Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: art fair, artists

One of the new artists joining us this year “in the garden” will be Kristin Gereau. I haven’t met her yet, but I’m definitely looking forward to seeing her and her wonderful knitted textiles. I love the color combinations, patterns and structural designs. And with this wave of unseasonably cool weather we’ve been having, I might just need a new scarf to stay warm in Amy’s backyard?!

For more information or images of Kristin’s work, click here for her website.

Click here for updates, photos and to follow “Art In The Garden” on Facebook.

Categories: art fair, artists

Another one of our Talented Friends is glass bead maker & metalsmith Donna Sauers. She’s been creating these wonderful “collections” of semi-precious gems and handblown glass beads for a few years. I was introduced to Donna through friends and now see her at many of the same art fairs I do through the summer. It’s exciting to have her “in the garden” with us this year. More time to play with Donna… and “fondle” her little treasures!

Beautiful glass beads in subtle color combinations & thoughtful designs.
Collections of textures, colors & shapes. Always fun to fidget with.

According to Donna…
“Creating the palettes and designs is where I believe my previous art background is a definite asset. My work table is covered with glass beads and gems. I approach my pieces as I would a painting combining different beads and elements to create depth and light. Each piece has a multitude of semi-precious gems that are wireworked throughout the piece to give it movement and interest.”

For more information & images of Donna’s beautiful work, click here for her website.

Click here for updates, photos and to follow “Art In The Garden” on Facebook.

Categories: art fair, artists, friends, My Talented Friends

One of my best friends in the ceramic world, and an occasional partner-in-crime, Cory McCrory is definitely one of My Talented Feriends. We’ve been buddies for several years now having met during the Hinsdale Fine Arts Festival. Our booths were an aisle away, but close enough to see the wonders she was hawking. And I fell victim $$$… repeatedly!!! I now have more Cory McCrory pieces than I need… and have quite the “collection” set up at my place. Some have even referred to it as the Cory McCrory Shrine. And here’s why… her work is incredible, always with a wonderful sense of whimsy, a little off-center, with colors, textures and patterns… and SHE’s great too!!!

Last year we worked on some collaboration pieces for “Art In The Garden.”
And there’s a good chance it may happen again… hint, hint…

According to Cory…
It comes from the everyday. How little control we have over life and the way we deal with its challenges.  In my pots I try to poke a little fun, while where it comes from can be very deep and thought provoking. My work is made with paper stoneware, multi-fired oxidation to cone 7. I use slips, underglazes, terrasig and glaze.  I prefer a brown stoneware over white clays as I feel it better represents my subject. The beauty of a handmade pot is in the sensory driven exchange a person can have with it. It pleases me to make you smile.”

For more details or to see more of Cory’s whimsical work, click here for her website.

And a quick shot of one of my favorites… notice I said MINE!!!
Yep, this beauty is part of my own Cory McCrory Collection. So needless to say, this specific teapot will not be for sale at the show, but she might have others similar if you’re as lucky as me!!!

Click here for updates, photos and to follow “Art In The Garden” on Facebook.

Categories: art fair, artists, My Talented Friends

The mastermind and gracious host for our Grassroots Art Fair is my friend Amy Taylor. I’ve known Amy for several years and have quite the collection of her pieces that I wear on a regular basis. You may have met her already on the art fair circuit… or as a Guest Artist at one of my December Holiday Home Shows. Her work is simple & clean, well-designed.. and often with a sense of whimsy! She has a tendency to work with some unique materials which I LOVE!!! I have two necklaces that are made out of vintage bowling balls. I have another one that is made out of the layers of old paint scraped off the floor at a car manufacturing plant. Crazy cool. Okay, sure… she also makes these beautiful, refined and elegant pieces as well. She’s got it all covered. Something beautiful for everyone!!!

According to Amy…
“My jewelry: is made of 14k and 18k gold and sterling silver. It is completely constructed (no cast elements) with an emphasis on unique hinge work, gemstone color juxtapostions, as well as found objects such as beach glass and rock. My influences are primarily architecture and nature, and my work is clean and simply executed.”

For more information or to see more of Amy’s work, click here for her website.

Click here for updates, photos and to follow “Art In The Garden” on Facebook.

Categories: bike, sunrise

This morning started out with a pastel wash of clouds. Nothing too exciting.
That is until the sun made it over the horizon…

Because THEN… it became pretty spectacular.
Not really the sunrise per se, but the actual sun itself. Like a big red ball in the sky!!!

