Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: stamped, totem pole

Tonight I painted all of the parts & pieces with a few different colored flashing slips. It will be fun to see how the colors interact with the soda-firing atmosphere in the kiln. Creating cool flashing marks on the pieces… adding a bit of “random” to my kinda obsessive control issues while stamping! Ha!!!

Categories: stamped, stamps, textures, totem pole

Stamping just one cylinder is fun, but stamping a whole table full of them is AMAZING!!! So much fun seeing these pieces transform with new textures & patterns!

Categories: pottery, totem pole, wheelthrowing

So after playing hooky all day on my bike while it was gorgeous outside…
I finally made it into the studio for a very productive evening!
Throwing LOTS of parts & pieces for another big project!

Categories: friends, nature, totem pole

After a “sweet” stop in Eureka on Friday, I continued on to see my very first art fair friends in Peoria. They’ve been “locked-down” with a tight quarantine and definitely needed a virtual hug! They’ve had a tough go… remember they’re the ones who have a gorgeous garden… now with a huge tree that fell down in the middle of it all. And if you look close… you might just see my ceramic totem pole that was in the way!

Luckily, they’re going to get a new one!!!…
totem pole that is, not another fallen giant tree!

Categories: friends, garden, totem pole

So it was a tough day down in Peoria for some good friends of mine when the gusty winds blew through last Sunday! They have an amazing terraced backyard garden with large trees, tons of hostas & flowers, and a LOT of rustic decorative accents all over the place… even a ceramic totem pole made by “you-know-who”!

Well… after the gusty winds…
they now have a few less trees and one less totem pole!!!

Yes, the storm took out one of their largest trees, which in turn took out portions of other trees… and totally smashed my TOTEM POLE!!!

But like I tell my students… “It’s just clay!”

I was just happy that the tree fell where it did… damaging the trees & totem… and NOT my friends or their house! Could have been so much worse… luckily, they had a beautiful green bowl of chocolate to help with the aftermath… also made by “you-know-who”!

Categories: flowers, friends, garden, totem pole

This past weekend was a great chance to get away for a few days…
not too far, but far enough.

So much fun to visit my “first art fair friends” and their amazing garden
in Peoria ablaze with Spring colors!

Oh, and look… a ceramic totem pole in their terraced backyard garden!
Wonder how THAT got there???



Categories: totem pole

So the students in the  the Montessori School of Lake Forest, Adolescent Program have been working hard on their totem pole. My friend Claire has been working with them to create their final masterpiece. They’ve used my blog as inspiration & reference as I’ve made a few totems in my day. So I was excited when Claire contacted me to tell me about their project. And now they’re in the final stretch. And plans are in the works for the installation of their totem.

It was a rather dreary day when they assembled their totems. First with a rebar pole down the center, then stacking and filling it up section by section.

At some point along the way, the people that purchased their totem decided they wanted three shorter totems instead of the one tall one. Of course I would prefer the  one tall one, but that’s just me. And since the kids had planned on just one totem, they had made just one topper. So now they need three!!! Unfortunately, the additional toppers can’t be made “immediately” so they decided to top them off with blue potter’s buckets. Safe keeping to protect them from filling with water. When the final topper pieces are built and fired, they will finish them off… and hopefully send me more pictures!!!

So for now their totems are “done.” Standing proud.  And they look amazing!
Congratulations to Claire and all of the adolescents who took part in this special project.
Thanks for sharing your totem pole adventure with me! I can’t wait to see the finished totems!



Categories: terra cotta, totem pole

My friend Claire works with a great group at a local Montessori School. Her students decided to build a totem pole for their auction project. Claire saw one of the totem poles my Summer Camp kids made a few years back… so she’s been using my blog as a reference for her totem pole project. I can’t wait to see the final results by the students at the Montessori School of Lake Forest, Adolescent Program. Their slab-built sections look great so far… even better when they’re glazed, fired and stacked!!!

Slab-built terra cotta sections… rolled into a hollow cylinder with a slab base. Each section will eventually be stacked into the finished totem pole.

To see more about my own totem pole adventures, click on the “totem pole” category in the column to the right.

Categories: garden, My Talented Friends, totem pole

With such a beautiful garden… it always seemed like the perfect place for one of my soda-fired totem poles. It has been neatly tucked into their garden for a few years now. I love seeing it every time I go down for a visit. Quite the honor to be “featured” in their award-winning garden!!!

As you go down the terraces, and turn a few corners, the path begins to reveal the totem pole.

Perched on the side of the slope, surrounded by ferns & hosts.

Categories: garden, totem pole

It may be freezing here in Chicago, but it’s never to soon
to start dreaming about Spring, gardens and totem poles!!!