Sunday, December 31, 2006

Armageddon, maybe not this week

Much discussion of dreams yesterday, and I had a variety of them last night, including one of my senior year in college (one of the top three dream themes) and Denis was there, yes the same Denis who was really there 20 some years ago, and also comments here (happy New Years, BIG D, and thanks for visiting my dreams!). BUT the more interesting, never before seen dream was the one where everybody was getting ready for Satan's ride onto earth with the four horsemen and the ensuing Armageddon and people were moving into backyard shelters BUT I was unconvinced and unworried.
I have a little order for little piggies, which got me thinking I should make little pigs for our 2 cars rearview mirrors, so I made two with loops on back for a bit of string.
The list, Gary's favorite six of '06:
Kasabian 'LSF' was number six.Next, was number 5 311, 'Amber'.
Linkin Park is number 4'Numb' and then 'Numb' live!!!!
At number three on my countdown is Jane's Addiction 'Jane says'!

Number two is Beastie Boys 'Intergalactic'.

Gary's Number One for 2006: Godsmack

Living in New England for so many years, I took Godsmack for granted. Always on the airwaves. Moving this year, to northern NY, I realized they were played so much on Boston radio because they are from Boston. Takes me awhile to catch on sometimes. So, my favorite music videos of 2006, from my top six, GODSMACK.
Godsmack, Marv 'Stands Alone', a clever mix of 'Sin City' clips and Godsmack. Don't forget 'Straight Out of Line' or the tune that put them on the map, the very heavy metal 'Awake'.
And finally, Gary's favorite tune and video of 2006, Godsmack's 'Speak the Truth'. You will know when I have won the lottery, I will be driving a souped up antique hot rod pickup truck with flames on the wheels.

Saturday, December 30, 2006


Not to be confused with George Ohr, the Mad potter of Biloxi.
This relates to glaze chemistry, thanks again for continuing the discussion, Gordo. My instructor Stanley told this story: historically European potter's knew they would go crazy and die young, it just seemed to be a hazard of the job, one hundred plus years ago. Naturally, we know now, that since they used lead in their glaze recipes, it rotted their brains. Naturally, I do not use any lead or terrible poisons in my glazes. Anyway, because potters knew they would go mad and die young, they were party animals, and every Saturday night villagers would say 'lock up your daughters, the potters are coming to town!'.

501 and counting....

From comments below, and this became postworthy, my old pal Gordo writes: I was thinking about the chemistry of pottery the other day, Gary. Well, wondering about it, actually. Fire/heat brings about some cool changes in things, that's for sure. I envy you your strange dreams. I almost never remember my dreams when I wake up. To the point where I don't even remember having dreams at all.

Yeah, Gordo, there was a whole week's worth of dreams last night too. Not helped by the two am cat fight on my feet (the kitten won, as she usually does). Just odd bits and pieces. Typically, my dreams include:
1) people I have thought about recently, or not recently
2) school, esp. college, sometimes anxiety over finishing up my final year's projects
3) WAITING. I guess I don't like to wait.

We had extensive study of glaze chemistry in my ceramics program. It is one of those things that I am very grateful for. My program emphasized 'here is the info, now get to work'. There was no hand holding, just guidance and the expectation that you would work hard. I am very independent in work habits, and Bennington College is part of the reason. As for glaze chemistry, my first attempts at mixing my own glazes, and experiments, started in 95. I had some suggested recipes, and through experiments developed my own glazes. It was quite cool, that first batch of 5 test tiles all with the same base but different additions: the samples with cobalt and zircopax each looked perfect, therefore all my glazes get zircopax!!!! (oops, secret's out...) Then in 2000 gerstley borate, the backbone of those glazes, became scarce, and through trial and error over 4 months I developed a whole different series of glazes, better than before. Through research, I learned that one thing makes a good alternative backbone for a glaze, and certain additions develop glossiness, other additions cause a speckly appearance. The last glaze recipe I developed was a celadon last spring, based on BOTH recipe series, from 1995 and 2000, and in January I have an idea for a simple recipe to develop, for a wild and speckly blue. You never know how these things will turn out, though, as my first attempt at red turned up the awesome and useful piggy pink glaze.

post number 500

It has been said that I am using up a lot of bandwidth. TRUE! 500 posts of Beastie Boys and least I don't waste space on the web, at least I am showcasing that which is IMPORTANT.
I have moved soooo slowly on the red hippo pots for Maggie. OK, Maggie, they are cooking now, about 150 degrees and rising, 2200 degrees by this evening, unloaded and cool tomorrow afternoon. The bright red glaze I use varies in spots between purple to cranberry red to pink, mostly cranberry red, and I call it strawberry. Interestingly, the ingredients use an oxide mix which are GREEN together, but the chemical reaction of fire and temperature result in a red color. That sort of thing is COOL.
Dreamt I was counseling a young person who really wanted to go to the Naval Academy and study pottery. I doubted if the Naval Academy offered pottery....

