Thursday, January 10, 2008

An interview

My old pal Lis Garrett, writer and neighbor (roughly speaking) is planning a feature on ME on her blog. She asked questions, providing me with a chance to procrastinate with my work day and have more coffee. Here's what I said:

How long have you been blogging?

I have been blogging a year and a half. Before that I simply pestered my friends with emails and pictures. I also decided to try using a blog (free!) as a marketing tool: people always want to know what I am making, so why not show them and make it easy for them to shop also?

Describe "Gary," the guy behind Potter's Blog .

I describe myself simply as a reclusive flake. Reclusive because I have been a full-time potter for almost 11 years, which involves hanging around the house with the dogs and cats making things, until my wife gets home. Whereas before 11 years ago I may have been shy, at this point I am probably deathly afraid of people and maybe a little quirky. Such as having lunch at 10 am if I feel like it. And making small clay pigs all day long. But in sum, I like to have fun and I like to laugh and I am hardly ever serious.

What made you decide to become a potter, and have you ever dreamed of being anything else?

What made me decide to become a potter? Every teenager should be as lucky as me. Whereas many 17 year olds get into drugs or become accountants, I was lucky to go to college to study painting. Looking back, I had less painting skill than a 3 year old, so it was fortunate that my first day at college I saw the ceramics studio and never took a painting class. It was like the day my labrador retriever Jack was a puppy and he saw his first tennis ball: destiny! Love at first sight!

What is a typical day like for you?

Today is not typical because I am in the mood to sip coffee and write about myself. That is why I work 7 days a week, in case I have to go to the dentist or I am answering interview questions, you make up for it. Typically up at 5 with the dogs and cats, walk with my wife, blog in there somewhere, then either finish yesterday’s pots or start new ones. The afternoon starts the same, with the walk and more pots or sculpture. I am also the house husband here, and it is my responsibility to cook, which I love, and clean the house daily (ha ha, hoo hoo!) which is incredibly boring and seems to take forever, but a person has to try to keep a clean house, you know? Then the wife comes home and there is dinner and the rest and then I read read read. We have no TV.

If you had a personal motto, what would it be?

I resolved in 2007 to ‘drink only good whisky’ which seems like a useful motto. But a better motto is the summary ‘I like to have fun’.

No matter how a person defines art, what are the qualities you think he or she must possess to be "artistic?"

To be artistic it is not good enough to be creative. I am not impressed by cows chopped in half and placed into aquariums. I think artistic needs to be combined with SKILL, whether skill is acquired through practice or natural ability, you have to always try to perfect your work. Lastly, you shouldn’t be a lazy ass. A lot of artists drink, do drugs, chase women, sleep all day and say ‘yeah man, I’m an artist’ as an excuse for lazy and bad behavior. I respect people who get up early and get to work and make something.

What are your aspirations for Potter's Blog and your business for 2008?

I am lucky. Pretty much if I make it, I sell it. So, keep on truckin’, business wise, including finding another store or two. Having done hundreds of fairs, my back prefers to let somebody else do the selling and heavy lifting. For the blog, I have met quite a few strangers thanks to the blog (so much for being a reclusive flake) and wanna meet more of you! Readers and commenters are so much fun. To that end, I will of course try to visit blog friends in Toronto and elsewhere in Canada, downstate NY and of course, more Ithaca area bloggers! Who is putting that party together, David Makar?

For those people thinking of learning how to throw pots, what advice would you give to them?

Well, give it a try. It is harder than it looks, like rocket science or brain surgery looks easy when you watch an expert. Maybe it will grab you and you will want to do it all the time, which is what happened to me.

What would you like readers to take away from your blog?

That I am a cuddly teddy bear of burning love. Except for when I am snarky and tease visitors and customers. Some people say teasing your customers is bad for business, I find that the opposite is true.

Please add anything else you would like my readers to know about you and Potter's Blog.

Yes, it is ALL for sale. That’s how I buy groceries.


Lis Garrett said...

Thanks a bunch, Gary! Can't wait to put together the interview. ;-)


Greg said...

Very neat. SO that's where you were slacking off to yesterday eh? ;) Good interview.

back to the grind stone.. I mean turning wheel.. umm... spinny round thingy today!

Susan as herself said...

Interesting how the ceremics studio "grabbed you" in college. I felt rather the same way, but being a theater major, was unable to take a ceramics class until my senior year due to schedule conflicts... And when i finally got there I did not feel all that embraced by the ceramics people. Sad, really. Not that I had much natural ability, but I found it fun to go there at night after rehearsal and put on my walkman and make pots all by myself in a big studio. I still have a couple items I made, even. And everyone got pottery for Christmas that year. Hahahaha.

Tink said...

I don't know you and already I'm fairly certain that you rock. Yup, you rock.

gr said...

Our studio, Susan, never closed, and then,as now, I got up very early and worked when nobody else was around.
Whoa. Big praise from Tink.

Lou said...

that really funny and really interesting Gary. I had you as being in your 30's by the way.

Mona Buonanotte said...

I come here BECAUSE you're cuddly and snarky and a tease. And because you draw the cutest darn things on the boxes!

gr said...

Mona! YES!