Saturday, September 30, 2006

Sammy wonders.....

Keeping it simple
So what is the movie 'Sin City'? I am not sure. A computer made cartoon? from a comic? Who does the music here? I am not sure again. This may be music somebody just spliced over these movie clips. Don't know much, do I? Well, this is pretty cool, and noisy! Now we gotta see the movie.
So, today Alan comes for a petit visit and I see him and 2 friends at a brewery in Syracuse called Middle Ages. I dreamt I met them in Montreal, and the third friend was Jon Stewart from Comedy Central. Then I dream my cats almost drowned so naturally (cats are supernatural, aren't they?) I was awakened just then by Sammy jumping on my chest, full of purrs.
Alright, yesterday saw me rejoin the work-outside-the home world. (laughter heard from all quarters) No, really! I now am a proud member, as I said, of the Spirit and Kitsch Arts Cooperative, and as such I will be there one afternoon every week. I got home from that and hit the road with Heidi next door to deliver their publication. I havn't had a job in 10 years, and while neither one of those activities actually paid any money, it felt like the real thing.
Somehow have to make some piggies and mugs before setting out on todays social adventures...

Friday, September 29, 2006

my viewpoint

This is what I see out the studio window. The birds have just noticed the fresh sunflower seeds out there this week. In response to Jessie's comment below I wrote

'I looked at the cup, Jessie, as I do, and asked what it needed. It needed nothing. As for flying pigs, I am thinking of making a little sculpture to put on the other hook on my birdfeeder, picture above. I asked the birdfeeder what it wanted, and it said 'flying pig'

On my way to Spirit and Kitsch very early this am. First, this. I have slips of paper all over the house, including lists of what I need to make next. Usually that is pretty routine, but sometimes I am trying a new shape or something. The red circled doodle was a foggy idea I had for a cup, but I didn’t know how I would make it, just how I wanted it to look. The photo shows how it worked out--I hacked, carved, trimmed and apparently did everything right because, by gaw, the doodle and the pot match, and I felt like I was in the dark about how to do that. Sometimes things work out, easily! Question is, can I repeat all those steps? I think this is a pleasing shape and will glaze nicely.
Oooph, dreamt last night that I was falsely accused by the police, but was glad I had Canadian friends in case I had to run.....

Ghost in You

OK, last day Psychedelic Furs. here is ‘The Ghost in You’, which seems to get some good airplay even now.

Psychedelic Furs, those were the days

Strap on your Ray Bans, mousse your big hair....

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Psych. furs week, break 3

The beasties here have given us a rather funny look at police, mustaches, donuts, and the abuse of power.

Psychedelic Furs, Love my way, twice more!

OK--here is ‘Love my way’, the original and a semi-recent acoustic version. I think this is their second biggest hit. Wikipedia

tells a different story. So, OK, ‘Love my Way’ is played LESS on radio stations I listen to, compared to what I play Friday, which is played most often.

Back to Jeff kemp

So, back to Mr. Kemp’s work. This image was scanned and not great, but can you see how bright and wild his work is? When Beck sings "loser" you hear him say ‘gettin’ crazy with the cheese whiz’. I like to think of my work that way, too. Well, Jeff Kemp gets really crazy with the cheeze whiz, I think!
Boatload of work to do. Glazing starting in five minutes, then a rack of cute little mugs to facet and finish (see yesterday’s pix and all)

OK, back to Psychedelic Furs ‘Sister Europe’. Nice and moody, very early 80’s. I want a new pair of Ray Bans for Christmas.

Spirit and Kitsch
Ha! Got a nice message this am that I am accepted as a member to an Ithaca arts cooperative called 'Spirit and Kitsch'. Perhaps you can see from the storefront, as I did, that this is a very good match for me. Members work there and sell there. I have been a self-employed recluse for almost 10 years, this marks a big and welcome change. They, ahem, will have to be careful about putting me in the window.
Speaking of which, I heard from CognoscenTea, which had a fire a couple weeks ago. They are trying to de-smoke my pots (????)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Kids, don't try this at home!

OK, part 2 in the 'take a break from Psychedelic Furs week'.
How about a little Godsmack? Whatta drummer! Who knew they came from Boston?
Celeste, maybe you shouldn't go down to the first row.

Musings on Mugs

Follow up to post below. OK, so what do we have here?
1) is the body that will become 2) That is a sweet little mug! All this thinking has resulted in a perfect result.
3) is the original fluted mug 4) is the larger I tried out also---I like all 3 sizes for different reasons. The question of animal or not on the handle, or what kind of handle is answered by looking at the mug: does it need.......? Or just plain?
5) is the diner mug inspiring #2
6) is a Jeff Brown mug---so cool, but note: it is small like 1, 2, and 5

Tunes of the day and week, Psychedelic Furs

Back to the Psychedelic Furs for ‘love my way’. Wasn’t new wave just grand? At the time I liked the Furs more than the Talking Heads.
Can't remember any dreams. Was wicked tired, after the previous night when jack had a seizure.

Guest potter Jeff Brown and little mugs

So here is another guest potter, a fellow I know in NH. His work is breathtakingly beautiful, and one of the few potters I know who manages brown colors. In talking with Jeff, he emphasizes deliberate and thoughtful use and placement of textures and design and handles. That seems apparent to me, as you see spirals and curves gracefully coming together. Jeff’s work is very different from mine, but I enjoy talking with him because he emphasizes the careful thought that goes into a piece.
My point? I will have to add pics later, but I have decided I really like my straight sided cups with fluting. More than that, I thought they could generally be bigger, so I made some of those yesterday. But then I was using a favorite old mug of mine at lunch time. It is a commercial, industrially made diner mug. Not all that big, heavy, concave sides. It is almost indestructible, and you can guess that it would help a diner keep coffee portions down by not holding all that much. But it is a very friendly and practical mug, as it sits just so in the hand, and holds just about a triple espresso. Friendly and useful. Sooooo, I went in and threw the same straight sided mug I like, except smaller, and it will be fluted, with slightly concave sides. Pics of all this later. To conclude: my mug is improved by both going larger and smaller, which appeals to different people for different reasons. Further, making stuff everyday you go on autopilot. Although that is fine, sometimes you have to step back and rearrange your thoughts and consider what you are doing and why.

Jeff brown

Potter Jeff Brown, Northwood, NH.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

More driving to the grocery store tunes

We interrupt our Psychedelic Furs week with 'Rock Superstar' by Cypress Hill.


I am a beer journalist, not that it has resulted in any glory or money, but it does give a person an excuse to try new brews. Click the link for my latest at beer blog, complete with pottery and dog pics!

OK, back to work: Mike from NH called the other day, he had lost a glaze recipe and a search of my notebooks turned it up. A miracle. As I say, he is nicer than me, so it was nice to do him a favor.

Gah, dreaming last night. Our older lab Jack has epilepsy. He is 11 and it has never been much trouble, just grand mal seizures at most 4-5 times a year. Most dogs have more trouble as they age, Jack's have gotten better. At 1:44 last night he had a mild seizure. He wet the floor before I got him out, but it was over in less than five minutes, and naturally I had a series of odd dreams after. In the first, a young woman I went to college with, and studied pottery with, showed up, and she had looked a little like Molly Ringwald (my suggestible unconscious mind) then there was a house to sell with a dark dungeonn style basement....

Buckets of work done Sunday and Monday, which is how it should be from now until Christmas. Way too much socializing and running around recently. This is new: football was once my reward for weekend morning work. Then I would loaf about all afternoon watching football on TV. No TV anymore, so I actually work and listen to the radio play by play. Well, and go to actual games too.