Sure, if I zoom back out, you get clouds, my bike and “normal” sunrise.

But it’s much cooler to zoom back in!!!

Categories: photography, sunrise

When you have this many gray clouds in the sky, you can only capture their oppressiveness with a bigger, wider photo. Thankfully that really cool sunburst is there to compensate for all of those gray clouds, huh?!

Categories: photography, sunrise

Okay, since I’ve been on Instagram, I’ve been taking more photos with my iPhone 4S.
Just easier to post to Instagram “instantly” as intended. And I’ve noticed that the photos I get on my phone are frequently different than those on my camera. The exposure, the color, and these crazy-cool sunburst effects I keep getting?! Maybe I just need to clean the camera lens on my iPhone?… and lose these cool sunrays?… maybe not…

Categories: bike, sunrise

Okay, so I’m getting a little tired of these cold & cloudy August days. It’s supposed to be summer still!!! And I don’t like wearing long-sleeved jerseys this early in the season. I want sun. I want warmth. I want a beautiful sunrise!!!

Okay sure, you can focus on all the gray clouds in the sky…          or… more to my style…
you can zoom-in and focus on the pretty!

All too soon the sun tucked back in behind the clouds. Gone for the day.

Oops… started zooming back out… too many clouds… let’s go back in!!!

Back to reality… More clouds. More gray. Not so pretty any more.

And yet still further away…
See what a difference a little ZOOMING can do for a gloomy sunrise?!

Categories: classes, glaze

So when there’s a new trick or technique “revealed” at Lillstreet, it takes the place by storm. And the latest craze as I mentioned a few days ago is the “glazing with bubbles” technique that seems to be all the rage. Thanks to Dave & Will for kickstarting the craze. Seems like everyone is doing this technique now… so I figured it was “my duty” to share and teach my students last night how to do it.

So I had bubble glazed my first demo bowl… and then realized I should be photographing the process to share here on the blog. So here’s the process on our second demo bowl. I start with a good “base” first coat of dipped glaze.

Then we put a little bit of glaze into a plastic cup, and added some DAWN dishwashing liquid.
And then stirred it up. Tough recipe, huh?! We didn’t measure anything!!!

And then blow into the mixture with a straw… or in our case, an empty ballpoint pen casing.

If the bubbles don’t seem to be piling up enough, just add a little more liquid soap.

Blow again… but remember to blow OUT, and to not inhale through the straw. That could get ugly!

Then once you have a good “head” of bubbles in the cup, scoop them out with your bare hands and place them on your pot. We tried to gently lay them in without popping too many bubbles. Depending on where you’re at in the bowl, sometimes it works to lay, others needed to be pressed on.

Inside and out… but trying to avoid wet glaze drips at the same time!

And voila’ …  a groovy, patterned & textured glaze on the bowl. No telling how many bubbles “should” be put on? How many are too many? It’s all very random. Let’s just hope it turns out okay in the firing?

We were kinda on a roll… so we tackled a third one too. Stacey had made a cup of bubbled glaze for her pot, so I just used her leftover liquid on my third demo bowl. Simple enough… blow, bubble, scoop, place. Repeat. The bubbles pop over time and leave a great lace-ish pattern behind.

I think we may have added a bit too much soap to this batch… the bubbles were pretty darn thick!
Maybe the thicker the bubble the denser the glaze coverage?! We’ll see!

But we just scooped up the thicker suds and continued placing them on the bowl – both inside and out.

So now I’ve got three class demo bowls glazed with the new bubble process.
Hopefully we’ll get some good results… beautiful bowls… and good photos to post here!

Bowl #1 – Temoku glaze bubbles on top of the base layer of Lau Shino glaze.

Bowl #2 – Rutile Blue glaze bubbles on top of the base layer of Lau Shino glaze.

Bowl #3 – Antique White glaze bubbles on top of the base layer of Lau Shino glaze.

Another class glazing demo done and waiting to go into the kiln.
Fingers crossed… photos to come!

We’ll see how these bowls turn out after the cone 10 reduction firing.
And yes, I will be sure to post photos for you to see the results too!!!

Categories: creativity, inspiration, YouTube

Just a quick diversion… and a nice segue for the next blog post…
Sure his bubbles may be a bit more dramatic & fun. But I can guarantee
that MY bubbles will be around a lot longer than his will be!

Click here to see the YouTube video.