait, it’s ME again!!!
My September ornaments are cute little Christmas presents with textured “gift wrap” and a fun little bow. I painted colored slip on the box so that there is some color contrast with the bow. The “presents” are destined for my next soda kiln – and I can’t wait to see how the flames created some wonderful flashings on my September ornaments.

So there they are… September ornaments from My Talented Friends Cory, Sarah, Roberta & whoops… NOT Amy this month?! Hopefully everyone’s schedule will settle down a bit and we can get everyone back on track with their October ornaments?!!!

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!

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Categories: ornaments

Another apology for being delayed in posting again this month.
Kinda scary how fast the year is passing by. We’ve all been so busy!!!
Busy in our studios making art. Busy at the weekend art fairs.

Here’s another batch of holiday ornaments made by me & four of My Talented Friends.
Remember, we’ve all signed-on for a Monthly Holiday Ornament Challenge.
The plan is for each of us to make a new ornament each month of the year.

My Talented Friend : Cory McCrory
Cory has had a hectic schedule. She recently married off her son, and became a grandmother by her eldest daughter. And yet she still had time to crank out these adorable little stars!

My Talented Friend : Sarah Chapman
Sarah’s had fun playing with copper wire this month. Twisting & turning. Forming this little Christmas tree out of hoops, rings & wires.

My Talented Friend : Roberta Polfus
Roberta created these wonderful “pod” ornaments by shaving & faceting the surface for these wonderful textures.

My Talented Friend : Amy Taylor
For August, Amy has sort of “cheated” and is offering up these collaboration pieces as her entry into the Ornament Challenge. We worked on these pieces together and they will “revealed” at ART IN THE GARDEN this weekend in Glenview. I made the textured clay cabachon discs, and Amy made the sterling silver cages that hold the discs. Not sure if these are really Christmas ornaments.. but more like “ornaments” for your neck!

My Talented Friend :oh wait, it’s ME again!!!
For August, I went with the traditional star ornament. And yet I gave them some texture and dimension. Each quadrant of the star was treated differently… some textured, some plain, some painted with flashing slips. They are destined for my next soda kiln – and I can’t wait to see how the flames created some wonderful flashings on these stars.

So there they are… August ornaments from My Talented Friends Cory, Sarah, Roberta & Amy. Hopefully everyone’s schedule will settle down a bit now that we;re headed into Fall.

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!

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Categories: artists, friends, ornaments

A quick apology for being so delayed in posting this one.
Kinda scary how fast the year is passing by. We’ve all been so busy!!!
Busy in our studios making art. Busy at the weekend art fairs… SUMMER CAMP!!!
And hopefully busy having more than a little fun playing this summer!

Here’s another batch of holiday ornaments made by me & four of My Talented Friends.
Remember, we’ve all signed-on for a Monthly Holiday Ornament Challenge.
The plan is for each of us to make a new ornament each month of the year.
And now we’re over half way done! Whew… 2016 is just flying by!!!

My Talented Friend : Cory McCrory
Cory has had an incredibly busy time this summer preparing for her son’s wedding…making vases & mini cups! Looks like that theme has continued with a few more mini cups to celebrate her Scandinavian heritage. A few tiny Glogg cups to hang on the tree... maybe after a few sips!

My Talented Friend : Sarah Chapman
Sarah’s ornament for July is a twisted take & fun with copper wire. For those who know Sarah’s jewelry line, this style of wrapped wire & twisted knots might be familiar. I’m thinking she might “need” to add these to her product line… maybe some large hoop earrings???


My Talented Friend : Roberta Polfus
Roberta is makes wonderful little teapots everyday in her normal work. Beautifully carved & sculptural mini-pots. Normally not this small… possibly the smallest tea set ever. The cutest cup of tea for your Christmas tree!

My Talented Friend : Amy Taylor
For July, Amy has been working on her “Heavenly Desserts” collection. They’re adorably whimsical… but now I kinda want the real treats too?! Especially the OREO’s!!!

My Talented Friend :oh wait, it’s ME again!!!
For July ornaments, I went with textured porcelain “icicles.” My plan is to fire them without glaze to keep them white… and then “maybe” paint one side of the spiral with a metallic silver paint, plus some ribbon to hang them from.

So there they are… July ornaments (a little bit late) of My Talented Friends Cory, Sarah, Roberta & Amy. Hopefully everyone’s schedule will settle down a bit in these last few days of summer. I know mine definitely will slow down a bit now that Summer Camp has finally come to an end.

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!

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Categories: artists, friends, My Talented Friends, ornaments, porcelain

We’ve been doing this Monthly Holiday Ornament Challenge for six months now. It’s a little tough for the ceramic folks to show finished pieces in a timely basis. What with needing to glaze and fill a kiln and all. So we frequently just show the greenware versions of the ornaments and hope that people can “visualize” the finished outcome. Well, Roberta has been busy glazing & finishing some of her ornaments from previous months. No more “guessing”…. now you can see the real thing. And how incredible they all look!!!

To see more of Roberta’s ceramic work, click here for her website.

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