Pretty in Pink

So, a person turns from the Beastie Boys to the Psychedelic Furs. here is ‘Pretty in Pink’

There are quite a few clips from the movie with Molly Ringwald, which I never saw. Man, talk about our mis-spent youth! That was not the ‘Napolean Dynamite’ of our time, (although ‘Fast times at Ridgemont High’ maybe was.) So there is James Spader, Jon Cryer or whoever these people are. But the music: it occurs to me now that this was the height of the David Bowie-handsome-nicely-dressed-slightly-swishy-pretty-boy new wave musical era.
So, OK, wouldn’t this piggy look pretty in pink, glaze? You can see here a more typical piggy shape. It consists of a simple bottle, on the left, add little trotters, ears and such, voila, pig. After firing a cork goes in the nose, for easy coin access when you need pizza and the wallet is empty.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Ice Ice Baby

You know that summer is past when you are making mugs and pigs and your hands turn to little blocks of ice. (because your hands are dipped in cold water) Vanilla Ice tells the story for me.

Boomtown Rats, I don't like Mondays

There is one good thing on Monday: NY Times crossword is satisfyingly doable.

2 guest artists: I'm not worthy!

Let’s have some different tunes o’ the day and stop talking about cheerleaders.

Afro Celt Sound System is a good and mellow listen this am. Enjoy!
So, I am making a rack of this and that, which was a good way to spend a Sunday afternoon, but let me backtrack. I had been looking at some absolutely awesome pots in ‘Ceramics Monthly’ by 2 different artists. My question was ‘do I make work that exciting? Is my style that cohesive?’. You must ask these questions of yourself. Stylistically, I can answer in part: pigs and cows, that is very me.

These 2 potters work is absolutely awesome and perfect, for my tastes. Colorful, whimsical. Let me aspire to their level.
Whew, dreaming last night. For a person who had been slightly lactose intolerant, turning 40 has also meant becoming a lot more lactose intolerant. Cheese and ice cream are those big Everest size challenges, even with Lactaid. So, last night’s dream was about finding butter substitutes without trans fats. My life is so interesting.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Falls creek

Don't forget that you can click on pics to enlarge. We took Buster out for a walk by one of the 150 waterfalls in Ithaca.

Cornell vs. Yale schmale

Cornell does football right. A marching band of about a hundred, about 2 dozen very acrobatic cheerleaders--young women only, (nobody likes male cheerleaders) baton twirlers and 3 music conductors and TWO, count 'em TWO pirates with swords. I bet my reluctant sister-in-law A. a dollar, as she is a Yalie, and now I owe her. Maybe she will forget.

Cornell pre-frosh

This little fellow was visiting the Cornell campus with his mother. Football fans too, no doubt.

The ceramics gods

Oh man whatta busy day Saturday. Shipped out a boatload of piggies and cow things, as mentioned.
The default band around here is Beastie Boys, and I think this Sunday needs this rather wonderful and well made video of ‘Intergalactic’.

please make special note of:
1) the cute dance outfits, with yellow boots and goggles
2) the dancing robot
3) the big ‘staches
OK, the Ceramics Gods. I went to what my father first described as ‘a crazy school for rich girls’ (or was it school for crazy rich girls?) which is exactly why I wanted to go there, but that isn’t entirely true. There were a few boys there too, including for four years, me. It was not a college for lunatics and flakes, (really!) but there were plenty of both. And I swear I am not a flake, but you may think so after you hear this true story.
The kiln room at Bennington had 2 or 3 medium large electric kilns, a couple of raku kilns and a salt kiln outside, plus 3 HUGE gas kilns inside. The car kiln was about as big as a car, and so was the alpine. Lucille, however, was as big as a small house. Well, a garage anyway. All of the kilns were covered with ‘kiln gods’, little clay figures the person responsible for firing the kiln would make and place on the kiln. Every kiln had hundreds of little gods. We believed, of course, that a nice little figure would please the ceramics gods, and help guarentee a good firing. I have said before that a million things can go wrong with your work in a firing. These little figures actually inspired the little guys I put on my cups--they migrated off the kiln and onto the cup, I swear I am not making this up. That was my inspiration. OK, one day, our instructor Stanley, who was a Zen master and rather confusing to most if not every teenaged student he taught, explained the true origin of the kiln gods at Bennington, and at other kilns where wise people worked. Ancient firing practices basically involved a pile of pots, grasses, twigs, buffalo chips and the like. To appease the gods, little clay figures were made and put next to the fire pits at the start. If the figure blew up, the gods were unhappy and you had a bad firing. Guess what? This is actually based on the fact that you need a slow and steady firing, therefore a blown figure really was a true indicator of success, because if you fire too fast a wet piece will blow. There you go, no flakes here, I swear it, and no pagans either.
Fatboy Slim here shows the perils of messing with the ceramics gods......

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The curse of the front window

So, er, we are at Red Door Gallery, a grand place for coffee food and art, and I notice my work in the window. The gallery director, who is a joyful and smart person, was warned about me and front windows.....I mean, we have to be aware of these little patterns: trucks have driven through windows with me in the gallery window, fires have broken out in other galleries....
better to not tease THE CERAMICS GODS.

OK, so dreaming last night. Another busy one, where I spent the night welding a project. I was pretty good at it, considering I have never tried welding. My old pal Garry K. was in there, and he does weld. He is a blacksmith, and I should do as ma bell used to say and reach out and touch somebody.
OK, pics of cow things, but first this vase. I wasn’t sure I liked this vase, but speckly celadon with blue and green blobbed on the rim, looks fantastico. The cow stuff goes together to Red Door Gallery in Groton, as soon as this is done and the dogs walked. I like jokes of course, so a cow painted milk bottle with a small cow jumping over the moon makes the kind of vase I prefer to make most of the time. Also, a cow creamer with a cow stretched out like a model on the beach.... OK, so off to the Yale-Cornell football game later and hopefully the runny nose will soon depart.

Tunes o' the day, not for the faint of heart

So, how about a little change of pace? Tunes o’ the day, Rob Zombie, ‘Living Dead Girl’. The first link is Rob’s own video, which is pretty clever. He has a thing for kitschy horror flicks. The second is a spooky cartoon somebody else put together to go with the tune. I am surprised to say that for a few years there, around 2000, I listened to this every time I drove to the grocery store. Sort of gets a person into the mood for I do not think Rob Zombie would be a good match for one of my sister-in-laws.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Pogues Dirty Old Town
our old pal cm asked...........

I wish Billy Bragg would marry my sister-in-law
Internet explorer has been playing GAMES lately, but MSN is working good, and look what little gem they have up for music interviews and whatnot? Billy Bragg! Alan goes to their concert this weekend.
LATER: 'working good', how illiterate. Let's say 'working nicely'.

Dropkick Murphys!
Anybody living near Boston, as we did, would know and love these guys. You can tell they give a great performance, I only wish I was their drummer.


