Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: photography, sunrise
Categories: bike, sunrise

A brief moment of sunrise beauty this morning before the gray clouds took over…
and then back to pedaling into the wind.

And did I mention clouds?… did I mention gray?…

Categories: creativity, nature

After a lot of old pots… the end of the China exhibit has these great stone “sculptures.” Crazy to believe that these wonderful pieces were created by erosion over millions of years.

Categories: clay, inspiration, pottery

After The Greeks, I was tap dancing on being visually overstimulated… but not quite.
So I continued my tour of old pots in the China Exhibit. And again, I was impressed by the pots in the exhibit… keeping in mind how old these pots are. Taken out of context of the museum exhibit, I think you could find most of these forms at any art fair nowadays!

A beautiful celadon teapot…

And a few examples of early sgrafitto… in graphic black & white…

And again, saved my favorite for last… love the pattern, the design, the colors…
and the “rusty-ness” look of it.

Categories: inspiration

So Nancy and I finally made it to The Greeks exhibit… after a not-so-quick lunch and fun conversation. The Greeks exhibit is set up chronologically. So it starts “in the beginning” way, way, way back before time. Seemingly forever ago. But it was interesting to see when the potter’s wheel was “introduced” to the world. And for the record, we found it interesting to see that not much has changed to the kick-wheel design!!! But look at that date… WOW!!!

The exhibit is pretty amazing. So many artifacts and remnants. But what REALLY caught my attention were these adorable little boys and their sketch books. Turned out to be an entire family spending the day with The Greeks. The boys were adorable, with Dad hovering but never getting in their way, and SO into their sketch books. They were drawing pictures of the artifacts and labeling them with words from the displays. The little guys were adorable… sketch books, LED light-up sneakers and a fidgety little sister sitting on the bench with Mom.

Okay, enough about the kids... now onto the POTS!!!
Sure there were weapons, buttons, adornments, sculptures and more.  Yet not surprisingly, I focused primarily on the pots. Considering how long ago they were created, it’s kind of amazing how great they still look. Sure, there has been some “refurbishing” along the way, but really. Beautifully formed, beautifully decorated, and really with very few tools. And given the test of time, these pots still stand up really well.

Love the surface decoration… the swirls, the colors…
Keep in mind they had no “real” glazes or chemicals.
Just things they dug up, ground up or found.

Beautiful brushwork & design…

A quick diversion…. made me laugh... and then back to the pots…

And then as we made it further down the chronology, we finally made it to the Grecian Urns that most people are familiar with. Gotta love the designs, the brushwork and graphic color contrasts.

And of course, I saved my favorite for last…

Categories: architecture, Chicago

Last Saturday, I went to the Field Museum of Natural History with my friend Nancy. We went with the intention of seeing the current special exhibit “The Greeks : Agamemnon to Alexander The Great.” But it’s such a beautiful museum that it is hard not to get distracted by the grandeur, architecture… and the salted caramel brownies in the Café.

The entrance on the south end of the museum has wonderful marble columns & ornamentation. The huge doorway has turned a beautiful green patina over the years.

Inside Stanley Field Hall, the vaulted ceiling adds to the magnificence and grandeur.

And with so many antiquities everywhere, it’s tough to stay focused. So just wander…
there’s SO MUCH to see in every part of the Museum.

Categories: friends

Look what showed up in the mail. Apparently my friend Sarah Chapman knows me pretty darn well… and my biking addiction, penchant for color-coding and love of office products!!!

Categories: artists, bowls, clay

My friend Nancy had an opening tonight in the gallery of ClaySpace in Lisle, Illinois.
“A Feast of Bowls”... just bowls, nothing else. But bowls of all sizes & uses.

It was several years ago that Nancy and I were on a bike ride in southern Indiana when we stopped for lunch. While walking around Nashville, Indiana we stumbled upon a small potter’s studio. It was then that Nancy suggested we take a pottery class. She did the research and found Lillstreet Art Center in Chicago. We both took our Beginning Wheelthrowing class… and have never looked back. So it’s all HER fault that I now have this crazy clay addiction!!!

Anyway, enough about me… Nancy took some time off from clay to get married, have a kid and move to the suburbs. But is now back in full swing as a Resident Artist at ClaySpace in Lisle. It was fun to go out there tonight to support a good friend, see her beautiful bowls and explore another ceramic studio space.

“A Feast Of Bowls” runs through the end of the month if need a new bowl or two!

Click here for more of Nancy’s pottery.

Categories: ornaments

So the other day I got a sheep in the mail… kinda sounds like the set-up of a good joke, right? But no, really. One of my Facebook Fans sent me one of her handmade ornaments in the mail. Beautifully made with detailed textures on both sides. Thank you Debbie… it’s almost like you’re part of our Monthly Holiday Ornament Challenge???

Categories: bowls, stamped

The bowls from Tuesday night’s class demo have been under plastic wrap. And they’ve stiffened up to a good “wetter-side-of-leatherhard” stage. So I went through the bowls and did some stamping, accenting & detailing. Each one a little better than it was before…. and one step closer to be being done!

Bowl with a wide flange… now with a line of small stamps.

Bowl with the flower remark in the bottom from the dragonscale tool…
now with a scalloped edge done with a wooden tool

Bowl with a split rim and undulating curves.. now with a couple stamps & “beads” on the pinch points.

Bowl with chattered pattern through white slip… now with a “corded” rope rim.

Bowl ombre slip and concentric circles… now with a stamped rim to accentuate the circle in the bottom. And a few white dots to push it even a little further!

Bowl with a flared flange and fluted rim…. now with a row of stamps.

Bowl with “finger-squiggled” slip patterns… now with a textured rim made with a wooden tool.

Bowl with a flared flange… now with a row of stamps.

Bowl with banded & drawn-through white slip… now with a corded rim texture made with a bamboo skewer.

Bowl with a rolled-over hollow rim .. now stamped, and then “dented” with a square chopstick.

So now they’re all back under plastic for the night. Waiting for them to dry a bit more… so that I can hopefully trim them tomorrow.