Number two for 2006

Getting down there, to number two today but the list as it stands:
Kasabian 'LSF' was number six.Next, was number 5 311, 'Amber'.
Linkin Park is number 4'Numb' and then 'Numb' live!!!!
At number three on my countdown is Jane's Addiction 'Jane says'!
OK, the usual core of readers will not surprised to find....Hall and Oates doing the best Christmas songs of the Chipmunks!
No. The usual core of readers here will be relieved to see Beastie Boys 'Intergalactic' is my number two video tune of the year.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Mrs. Pottersblog visits nature

Here at the north pole you will notice a complete lack of snow. We have had a nice green and brown Christmas, little flowers still blooming. Mrs. Pottersblog and I went to Buttermilk Falls today in Ithaca. We did not swim today, but in six short months or less, maybe much less, we could swim in the falls. Ithaca is interesting. Here is this huge and spectacular state park in the city limits, but you get the feeling that until recently it felt like country, now Home Depot and Walmart are across the street!

Music Countdown: NUMBER THREE!

Kasabian 'LSF' was number six.Next, was number 5 311, 'Amber'.
Linkin Park is number 4'Numb' and then 'Numb' live!!!!
.......and noooowwwww, at number three on my countdown......Jane's Addiction 'Jane says'!

Earl and Mooch

How embarrassing! Work is moving at a snail's pace, what with all the fun to be had on a holiday week. yes yes yes, I shall get much done today and tomorrow, and I dreamt last night I was working, although it was a choice between architecture and sculpture and I chose sculpture of course.
Mutts is wonderful. Simply drawn with simple messages. A good successor to Charles Schultz.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

that tweedy look: Handles, chapter 7

But first, dreams. I was working for a tech company (hohohoHO!) as a number two and lying on a couch and we had to interview two people for a job, the first of whom was my wife. My imperious boss didn't say much about it, and the second candidate was very qualified and older, a widow and single mother and he offered her seven and a half million a year. I was thinking my wife could be hired for some fat fraction of that if the company was so wealthy.....I haven't worked for anybody in a long while.
OK, mugs and handles. January is all about new projects in clay for the new year. I am looking around the studio and updating old ideas. I have been fiddling with handles for several months, this guy is a fluted cylinder with a herringbone tweed patterned handle. I know, it looks cool, and how did I do it? I have my secrets.....

2006 Music video countdown, DAY 3

I know, this is very useful and you can hardly wait to see where this list goes.
OK, Kasabian 'LSF' was day one, or should we count it as number six?
Next, day two or number 5 was 311, 'Amber' and I wish I knew where that beach is.
AND TODAY, number 4 on day 3, just to shake things up, Linkin Park 'Numb' and then 'Numb' live!!!! This seems to be about being a young and misunderstood artist in high school. How could you be an artist without first being young, and a social outcast?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

before and after, in process

You can see I carved the top and how seperating it into lid and pot makes it a little smaller.

Little jewelry boxes

Regular readers here will think that I probably spent all of Tuesday looking at music videos for my top six of '06. WRONGO!
Here is a finished little box with a carved top in speckly celadon. I made a bunch yesterday, and you can see I was messing around a bit with the tops. I make them (SECRET!) whole like a balloon then today at half dry they get the tops cut off and finished.

Music countdown day two: top six of '06

My personal favorites of 2006 (although the music may have been made at any time) day two.

Number six was Kasabian 'LSF'

and today, mellowness reigns down at the beach:

'Amber' by 311!!!!


When I was about 9 and Ford was president, I wrote him a letter from our home in Iowa. I suggested that he move the state line of Kansas a little to the east to include Kansas City, Missouri, or instead rename Kansas City, Missouri 'Missouri City'. I received a form letter from a functionary at the White House. I have been a Democrat ever since.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

I AM A BUSY DUDE BUT I CAN DO THIS FOR MY PUBLIC: gary's music video countdown

Gary's 2006 top six on the 26th music countdown to New Year's: IN sum, man, sometimes I wish I was a drummer.....