Slow moving this am, I have been sooooo sick. Now MER is sick too. You know, sneezy and sniffly. At least we shall feel good this weekend, I go to the Yale game tomorrow afternoon. Gotta feel better for that. I managed to get a lot done yesterday, though, including these bottles, and a glaze firing too, opening today. I cleaned the litter box, but oh my, all the dishes in the sink....
So, looking at the picture below, let me explain. The flower vase on the left is one of the last pots made in New Hampshire, and it was one of a series. I get in the mood for certain things, and then make them for a few days. I gave MER some flowers the other day, which I should do more often as it makes her very happy, and used this vase. It has speckly celadon glaze, with blue and green blobbed on the rim and melting down, one of my favorite glaze combos. But I asked myself, ‘why don’t I make more of these every week?’. I am not much of a vase guy. I like bottles a little more. The difference in my mind is that bottles can be used as a flower vase, they are just a little more closed in. I especially like a nice fat and friendly tear drop shape, as you see pictured, and a wide lip allows for easy trimming. I couldn’t resist trying some textures and dots on the 2 far right pots. The left hand ones will be speckly celadon like the flower vase, the textured ones just super celadon, maybe with blue spots. I know, where are the piggies? I make some plain things sometimes, although my definition of plain is usually fairly flamboyant.

The vase question

Bottle or vase? Nice view of the backyard, and a couple of pots.

I dig the dirt, I dig the dust

Well, what potter wouldn't? Multiple entries this am, this is the first. Anybody else have an internet explorer meltdown last night? Working OK now....

Is this the coolest music video ever made? I am a big fan of early Red Hot Chili Peppers, say, pre-mid 90s. Man, when I was in college there was ‘I dig the dirt, I dig the dust, I bar-b-q my meals’. What profundity!
cm goes to the RHCPeeps this weekend. We toast, you, cm, and know it will be the best.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Hippos, handles and Human League
Gosh, this sounds like The Human League. 80s new wave is retro, makes you feel a little old! Our music is retro! The neighbors had us babysit last night with the 5 year old. When they got home I said 'I feel old!' and they asked why. Well, 5 year olds have a certain level of activity and energy that I can only watch with wonder.
I think it is the autumnal equinox today. Halfway to dark!

OK, Ghost of a Flea runs a pretty cool site, lotsa interesting news and music too. He posted this Wednesday, it is so darn cool. Sort of an 80s Tears for Fears (or who did that tune back then with the words ‘lips like sugar, sugar kisses...’ was that Depeche Mode? Wet Noodle prize to the person who fills me in) tune with an extremely funny video. The band is Soviet, ‘Candy Girl’ is the tune of the day.

So, OK, I had an email from aspiring potter Jack down in New York city, back to handles. Here is a picture of some handles I have been messing with for a couple of weeks. The cup has parallel ridge lines going down the handle. Then there is the same handle, but whacked, then super extra whacked 3 times and of course, as I have said recently, wavey texture down the handle is newest. Jack, sorry, I can’t tell you more about how I make them, but I have to say it is fun and new territory. I mean, there is so much you can do to a pot, why not the handle too? Remember too that handles show a lot of texture under certain glazes, so choose wisely.
Making today, BOTTLES! Or vases, I should say, 4 or 5 variations of the same thing.

Then there is that dream Tuesday night. I dreamt I was hanging out with that bounty hunter Dog and his family, learning the tricks of the trade. Woke up then back to the next chapter of bounty hunting...over and over again. I wish I could say I learned a lot but actually I just woke up feeling like I had been running around all night. Last night I was dreaming about a child I taught in Chicago. He was blind and multi-handicapped (and remarkably good-natured and cheerful despite that) and that he was seriously starting to walk and then dreamed later that the woman across the street who is due to have a baby this month contracted to build us a roof deck. She was pretty nimble and capable for a person with a jumbo watermelon strapped to her belly.

From hippos to handles

Fun with handles!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

You people are sooooo lucky
Oh yeah, Camera Obscura! This tune is all over the radio. You know, the Irish and Scottish have those lovely lilting accents, this singer's voice is totally yummy.

What a cool song!!!!

Transbuddha puts up this music video for Camera Obscura. Transbuddha is the coolest, of course, but man, who is this band? A bunch of average Joe's making the sweetest sweetest sounds!

Fly by Sugar Ray

Sugar Ray--a totally likeable California band with the most handsome man in rock (according to People magazine). Here is some sugar pop entertainment for breakfast.
(BTW-if I chop up my posts, blogger seems to argue with me less)

My hippos

OK, so the question is, which do you prefer? My hippo pots or some hack from Denmark working at the Royal Copenhagen factory (see post and link below). You see, cm, or was it celeste, mentioned this multi-gazillion dollar special order of hand painted dishes. In their way, they are very skilled pieces of art. BUT, let's talk about factory production VS the studio potter. Royal Copenhagen, Dresden China and Hummel Figurines do employ artists and artisans and craftsmen. There is a designer with paper drawings of dishes and patterns, a model maker to make the thing, an engineer to make molds, a production worker to fill and fire the pieces, finishers to make the dishes perfect, then china painters who add the designs. So, yes, there is hand work all along the line. The studio potter, like me, enjoys the hands on approach of every step of the way. He is independent, and proud of the limited work coming out of the studio, every step of which is his. Factory production almost killed studio pottery, but actually turned it into a cottage art industry a hundred years, and I benefit from that. BUT, any student who went to Bennington College, or any studio potter, even though they might appreciate some of the skills that go into china, really turns up their nose at this kind of work. Yuck!

People, of course, are welcome to give me millions for my hippo work, as seen above.

Hippos, not just for breakfast anymore

So cm, or maybe it was celeste? Was talking hippos and pots.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

odds and ends

Alan wanted a plaque for his plaque and here is Christina's sweet little yellow bowl.

I have been fiddling with blogger for awhile this am and it is like a clogged drain. So let's listen to 'Laid' by James, this is a wackyy one, and talk dreams and pigs.
I made 5 piggy banks yesterday, which is good, as again this town is sold out of piggy banks. I think progressive communities are ripe for piggy banks with a broad smile, as they represent honest banking.
Dreamt I was making a massive building out of cake and frosting. Chocolate.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Burnt toast parte seconde

OK, here is the Ithaca Journal article about the teashop. Nobody really hurt thank goodness.

Burnt toast

Here is an email exchange typical of responses to yesterday’s news, and my attempts to laugh at the dark humor of losing another window’s worth of pots on display, in less than 12 months:
from our old pal and customer cm:
I'm torn - on the one hand I agree you should be able to laugh at it, but on the other hand I'm an Irish Catholic - we wrote the book on superstitious! And it isn't fun, really, when things are destroyed. But still, one must laugh in the end, as "crying only causes wrinkles." :-) (thanks cm's mom for that last bit)
To which I responded:
Well, you are correct, as in don't tempt the fates and such. But then again, embracing this sort of thing and saying something like 'break a leg' has that sort of carry an umbrella so it doesn't rain type effect.
Thanks gr

Jim from Hollis emailed me to take out my stuff in the window bad luck jokes, he really thought people would stay away from my work. I think that is too serious.
You see, I thought it was absurdly funny at first, in a detached sort of literary way, but then got grumpy about it, because I may have lost a few hundred bucks of gorgeous pots. BUT BUT BUT lesson number one in pottery is that it is a fragile medium. You could bury it in the ground like Egyptians and 4000 years later it would be just as nice. Or you can make a gorgeous little pot and break it when it comes out of the kiln, or anywhere else along the way. It happens all the time. Being a pro means you minimize the chance for breakage: good practices in the making and transporting of stuff.
The best part of years of experience is being able to imagine a new idea and then have the skills and experience to make it happen. I am monkeying with textured handles as I showed last week, and I have settled on a nifty approach that is working well.
Maybe some pics later today.
So, you know, life goes on, and as my instructor Jane said (for many thousands of tuition dollars--but it is priceless advice) ‘make more!’


So, how about some wicked inspiring and energetic awesome tunes from JAMES???? We love James. When the missus and I were, you know, first getting to know each other in the early 90s these guys ruled. They marked the transition, I think, between new wave and 80s Brit pop like Depeche Mode and the mid-90s greats like Oasis and Charlatans UK. Just such likeable music. Probably mom approved, too.

Mom, Dad and Abby

Sunday, September 17, 2006


Not at our house thank goodness, and I don't think anybody has been hurt.

OK, a year ago I was featured in the window of a gallery, and a truck plowed through the window, destroying my works and another artist's work. I have been featured in the window for a few weeks at CognoscenTea, State St Ithaca. I got a call that the place burned up. I just went over and took a look. The good news is that the building will probably be OK, and the store itself can probably be reworked. I have not heard of any injuries. The store is very dark with smoke and water damage, but appears to me that the middle area, tables and displays and thousands of dollars worth of merchandise is burned and charred. I would be surprised if any of my work survived, hundreds of dollars of stuff, and I don't know what sort of insurance (not mine) will pay me back. I was going to deliver some nice things this week too.....

I wonder if I am bad luck when stores feature my work in their window?

Gallows humor, burning Down the House

This is tasteless, but somehow quite appropriate.
Thanks Talking Heads.

Dee lite and some more thoughts on purple

I was planning something noisy and raucous, but 'Groove is in the Heart' is such good Sunday viewing and listening. The missus loves this tune. Dee lite was the disco dance retro thing, until lady Miss Kier and her husband Dmitri broke up.

Dreamt last night of Alan from Gen x at 40. He came over with 2 bottles of white wine he wanted us to try, which if you know Alan, is hysterical. Alan also runs beer blog, and would probably rather run to work naked in a snowstorm than drink white wine.

Purple, some more and maybe final thoughts. Pumping gas across from the house of the people who sold us our house I made a discovery. Their house is painted a nice and sedate mustardy green/olive color. Except for one thing I hadn't noticed before: the porch steps and floor are....the exact purple of our house! I suspect there were leftovers, and their porch steps had needed paint therefore...thriftiness won out. Maude and I probably like forest and celadon greens more than any other color, but together we seem to like purple things. I have a large Gorbachev style birthmark on my head, under my hair and since I am not bald you cannot see it, purple in color. It is a lovely shade between lilac and deep purple. I guess there is some subliminal action there on my tastes.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

James Bond sneaks into a football game

Here is your blog host and his pops at today's Colgate vs Dartmouth football game. Colgate won easily in the end, but that is the least of this story.

When I was a kid and in high school, Colgate had fairly wide open ticket policies. If you didn't want to sit, you could wander around just outside the game and see the whole thing free. My parents used to simply drive up to the field, with the dog, and watch the game that way, comfy and dry, for free. Things have changed! New stands, bleachers, BARBED wire fences, security all over. Ten bucks for a basic ticket, five to park. If it had always been that way, OK, but it has always been free, you see, so.....

more background. I went to high school in Hamilton, a terrible little school, but I became a Colgate Community Scholar, whereby I could and did enroll in classes up there. My dad went to Colgate, my sister and her husband too, and my grandfather back in the 30s. There is some history there, and we are NOT going to start paying to get into games.

So the guy at the lot wants 5 rude bucks to park, but hey, across the street by the pool is a spot, so chalk one up for us. Then the new fences. You can't get anywhere NEAR the game to stand outside and watch. With barb wire! But we wander. Things are quieter at the north end, and you can see the game if you stand on a sidewalk. Not bad. Then, I notice down at the other end, in the press parking entrance, the little old man checking press passes has momentarily wandered pops and I make our move, we are in the inner fence, and we hide in the pine trees behind the score board. Cool! After awhile, we decide to brazen it out, and sidle on over through the trees to the crowds, and sit amongst the general population.

Ready ready ready

OK, here’s the Dixie Chicks, another one up there for Maude. Sure, Iggy Pop Friday, Dixie Chicks today---our tastes range far and wide, and the Chicks are talented. We hate country music otherwise. This video is totally mom approved, and totally FUNNY to boot!

Dreaming: I dreamt we were getting married again, inviting the hundreds of people in the rolodex, including electricians, the pizza place.....

Back to glazes. Sure, I painted the garage Friday but first I mixed the glazes. Our basement is not a dungeon, but it is 141 years old, and not especially nice, and mixing glaze powders is very messy. Mike from NH called, as he was doing the same. Psychic connection, really. His basement is a little older, maybe 220 years old, and dirt floor and such, so ours is comparitively nice. Anyway, I told him he was nicer than me and we discussed light rutile vs. dark rutile and dark Spanish Red iron Oxide vs. red iron oxide....alright, boring to some of you.
I talked about my yellow Friday, and I just mixed some. Black copper oxide, for green tints, is a couple bucks a pound, really cheap. Cobalt oxide is very expensive, for the blues, and goes at least 30 bucks a pound. Welllll then there is my yellow powder. It is some secret oxide mix from Florida, and goes for 50 bucks a pound, the caviar of glaze ingredients. Speaking of which, the backbone of my glazes several years ago, gerstley borate, was pulled off the market. It had been a replacement for colemnite, pulled off the market when I was in college. So, what do you do? That spring of 2001 I reformulated remixed and rethought my glazes, with fantastic results, and I learned a lot. Add some of this for opacity, some of that for speckles, more of this other secret stuff to imprive the shine. It goes on.
Well, gerstley borate is under production again, although it was once about 5 bucks for 50 pounds, now it is about 50 or 60 bucks for 50 pounds, and so I can use some of the old glazes too.....
and I am off to watch football. Perhaps I have earned it. Friday was filthy.

Friday, September 15, 2006


When Maude and I bought this house, it had been recently painted light purple, with dark purple and a yellowish-olive for highlights. Very exciting and STRIKING you could say, although we may never have brought these colors home from the paint store....well, nobody would buy the house there for awhile, although the price and house were both excellent, people couldn't stomach the purple. The weekend we put our offer in, 5 other families were suddenly interested, but as they said in Jerry Maguire 'show me the money' and we could and did and it is ours. :^)
The house needed the garage doors and little else. Good guys built them for us a few weeks ago, and I love the doors. But they needed paint and so I got the super duper computer matched and mixed gallon of light purple, made from the paint stick that had stirred the house paint originally, which is a good source. BUT, my mix is a bit lightish.....

SOOOOOOO, the garage, as I told the woman across the street painting her house a sedate blue and white, is now THREE TONE. 2 different light purples with dark purple accents. The neighbor said, quite correctly '3 tone purple! just like your pots!' Anyway, I love this lilac-ish color, and next spring all our deck chairs and tables will be painted this color (lotsa leftovers).

I see a red door and I want to paint it black Makar for Dryden Town Board

Have you noticed, as I have noticed, that it is 8:46 and I havn't done a darn thing yet today except maybe brew some more tea, watch music videos and gossip? Well, I did do the dishes just now. Yes, the glazes still need to be mixed and the garage door needs to be painted purple. Our old pal David stopped by and we got 2 signs plus one next door, for his campaign to join the town board. That is 3 signs in 100 feet, saturation marketing here on Main St

I love Kate Pierson and Iggy Pop!

Couldn't resist. This is another for my missus. Everybody knows, even REM, that in order to have a great song you have to invite Kate Pierson of the B52s along.
I bet cm wishes she could watch videos at work.