OK, so I love Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, the Grateful Dead, Motown, The Stones and Queen, but although I don't like rap necessarily, Nu-metal sometimes has some rap in it, and OH GAWD it's all so hard to pin down, BUT, apparently, I like Modern Rock, according to the radio stations I listen to most. There was so much good stuff to listen to and watch this year like Radio 4, Madeline Peyroux, Nickel Creek, but sorry to those guys and Gnarls Barkley, and especially Sonic Youth, but you didn't make my top 6 favorite VIDEOS of 2006, (which may be from any year), day one of my faves: KASABIAN, 'LSF'

back at it

The rack of pots awaiting glaze still sits on the table, must get to it. Abigail says I should make more little jewelry boxes, and she is absolutely correct. Plus of course, pigs small and large.
Our old pal Gordo checks in to say that the especially ordered toothbrush holders with starfish were a hit with Bridget, so really I should make that too. Typically, retail is slow for the next few months, then the spring and summer fair season kicks in, leading again to the Christmas season, where I make what, at least 60 percent of the year's money?
James Brown, one last performance, movin' it, groovin' it....

Monday, December 25, 2006

CHRISTMAS, not just another day

(Maude and her sister Emily, with Emily the cat)
It's funny, I look around on our street and all the houses are still dark. Why aren't all the little kids up at 5 am waking their parents and ripping open presents? Ironically, in our family, Christmas is an afterthought, just another day to eat too much. The German background in our family used the tradition of opening gifts on Christmas Eve, and with our anniversary also on the 24th, by now we are almost partied out. Maude's sister Emily departs midday, her older sister Abigail arrives midday.
I forgot to make any this year, but here is a rather cute Santa candle holder. I make snowmen and Santa dogs too.

James Brown, Godfather of Soul, RIP

People probably think I will listen too nearly any music, but I love Motown. James Brown was the man, and this may be the the best performance by anybody we have had for tunes o' the day. Remember in the Charlie Brown Christmas, how the kids would dance? Watch real hep cats and cool dudes doing the Mashed Potato and the Bugaloo.
Dreaming? Not sugar plums. A visit to Toronto to visit all our friends there and the usual waiting-is-driving-me-nuts sequence with an ATM that was possessed, or at least foreign to this traveler.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

14 years married!

Mr. and Mrs. Pottersblog, then and now. Some of you know her, she's incredible. Happy Anniversary Maude, I love you so!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

messing around with cups

Proportions better this time, base to cup.
Boy, I have guests here shortly, better start baking!

Hippo pots for Maggie

Glazed and fired next week!

Saved by a Woman

Ray Lamontagne is a Mainer who famously spent, as the story goes, the last of the grocery money not on bread for the wife and kids, but on a slick new guitar. He thanks his wife in this song, 'Saved by a woman', a fantastic live piece. Turns out my friend Mike is married to Sheila, of course, but her brother's wife is Ray's sister-in-law. Something like that.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Lesson two, animals in art

OK, so earlier in the week we discussed animals on pre-Columbian pottery. You could have a plain mug, or you could have a mug with a dog on it, just like a still life is a hundred times more fun when it is dogs playing poker.

parade of mugs

I am most disappointed. The cold that produced runny nose and sneezing departed with yesterday's lunchtime chili and double strength coffee. Not much of a cold, really, 24 hours. What a wimp it was in the face of my extra spicy chili!
You will notice that each of these mugs is either an innie or an outey.

free tickets

My Dad and I won free tickets to a Mets game last night, in my dream. We were both rather excited, although the seats were apart. Luckily the guys in between were nice and let us change seats, but that hardly mattered as the stands in front of us moved over to obstruct our view of the field. We ended up looking at a wall, and impatient me, the whole dream was about waiting for the game to start which it never actually did. Watch out for things that are free, they might not be all that great.

not every piggy bank is pink

The Jam and Paul Weller: we were all young once....