Iggy Pop, tunes o' the day

Iggy Pop! My wife has been waiting for this. At the end of ‘Trainspotting’, which was a strangely compelling and entertaining film despite its awful look at, shall we say, a certain lifestyle, Iggy Pop does a little dance. We love Iggy Pop.
Forgot his real name, but he was born in Michigan and some people think he invented punk somewhere between the late 60s and the 70s. Somebody had to! despite his, um, self-destructive habits then, he made some awesome tunes in the 80s and 90s, including ‘Lust for Life’ here. The guy looks pretty fit, especially since I once saw a New Yorker magazine catoon of him calling him ‘Iggy Grandpop’, since he is far from young.

OK, making today and what not. (I still need to mix my glazes) There has been heated discussion elsewhere about my glazes. And other secrets. Here is a little story.
A few years ago, Otto Heino, an 80 year old grand master potter, developed a copy of a famous yellow glaze from Japan. The glaze has its merits, but mine is better. His is a semi-matte, often full of pinholes. But he fires about 100-200 degrees hotter in a gas or wood kiln, and his glaze is from natural mysterious Japenese ingredients like, I don't know, egg yolks and lemon grass. My glaze is SHINY, buttery yellow with a sweet smooth surface. My ingredients are off the shelf, industrial ceramics supplies, with a specially formulated yellow stain anybody could buy (I am not telling) and I use an electric kiln. OK, so Otto's glaze is an historically accurate reproduction of an ancient glaze, mixed and fired as it would have been for hundreds of years. Mine still looks better. Anyway, word got out and a group of Japanese business types asked to buy his recipe for half a million dollars. You could say hey, the guy's 80, SELL! But Otto already has 2 Rolls Royces and is wealthy. Instead he offered their pick of any 20 yellow pots from the studio, figuring as anybody would that they would laugh and leave. They instead wrote him a check and packed up 20 pots. What is that, 25, 000 per pot? I have seen many of Otto's pots for sale, 200-1300 bucks each, but that was a high price. He apparently dumped the money in a savings acct, at less than one percent interest.
True story, from 'Otto's Gold', Ceramics Monthly magazine a couple of years ago.
I will post more later.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Christina and secrets

So my young cousin Christina Von Rabenau from Germany visits the purple house yesterday. She is an art student, and this family has produced a lot of artists. Although skilled in painting, she wanted to try clay, and gave it a whirl. It was most successful. Since she lives thousands of miles away, I did not mind sharing secrets.



This has gotta be my favorite music video. Take an awesome tune, put together a video with a live perfromance AND a story, populate that video with a hundred nice looking starlets.....

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Beer blog and a load of purple
My pal Alan at Beer Blog needed this plaque, and you saw me make it last week and it looks good. Really good. Also a boatload of purple stuff, including purple goblets. Whaddya think Ellen? Good for some Burgundy or Chianti?
Happy birthday Abby!


Let’s talk widgets. Our old pal cm is coming over some day soon to pick up some flower pots she ordered, and I have pictured them here before. I was reminded, though, by a gardening friend named Connie (all these C names!) of those little widgets that go into any plant pot. You know, a little dog or frog on a spike, put it into your English ivy? Here is a pic of one, next to a real flower pot, and maybe I will give cm one or two with her order. I usually make all this stuff in the spring, but indoor plants are year round.
As for handles, what if you have a highly textured cup and wanna try a highly textured handle on that cup? Usual is on the left, with subtle lines, experiment on the right, a sort of zig-zag corduroy that should get crazy under the right glaze.

The Coral Sea

Tunes o’ the day Sept 13 2006
Let’s try The Coral Sea. I know very little about these guys, but wanted to put up something sweet sounding after yesterday’s boisterous noise. My wife MER is gonna like this stuff. My cousin Christina von R likes The Verve and The Killers, so I wonder what she thinks of this, and Thursday’s music too. (this same cousin is due to arrive here later to today to mess with clay) I think even my mother would like these guys. The website has nice music selections, but is not very helpful--they obviously have a female lead singer, but where is she? The video is of a fab fab fab tune, on the radio here all the time, and it sounds like it is featured on TV too, but the images themselves are a little spooky.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Purple aplenty, purple galore

OK, about glazes and glazing. Mike, my old pal from New Hampshire called yesterday. We talked all the time in NH, and still do so as we both have those wide open calling plans. He, like me, is a stay at home papa and potter. We talk mostly about glazes. The 2 wives get this glazed look in their eyes when we talk, but we get excited and that is what counts, in pottery. I mean, not everyone cares whether you use copper carbonate OR copper oxide. But Mike and I do, passionately. So, he called, and we talked about new greens. His computer isn’t working at the moment, so I can be frank here. I don’t like to share my own glazes, with anybody, even friends. Mike is much nicer and more generous. HOWEVER, I have many books and magazines with glaze recipes, and I share those and compare notes. My own recipes are worth millions, and are locked in a safe. Really! OK, although true, it sounds extreme, but they are nice, and they are mine. Monday I was painting things around the house purple, as mentioned below, and the only glaze I have a full bucket of is my grape, a deep bluish purple, so all those bowls and the rest: purple. I really need to mix up all the others. It is such a filthy job though....anyway, when you have tulip-ish goblets, purple is a good color. I typically blob greens into the creases as you can see above, which then runs down in a pleasing way.

Beyond the edges: KITTIE

Beyond the edges here. Listen to:

Kittie Brackish from "Spit"

and one more

So, what if Korn was an all female band from Ontario? You might get Kittie. When I first heard them on the radio, the dj announced the single "‘Brackish’ by Kittie from the album ‘Spit’" which made me and the missus crack up. Hilarious! However, these young women are mad about something, and I wouldn’t want to mess with them. I am reminded of dance floors when I was in college, where tiny little women were slam dancing and whatnot and would knock over anyone nearby. So, put on a miniskirt and big black boots and form a band. Our roving Ontario reporter cm was assigned the task of getting the word on the street, so to speak. cm had not heard of Kittie. You mean they don’t hang out on weekends? Bump into each other at the coffee shop? This is surprising to all of us here, as she can head-bang with the best of them, so cm, maybe today we introduce you to something new. I heard that they toured with Slipknot in the past, which is beyond the edges of this blog, but these chicks rock.

Monday, September 11, 2006

I know what I want for Christmas

BECK! Of course. Take note, wifey-poo. We both love Beck. Transbuddha has this video preview available, and although a bit fuzzy, it is fantastico--mellow and weird, just like Beck always is. New dvd/cd coming out soon.

little purple houses

What a ridiculous way to spend time, when you need to glaze a load and make more. We live in an old purple house with a new garage door. I bought purple paint today for the door. But first I painted our two new little bluebird houses, purple. Tres cute!

Happy Little Elephant

Sugar bowl silliness.

'The Game of Love'

9 11 06
I needed a resume, bio, and artist’s statement for the teapot competition. Therefore the blather at the side of the blog, introducing me.
OK, 9/11. I didn’t affect me directly, but I clearly remember that morning. The radio dj said a plane had flown into the World Trade Center, then tuning in to TV and watching the 2nd plow into the other building, then the people jumping as fires grew and then the buildings falling and later that day other buildings around the site coming down. My sister-in-law was in her office nearby, and watched the whole thing. Indirectly we were affected. A few months later the economy was down, Maude lost her job, things in our old neighborhood got really hairy, and now 5 years later the future looks so bright I gotta wear shades. It was a terrible plan, a terrible way for people to get injured or die, we are all lucky if we can live in peaceful times.

I challenge anybody to not like this special video for today, from Carlos Santana and Michelle Branch, ‘The Game of Love’
I was having a bad spring a couple of years ago and found this sweet little single cd and video from Santana and his friends, with this rockin’ happy little tune. It made me feel some faith in humanity and it spreads good cheer everywhere. Santana and Eric Clapton can make a guitar sing, but Santana’s genius is in working with other young talents, like Rob Thomas, and young Michelle Branch here. His band is perfect, everybody here is swinging and kissing and loving and having fun. I don’t know who this singer is, but man, what a sweet voice.
Dreaming last night: some kind of entertaining James Bond type thing which included a trip to outer space.
On 9/11/01 I was sitting there making piggy banks, I had maybe 2 dozen to finish. It was such a nice day. It felt ironic to enjoy a nice sunny day finishing pigs.....
well today it is a triple busy day. Glaze stuff, finish stuff and make new stuff. I have a boatload of of other stuff to write about, but must get too work instead.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

more oreo pigs


Chrissie says....

I had another email from Chrissie from St Johns this morning. Some people consider these pottery issues very carefully, it is true. She is, as I said, a big fan of coffee and Irish coffee, being Irish and all. Her point was a good one, in response to my post and picture below:
"you know, most Irish coffee cups are fairly small..." and some other points about them never having pigs on their handles.
Well, Chrissie, you have some good points. This mug got out of control in every way, and it is honking big. But that is the nature of creative experimentation: what happens if I....., and then I......., and try this too....
I am a very experimental potter, but nothing would be new in this world if we didn't try things. I don't know why Irish coffee mugs are usually smallish. BUT, nearly every pot is a little better with a pig, in my mind.
More on all of this controversy later...

Whacka-doo, whackadoo

Nasty political debates elsewhere, which some people are able to expend serious quantities of hot air on. I find it distasteful, as I don't like arguing of any sort. I will let these tunes do it for me. This is a rather athletic tune and video from Rage Against the Machine, 'Guerrilla Radio.'
Rage was one of those noisy 90's bands, sadly gone, who had a pretty distinct sound thanks to their frontman. He sings with a .....hiss and yell? Something like that. In Iowa in 2000 he said any presidential candidate who jumped into the mosh pit got his support. Al declined, but the otherwise conservative Alan Keyes jumped right in...
wish Rage against the Machine was still active. There seems to be a lot of politics worth hissing and yelling about.
Dreamed I had 2 hamsters.
Momentary lull in the family visits before it heats up again mid-week. There have been so many meals out, sundaes, leftovers....we need to recover before the next round.
So, back to work. I had spoken of goblets last week. I make them in 2 parts. The fellow I apprenticed to, 20 years ago, made the top, then when it was halfway dry he placed a blob of clay on and threw it in place. That is like tight rope walking without a net. Well, maybe not that hard, but tricky to my mind. I throw the stem seperately and join both halves. Very easy. OK-the whacking part. I realized that what you can achieve here, such as on the left above, is something that looks like a tulip shape, petals and all! That is so cool, for a wine glass. The first 2 I whacked last week had four petals, these have 3 which looks better. Also, our old pal from St John's, Chrissie (you remember her, right?) is Irish, and likes Irish coffee. She has written asking about maybe some Irish coffee mugs. Made the same as goblets in 2 parts, that is an interesting mug type: regular mug, up on a small base. The practical part is the base remains cool and dry, no rings on the good table when you set it down. The above photo shows a rather out of control Irish coffee mug I was messing with, whacked the sides, the handle, and laid on a little pigs. Of course.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

5 teapots

Five teapots, off to Baltimore.

Invasion of the women from planet Chris

My old pal Alan and I have one of those John VS Paul type arguments when it comes to the Who. Obviously, Roger Daltry looked fantastic, had great and curly hair, and had that huge voice. My kind of hero. Alan says Pete Townshend was the musical genius and leading light. Achh. Maybe. He has that sort of whiney, nasal voice and he didn’t really have rock star looks, and on top of that, in interviews he has sometimes acted snobby and superior about his Who bandmates. That to me is inexcusable. They were a fantastic GROUP, not Pete Townshend does the songs of the Who, which he has actually done in recent years, on tour. Waste of money, in my mind.
BUT, a whole different category to me is Pete’s solo efforts, which were dynamite. Rough Boys came out in 79 or thereabouts, while the Who was still active and in the studio (OK, correct me, I am talking off the top of my head). I was babysitting one night, in the pre-MTV days and Pete had a video on late Saturday night, with billiard balls and whatnot, and it was a great video for a greater tune. The video here is a live performance of Pete doing ‘Rough Boys’ not long ago,and it is perfect. He looks just like my dad, interestingly: bald, 70ish, very fit and rockin’ (those are compliments, Pops!). Don’t hold your breath on the guitar thing, he doesn’t smash this one. I don’t know who his band is here, but don’t you think they do a great job? Alan willl discover and perhaps change his mind about Pete here. The final seconds of this video shows Pete, having done a masterful job performing his own tune, starts in on one from the Who. NO NO NO! Terrible!

OH Yeah, the invasion of the Chris’s.
This is all true, I swear it: As you know, here at potter’s blog we have been celebrating Chrissie Hynde’s birthday. I also have a cousin named Cristina visiting from Germany (distant cousin, like 6th or 12th degree, but FAMILY, ya know?) And lastly, our dear old pal Chrissie from St. John’s wrote asking about my famous mother-in-law, Chris, visiting this week. Yes, monster quantities of food and cheer have been consumed...

OK, Bobby from out in Flagstaff, Arizona emailed the other day about this Teapot competition. He is correct: I havn’t talked about them in a bit, and the deadline is this week. You saw me make the yellow one, start to finish a couple weeks ago. Above are my final 5 entries in a group photo. Now the images go (seperately) off to Baltimore Clayworks, where they will choose 100 winners. I think my entries are pretty hot. It is a very diverse group too, hopefully the judges will like one or more.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Ludgate farms and ME

Maude works mornings in the office at this nifty little family farmstand, and wouldn't you know, they sell my pots too. Click the link above for the puff piece and piggy portrait, written and photographed by me, but I think the writer and photographer did a good job. (scroll down the Ludgate page a bit and there I am)


I think cm has had a rough week. This one's for you, cm, also Alan, and all my hard working friends, and especially for my gorgeous wife MER who got her first paycheck from Cornell this week. That's cool.

And a gratutitous picture of a piggy bank too.


You have to have a recognizeable brand. You have to advertise. I am going to start running print ads in exchange for pottery. Who knows if it will ever get me anywhere? It is true, though, that every little thing you do for exposure is noticed by someone. Nine years of business in New Hamsphire, and I had to beat customers off with a stick. Everybody knew who was making the pigs and whatnot. New town now. But, the window at the tea shop downtown has resulted in strangers telling me they have seen my work, and that is a good beginning.

Tunes o' the day for Alan

Special, for my favorite kilt wearing Scot, Alan
Shirley Manson is special. Her band Garbage is the modern incarnation, in my mind, of the Pretenders. Of course, lead singer Manson idolizes Chrissie Hynde and welcomes any comparison, and of course, ‘Special’ contains lines slightly borrowed from the Pretenders. You say ‘what happened to all the COOL bands?’ Well, Garbage is COOL, from the geeky guys from Wisconsin, to the glamorous yet tough Scottish singer Manson.
Special is so good, here are 2 videos of that tune, and our friends at AOL have a whole STACK of videos you can view.
But, oh man, that live version! Me and the wife saw this on SNL several years ago. Simply put: little pink dress and black leather boots.....