Nice clip here of an early Jam performance, early in the punk movement. Kind of, ahem, hard to see how he ended up doing the Style Council thing several years later.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Gordo, David, Bloggers and animals on pots

(from Gordon Campbell, Mayan pot, from El Salvador)
The dishes were filthy but at least the cat box was clean, when David Makar stopped in just now. David is one of the friendliest guys on earth, welcome any time even if the cat box hasn't been cleaned yet. Before we moved to Ithaca, we read his blog, and upon arrival he helped me find galleries and helped my wife find work. Yep, most generous and helpful dude, the coffee pot is always warm for David.
Sadly Gordo lives about three hours north in Ontario, but he is the same sort of fellow, and Gordo, if you are ever wandering around central NY lost, our door is open. Come around even if you aren't lost. The point being, many many many great people have connected to us first through blogs.
Alright, Gordo and his wife Bridget (who is the youngest of 13 kids which I find impressive) went to El Salvador and had a wicked good time and took a boatload of great pix. Including numerous pottery shots. Pre-Columbian pottery is unique in the world for its beauty. It held a sacred place in people's lives hundreds of years ago, and was a fairly low-tech process. Clay was dug, and pots formed without much in the way of tools other than hands. No wheels, just sticks and stones to form pieces, then fired in a way that reminds a person of boy scouts and hot dogs. Looking at this piece and others from around the Americas you are impressed with the skill, and also the importance of animals. Whether drawn or sculpted onto a piece, animal representation on pots is older than the hills. So, no, I am not the first person to put pigs on pots, it is something humanity has enjoyed since civilization began.

....without seeming Grinchlike.....

OK, babysitting last night. Those kids are both good and fun, but having been a reclusive potter for the last ten years, kids impress me. How do my wonderful friends with good kids do it? Awesome. Yes, we saw the Grinch, my mother read it to me every year. I am not drawing any parallels between reclusive potters with dogs and reclusive green curmugeons with dogs.

pottery planters, pillars and dogs

There is an order for a planter to hang on the wall. This introduces new possibilities. I wasn't sure where I was going with the idea but it came out beautifully, so I am running with it now. (small one fired, larger and newer one just finished)

OK, back to being my reclusive self. The stay at home potter with a cold, part 2. If you work at home and have work to do despite the cold, there is nothing stopping you from geting the work done. The hippos happen, the pigs are produced. Such is the day in front of me. Continuing a theme, Paul Weller and 'Style Council' for tunes o' the day.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I am a sick puppy

You know how you're at the store and some guy is sneezing and coughing all over and you're thinking 'eeewww, why did he come out here to share his germs with everybody and make them sick?'. I was that guy this morning at Target, but I was well when I left the house, but in six miles and six minutes I became a sneezing fool. I stocked up extra on tissues and chocolate for the long haul. After lunch I was like 'OMG! I'm bleeding all over!' but I realized it was just chili I had slathered all over my face. I'm not that sick, just a messy eater.
So, what does the self-employed work at home potter do when sick? Depends. If stuff is drying, like today, he works through it then reaches for the down comforter and pillow. I am calling it a day early. Later I babysit with the wife next door. This is a first, a reversal: I will be sneezing upon the kids, making them sick. They have done it to me a few times....
OH, so this group of pics. I have an idea for a type of cup with a new type of patterned handle. The cup and handle looked good, the base way too big. It goes on the scrap heap. Make another tomorrow and see how it goes.

Clown on a pot

Mr Clown is fired and finished. Yabba dabba doo!

Mr Clown is glazed

Yesterday he was glazed and fired and a quick peek into the cooling kiln tells me he is a winner! Picture later of the finished item.
I am working on many things here including procrastinating again (lalalalala!) on the many piggy banks I owe a certain store in Massachusetts, but I have an interesting order for planters, plus plates for US and of course, Maggie's jars with hippos. I think I am visiting a store to give them a refill and update today too.
Yes, stay tuned.

Sammy and his chubby sister have some turkey

Well, they did a minute before this picture, then they have to spend an hour preening in front of the dogs.

The Jam, 'Town Called Malice'

The Jam, 'Town Called Malice'.Perfect.
And then in the dreaming department, back as a high school football player but the whole dream was getting ready for a game, just endless suiting up. I am even more impatient in my dreams than I am awake (Denis says I am the most impatient person on earth) and then another dream about unloading endless cartons of tomatoes into a karate dojo's lunchroom. Useless.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

more piggy love

Is "Charlotte's Web" the ultimate storybook for this vegetarian potter pig lover? Having read and enjoyed the book and its illustrations several times, I ask 'do we need a new movie of this classic?' Considering the picture of the cute little Wilbur and Fern above, the answer is 'YES'. I have heard that the author EB White's grandchildren would visit and play with his pigs in the barn, and were, ahem, shocked to find he planned to baconize them. The man who created Wilbur!
Toot and Puddle pictured here also, sharing some porcine holiday love.