Thursday, September 07, 2006

A special afternoon treat
My readers are so nice. Perhaps they would like to see a little Linkin Park? Both are fab, both feature 'Numb', the studio video is for all of us artists everywhere...

The mother-in-law descends....

I have the best mother-in-law. She comes today, and Thai food sounds like the dinner of choice. Although of grandmotherly age, obviously, she is very active, travels all over the world, taught until she was in her 70s, and swims an hour every day. She is a Cornellian, almost 55 years an alum, and suggested several years ago we should move here. My own parents said much the same, and here we are.

Dreaming last night: back to college, arranging my senior show, BUT with pots made this summer. A very slick presentation.

My old friend and football buddy Davis from Portland, Oregon writes:
'what happened to that sugar bowl you were working on for Sharon Arts Center?'
My readers are alert and keeping me honest. Although the firing a couple days ago had a couple piggy banks whose glaze ran (sand the bottoms a bit, give them to visitors to the studio) everything else was perfect, including our friend the little sugar bowl. Here it is on the left, in a line up, with the original also pictured.

Happy Birthday Chrissie!

One day my friends will show me a better way to post links but for now...
These three tunes show Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders in the 70s, then the 80s, and now. The first, ‘Tattooed Love Boy’ is so rollicking good, I think it should be a test of friendship: in order to be my friend, would you rather watch anything by Steely Dan or "Tattooed Love Boy" by The Pretenders? The truth would hurt, but I have standards... Chrissie Hynde turns 55 today!
OK, Chrissie and me. My wife will tell you from firsthand experience that I dig older chicks. Of course, my early training in that direction came from a crush on Chrissie, only 15 years older than me, 30 to my 15 at the time...but she got into that thing with Ray Davies of the Kinks, her mistake. Maybe she is the most influential of them all, a tough chick who could do soft too.
(see also, tough rock chicks in previous posts, Sonic Youth and Plasmatics)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

You know, I work pretty darn hard on this blog, and it is hoped that all my good friends like Alan, Denis, cm, celeste, the missus, my sister and niece are all PASSING THIS AROUND TO THEIR FRIENDS. I appreciate it. I am giving you all a little treat here, the best tune of the 80s, from the Smiths, 'How Soon is Now'. Share it share it share it. The blog, that is.

Piggy Plaque Redux

The plaque of yesterday comes together. I imagine a blue background, white scroll with blue writing, pink pig, maybe blue or green stein.

Buster is a Oenophile

I get letters all the time from people like Natalie in Sonoma. She writes 'you write about beer and beer steins and coffee mugs and teapots all the time. Wine lovers feel left out! Do you make goblets?'
Well, Natalie, I can and sometimes do. Rule one of pottery is only make what you would like to use, and when it comes to wine, I like a glass. Yep, it is true, I wouldn't want one of my own goblets. I came of (pottery) age in a time when the 70s were setting and the NEW AGE was upon us, with lots of big brown pottery goblets for medieval style wine slugging. Not my style. I was commissioned by Grace Episcopal Church of Chicago for a complete communion set in 1993, and I made it, and it looked slick. A couple of goblets, little pitcher, small box for the toast, plate for same, candle holders, even a couple of crosses. The goblet famously slipped to the floor during communion once (must have been a sinner out there) and so in 96 I made them a new, better, slicker set. Anyway, my goblets sell well, and here is a picture of an idea I got yesterday: why not whack the sides in an interesting way? Buster is showing us the first, next to its twin brother not yet completed.

Back to school

It is cold and dark. Last week was August, sunny and hot and bright. Time for school and school buses and strange punk pop music.
Whale was on the radio yesterday and sounded great. A 90s band from Sweden, strange punk pop music and videos.....
Four Speakers is pretty cool, and I bet Celeste and the Missus especially dig it.

125 BUCKS, coffee or tea, with cookies, included

OH, man what a series of pictures! Monday David Makar came over with his friend Nancy, and David is the coolest and most fun companion, and he has HELPED us here so much, when he asked if they could come over and try a project I said 'no problemo'.
Nancy is a computer type, and had never seen pottery making up close. I was a teacher for many years, but retired from that 10 years ago. As these photos show, I first showed some of my finished stuff, then threw a vase on the wheel, then we got down and dirty. I helped Nancy make a mug, using a tin can, and it turned out perfectly. Not bad for a computer type from Boston! The project lasts less than an hour and involved rolling flat slabs of clay, wrapping them around a can and forming a bottom, adding a handle and that's it. David gets to come back in a week and glaze it 'green beans', then ship it or deliver it.
So, OK, 125 bucks. My insurer says 'no customers or students'. No problem, but what if a friend comes over for tea and cookies, as Nancy did, and we happen to make a cup? In the future, wealthy socialites can come over for tea and cookies and drop 125 bucks on the floor accidentally, for the experience.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

I hate orders

If you know me well, you know I don't do orders. Sure, you want a bunny on a blue mug rather than a pig on a green mug, no problem. But you will be sitting at a craft fair and some old duffer will come along, like he knows everything, and tell you to start making New Hampshire's old man on the mountain. Of course, the dang thing fell off the mountain, but what does this guy know? And invariably he thinks I am the crazy one, because I don't heed his brilliant advice. Or a neighbor comes over and tells you about making a bunch of flower pots to turn into a scarecrow. Makes me want to gag. (stories above, and many others, are true...) BUT, I do listen and consider and I am always polite to people, but rarely are their ideas anything I want to do. Because you see, I am an artiste, and stubborn, and why would I be self-employed if I wanted to sit around and do what other people want me to do? Ideally, I make what I want and put it out there for customers to see, and you know what? I sell 100% of my work. So why would I bother with somebody elses idea? It is also true, and every professional artist will tell you this, you do your best work when you are following your own light, and I have made people's custom orders and they are awkward, and not good so that the customer and I are both unhappy. Besides, I run a production studio, and if I slow down to do somebody's idea, I waste A LOT OF TIME.
OK, that said, as I say, I am always polite and listen to people and consider what they say, because sometimes they may have an idea I find interesting. My old pal Alan was here this weekend and has asked for plaques to use in promoting his 'A Good Beer Blog', the close cousin to his 'Gen x at 40'. I thought about it, liked the idea, and here is a photo of the parts that will become a celebratory Beer Blog plaque. This guy owes me, you could say, except he is very nice and generous and this is a very fun idea.

We could be heroes
David Bowie is an old favorite, of course. The wife and I like his early 80s look, handsome and carefully dressed. I had friends in college who dressed like him. The man has a very distinct voice. These 3 videos are great tunes, although 'Rebel Rebel' has a bad start, it gets better.

So yesterday visitors came over, wanting to make pots. Easier said than done, as the Japenese believe it takes 10-15 years to learn to make pots, which I can agree with. But I had a project in mind and Nancy made a terrific little mug, which David will send pics of and then I can post that. Today, the insanity continues, as a friend's daughter is working on a girl scout badge, and will do the same project. I love all these visitors, but what a week! I dreamt last night of my first pottery teacher doing a studio visit, which made me anxious at first, but he was very pleased as I had a full rack of good work completed.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Tax deductible, part 2

The title of the post suggests that research on pigs at the fair makes it a tax deductible expense: looking at and taking pictures of pigs, back to the studio to make and sell pigs! You have parking, ticket, frozen custard, fries.....

So, as I say, the image of piglets with their mother is cute taken to the triple degree. I actually did the sculpture at right a couple years ago, and yesterday was the first time in years I saw little piglets with their mother up close. She had 11 of them, I think, and I would say she was a bit tired. These oreo style pigs are absolutley the cutest, white around the shoulders and middle, black front and back!

Tax deductible

So, yes, I have a small not easily explained fondness for pigs. If you understand that I like to laugh, and I think pigs are the funniest animal out there, 2+2=4 and you say 'he loves pigs', and more than that, I love making pigs. I have explained before that my first was a piggy bank I made in 1989, and have made and sold thousands of them since, also little pigs in and on mugs, and little piggy sculptures too (see picture above!) So, we went to the State Fair, and saw piglets, as pictured here, pig judging, a pig fight, and pigs at play. In every pen with 2 or more pigs, they cuddled up next to each other. In a pair of neighboring pens, two single pigs had fallen asleep with their noses touching. These are intelligent and social animals. The 2 sets of piglets piled on each other, and I took movies of that and feeding too. I don't know why I have a talent for making pig sculptures, especially since I own cats and don't make them easily at all.

urgent: feels like cold as ice
(look at the music samples, videos down the page a bit)
I didn't like Foreigner when I was in high school, and when the radio puts them on I still don't like them. A wee twinge of nostalgia, but more so with Rush and REO Speedwagon which make me feel mushy and I didn't like them then, now I can remember them fondly. So, meeting friends at the NY State Fair, at the free Foreigner concert.....

You know, they were fantastic. Some live bands sound awful on stage but these guys were perfect, if you like Foreigner, but yesterday everybody could enjoy them. An elderly black man standing next to me getting bar-b-q said 'man, they sound terrific'. Whic was true. They did themselves to perfection, no doubt because they have been doing these songs for 30 years and know them well. They don't look young, and are likely pushing 60, but looked healthy and happy, and man, what a drum solo. I loved it.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

friends and relatives

It is all about cleaning the house, then cleaning it again and again. Nothing like having 2 large black dogs who enjoy mud and rain AND a long list of visitors this week.

So, like we were saying the other day, THE CURE!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

311 again and again
The brilliance of a cool, reggae, ska type band playing a slow and smooth version of The Cure's 'Love Song' cannot be overstated. Lookit the video.
I gotta get to work!!!

the celadon centerfold

If upper left is number one, lower right is 12, then 'speckly celadon' is 2, 'Petey Poo Super Celadon' is 9, 'turtle celadon' is 11. Check article below.

celadon not celedon
So for how many years have I been misspelling celadon? I was once a perfect speller, now my brain is overloaded with rock lyrics and dancing piggies, so all those 4th grade spelling lists are tossed onto the scrap heap.
OK, making today: so much stuff. Gotta throw bowls mugs and pigs, the usual suspects. BUT, I am glazing today too, and that is where our friend celadon with an A comes in. I mix all my glazes myself, from my own invented recipes, and I think they are pretty hot and won't share those recipes. Picture above. The master list is in a safe, no joke! I have 3 celadons, although it could be argued they are not true celadons, which is fine. One is called 'speckly celadon', which some people think is a a pale blue, but I have added copper and a tiny bit of cobalt, so I think it is an icy blue/green with tiny blue specks, shiny surface but opaque. 'Turtle celadon' is a transparent and shiny dark mossy green but very sensitive to thickness, so darker to lighter in spots. Good for textured pots. Most recent is 'Petey Poo Super Celadon'. Although opaque, it is also shiny with white streaks, but in my mind, the tone is closest to a true celadon. This glaze is a mix of what I call 'coke bottle celadon' and a bunch of other things I added recently to give the glaze visual texture: white streaks and spots in beautiful and subtle patterns. I developed it over YEARS and finally GOT IT the week my little dog Petey died just a couple months ago. Yes, I spent about 10 years tinkering with a glaze recipe and it is awesome, although the other 2 celadons are also beautiful.
SOOOO, in my mind, what is a celadon? They originated in the far East, Korea, China and Japan. Typically clearish and shiny, a pale, barely green with a bit of gray. It has become in recent years a very popular interior paint color, clothing color, and on pots for sale everywhere, even Target. My sister-in-law Abigail claims it is her favorite color, and her opinon has weight because she lives in Manhattan. When I was in college, my profs talked about celadon's fame in the east. Villages had their particular clan recipes and materials, secretly passed down to each generation, and there would be stories of raids and spying, trying to see how the other guys made it. My last pottery student at Cushing Academy was from Korea, and she gave me a gorgeous handmade vase, carried all the way from home by her parents at graduation (could I thank these people enough? I am unworthy!) and it is shiny, transparent, more grayish with a bare hint of green. It has been carved into floral patterns, which gives the glaze a chance to vary in thickness and appearance.
OK, that replacement sugar bowl for Sharon Arts center will be speckly celadon.

Friday, September 01, 2006

bunnies and frogs

Flaming Lips
Check out the studio version of 'Do You Realize?'

Sonic Youth
Check out the video 'Jams runs free' and watch the cat

OK, so it is late Friday night, Sonic Youth and The Flaming Lips are at the NY State Fair and I am NOT. Enjoy these videos with me instead.

Flaming Lips first. What a bizarre name for a bizarre band. Showmen. Flakes. Funny. 'Do You Realize' is a beautiful tune, mother and father approved, but the animal suits...this video, live in the studio, includes some rather funny band commentary on the outfits.

Sonic Youth have been rocking for 25 years. Kim Gordon married whathisname the songwriter and they had a kid named Coco, and that kid is old now, and this couple is still together and so is this band. She's in her 50s! But oh, she can rock alright. I have a thing for punk bands fronted by tough chicks (see Plasmatics, last week) plus your Pretenders and Blondie. Kim Gordon is the class of the bunch. In the early or mid nineties we were hanging around in Chicago at cousin Betsy's and she was talking about their tenant, who would never remember us, Jim O'Rourke, who did production and whatnot, who was moving to New York to join Sonic Youth. Wow! We had been at parties with a guy who was INVITED to join Sonic Youth! That almost makes us cool too. Some say, maybe it was wikipedia, that since Jim joined they have been rock solid and better than before....believe it. 25 years of punk, and family life too....

gettin' crazy with the cheese whiz
Beck is the man. If you are are a small person, not neccessarily pumped up, pierced or tattooed, hip in a nerdy, intellectual and sensitive way, Beck is your hero. Chicks dig this guy, who is the opposite of the usual rock star persona. Like I say, maybe he looked at the Beastie Boys and created his own star persona, which is how to succeed without seeming to try. Musically, he may be a genius.
The horoscope today says:
Quickie: Do what you feel like doing, especially if it is something you've been putting off
The problem is twofold--I HAVE been doing what I want for a couple of days, including no work, and I have been putting off serious work and a trip to the dump and store and working for the newspaper next door. Full plate today, and I need to throw a rack of mugs and pigs too.
Let’s talk about flower pots first. Danielle in Ohio writes: ‘if you are a potter, why don’t you make pots? As in flower pots?’ Well, I do actually. Some people specialize in them, I usually make a bunch in April and May for spring gardeners. These 3 babies are a special order for cm, who understands the artistic personality. I don’t do well with orders, preferring to make whatever I feel like. cm was a perfect customer and she said: ‘I need a group of 3 flower pots, frogs, cat and bunny. Make them as you wish and glaze them as you wish.’ Perfect. I don’t like customers getting in the way of my work.