Slow motion action sequence sugar bowl

Making plates again Monday, a gift to myself (what are friends for after all?) and the phone rang and I grabbed a scrap of paper to record a message for my wife. There was an order on it (surprise!) for Maggie: a red sugar bowl and a red jar for a pound of coffee, both with hippos. How quickly I forget these things, and this was properly recorded and set on the, shall we say, business corner of the glazing table.
Then the phone rings and David Makar says he is coming over for the usual bawdy talk and local gossip, and to buy presents for his parents and grandmother. I needed a photographer, David filled in, so Maggie, here is your sugar bowl action photo sequence.
OK, Iggy Pop and 'Lust for life'. He's just a modern guy.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Sammy says:

"I am handsome and my little sister is fat."

Sammy and my 16th anniversary: not just another cute cat post

Sammy was my bachelor cat, and chose me for a human pet on December 18th, 1990. That's a long time ago!
Sammy had been left in a box overnight on a shelter's steps in Chicago with a bigger cat thumping his head in temps well below freezing. I lived on that street and stopped in one day to play with the shelter's kittens and Sammy jumped on my lap and began purring. He was a tiny fuzzball, all tail. I ran home and grabbed the checkbook, and on my return he again jumped in my lap and began to purr. He came home with me, but nearly died that weekend because of the little cat cold he had caught. I kept him cuddled next to me and warm, but he wouldn't eat or drink, and finally I poured water down his throat and began pushing turkey baby food into his mouth. He liked that, and has been healthy and happy since. A year later the woman who would become Mrs. Pottersblog stopped in, and sat down to play with him. He pranced around, crawled into her skirt and vomited. She passed his test with humor and grace, and we were married the following December.
I'm lucky Sammy, you're a great friend.

blue plate special

First thing's first: I have Iggy Pop on the mind, so here is a live performance with all the usual shirtless dancing and prancing. The man who invented punk!
As for plates, I was feeling so clever yesterday. I told myself 'hey, I can make a fresh stack of plates to serve guests next Saturday!' but any potter might laugh at that, realizing that the stuff has to be finished, dried, fired first then glazed and fired second, which at the soonest would be while the guests are eating the vegetarian feast I plan to make. With paper plates, I think.
OK, on to dreams. I dreamt of Mrs Pottersblog's boss last night, which is unmemorable, but then I dreamt we adopted the enormous, epileptic St. Bernard who lives up the street. Oscar makes our huge dogs look tiny but he is a sweet boy but rather drooly.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

gratutitous teapot shot

Where are the fun and wild dreams? AWOL last night. Dave Matthews and 'Crush' for tunes o' the day. WXRV radio in Boston overplayed Dave Matthews, and I was starting to lump him in with the Steve Miller Band and Elton John...YUCKKO! A little distance and time has done wonders. Nice tune and live performance here.

Mr. Clown finds a home

So, yes, sometimes I make ordinary vases (ho hum! but this guy on the left does have a satisfying shape). I made Mr. Clown the other day, and he may represent my obsession of 2007 (let's see, 2004 was pigs, 2005 elephants, 2006 was starting to look like zebras) and in an unusual bass-ackwards twist, THEN I got the idea for the pot to go with the clown. Mr. Clown will be nicely glazed in different colors, on top of this jar which will feature different swirly glaze colors.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Sales have been GOOD

So, this stuff is on its way to Santa's workshop (well, galleries and stores)and then some lucky person's stocking.

Smashing Pumpkins 'Tonight'

Sure, loads of strange dreams last night. Alison's baby spitting up on me, trying to go skiing when the mountain has no snow but I spend half the night waiting for a clerk to sell me a lift ticket, I mean, what a waste of time!
Smashing Pumpkins give us an excellent tune here with a pretty fantastic dream sequence like an old silent film with Jules Verne undertones.

inspirational pigs

It is time to talk about Toot and Puddle by Holly Hobbie. These are my favorite illustrated pigs, and she has a way of drawing them sweetly and simply and unsentimentally. How does a person say this without sounding like a fool? Basically, there are times I want to walk into her illustrations of Toot and Puddle's house or their adventures and join them. Very high praise for an illustrator, the best.

Friday, December 15, 2006

all that hair weighing me DOWN

And muddling my thoughts. I took off a few pounds of fuzz from the top of my head just now and my brain is feeling much lighter. I was looking like this clown here, hair sticking up high towards the heavens.
Tunes o' the day, James and 'Frustration'. Yes.