Friday, February 29, 2008

ppphhhlllbbbbtt Phebruary!

(rude gnome sculpture by Gary Rith)
I've had it with February. Tomorrow is a BIG day, the missus, my niece AND my dog Buster all have birthdays March 1. In the meantime, February still stinks. I had fired the kiln yesterday plus blasting the heat, I am making great things this morning, BUT my hands are already is hard to keep a studio and your water bowl warm, therefore icy fingers.

(pots by Gary Rith)

Some stuff out of the kiln this week. Kinda reminds me of 'red hots' candies.

February is a STINKER

And we get this extra day.
January is bad enough, February is a long slog. Went out with the dogs just now and it is 10 below, about 25 below C, with snow getting in the dogs' paws and more snow expected later.

I DID dream of beaches last night. A Great Lake in the summertime, and going swimming....

Holley suggests: James and 'Laid'

Radio DJ called this the 'dirty song'. Well, it is funny and bawdy!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Jack and Penny

the MEANING of this blog

When I began this blog one and a half years ago I had a 3-part plan. Now remember, my life is very ordinary and quiet, so it is surprising I was able to think of THREE daily items of interest. The list was: my pottery work that day, tunes o' the day and dreams o' the day. I became embarrassed about my dreams, left off music sometimes, added unicorns occaisionally, then started putting in a lot of pet pictures.
OK, I am not so embarrassed by my dreams obviously, and I hope they are amusing, so now I have decided to call it like it is, the official FOUR-PART purpose of potter's blog:
Daily dreams, music, pottery and pets by Gary Rith. There. No mention of unicorns, unless I dream of them.

more useless dreams from a fuzzy head

Mmmm, so, dreamt last night that I was in a large lecture hall, like a VFW, being lectured on shotguns and gun safety by a little kindergartner in a wheelchair. Then the Scouts tried to recruit me to be their assistant lacrosse coach. I know nothing of lacrosse, scouts or guns.....

Shane checks in from Derry, Northern Ireland

You know how it is, a wide variety of Nigerians and Bulgarians send you spam and try to get into your accts. Potters are alway struggling to keep their secrets, as we know from the whole Kayla/Virginia thng, and now Shane writes from Derry, Northern Ireland:

"Hi,After trawling the internet looking for pottery related to flowers and plants, I found your site and I really like your work. I am studying art and design at school and I would like to include you and some of your pieces as my 'work of others' research. If its not too much trouble, could you email me a short paragraph or two about yourself (why are you interested in pottery, when and where you were born) and some information on the two pieces which are mentioned at the bottom of this email (size, inspiration, how they were made, technique).I realise that you don't know me and you probably aren't too sure about giving a stranger these details, but I am not asking for anything personal unless you are happy to mention it. Please get back to me as I am on a deadline for this work. I appreciate your help and your work, here are the pieces I am asking about;"

I reply:

"Sure thing, except tell me where you are studying and live, which I think is a fair exchange!
There is a lot more info on me at my blog
which has my bio across the right side and many examples of my work and everyday______whatever.

The 2 examples below are easy to talk about. Sip, swig, savor is a plaque showing a pig dog and bunny eating and drinking, and was used in an exhibit at a restaurant. The theme of the show was sip, swig, savor. I enjoy sculpting little animals, and I also enjoy making miniature pots on the wheel, so this combined both. It is about 8 inches in diameter.
The bowls I made after I saw Japanese celadon glazed bowls in the shape of lotus flowers at a museum. My bowls turned out well, but I plan to do them again in a different way. Each bowl is a large soup or salad size, 6-7 inches in diameter.

I went to college to study painting but saw the ceramics studio my first day and got into that instead, 25 years ago. I have been full-time for about 11 years, and it is my career and income. I think there are a lot of ordinary brown pots in this world, and I like to make pieces that are bright and fun, which most of my work is. My wife and I lived in New Hampshire for many years but moved to Ithaca, NY 2 years ago, the coolest place on earth.

OK Shane, ball is in your court, who are you etc? Hope this helps!


Shane tells us a little:

"Thanks for replying so quick, it was a great help. I live and study in Derry, Northern Ireland. I am in 5th year at Saint Columbs college and I am studying lots of different subjects but I enjoy art. We have a great ceramics lab which is where I make all my ceramic pieces. I am still very amateur but I am improving.Thanks, Shane"

OK, Shane, but next time you OWE US pics of your own work, we'd love to see it here!!!!

'Sit down' by James

A huge favorite in this household, first LIVE then an unplugged and very funny studio video of the same song. 'Sit down' is nearly 20 years old!

from here to there

(pots by Gary Rith)
So, cow and pig thing going up top, and you can see a bit what it looks like when fired. Then middle and lower I was making giraffe mugs for Suzette. Imagine them yellow, with the handle sporting a spotted pattern.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

OK, maybe 10-12 inches

The little dawg leads the way out into the snow and over to the park. The snow looks rather spectacular on the trees. The picture of missus pottersblog and Penny on the bridge is looking up the river toward our back yard, over her shoulder behind her, up on the right.

I made some jokes about the missus, her hooded parka, and Kenny on South Park. Maybe I should shovel a little. The neighbors offered the use of their snow blower, but I am secretly hoping they just do my driveway for me. I have been nice to them lately! Gave them beers for their birthdays! This is when it seems like I am a very bad and selfish person.....

a little morning work!

(pots by Gary Rith)

Below you see the bowl yesterday which I gave 3 whacks to for that post-modern look, and another witch bottle! This looks so good.
Grego may come over next week with Suzette from Canada, and they ordered, what, 8-10 items? I am making doubles of all of them, in case, you know, of problems. So, finish that stuff this afternoon and maybe make some spaghetti sauce too.

Molly Ringwald and me???

Another night of useless dreams. It was the 80s, I was single and in my 20s and a medical student (Laughter all around!) in a very dangerous New York City, which was nevertheless very exciting. I became romantically involved with Molly Ringwald, a surprise because I don't recall thinking about her much 25 years ago, so why does she pop up in my dreams now? As my girlfriend?
Enjoy this rather fabulous Pshychedelic Furs tune 'Pretty in Pink', one of my favorite 80s bands. I have not one but TWO pairs of vintage Ray Ban Wayfarers, from that time period, yes I do....

at least it is pretty

A look out the back door this morning. Maybe seven inches of snow. The snow on the trees is blocking the view of the river back there, and the hundreds of little ducks and geese huddling on shore.

(pig wall pieces by Gary Rith)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

spectacular elephant jars

(pots by Gary Rith)
I wish I took better pics, but one day soon I will. These look more groovy in person.

wood and metal photo challenge

(Penny at the wooden gate with the metal latch)

Tink's weekly photo challenge is one of those fun games to keep the ideas flowing, and have a good time too. This week, metal and wood, and until a minute ago, I had no idea what to do. But sitting there looking out the window and eating a monster peanut butter and jam sandwich, I saw the gate in the yard, and said 'ah ha! just add a beagle!!!!'.
Our winter in central NY, unlike much of the rest of the northeast and New England, has been mild. Yesterday was once again warm and sunny and the scant inch of snow we had melted away. Today is more typical February (more typical for the whole year!) with snow and ice coming down and arctic winds. No biggee, March is coming!

wicked step-children!

Dreamt that I had gained two awful teenage step-children. The girl took off for who knows where, stealing the car. I thought I would break the ice with the boy by playing ping pong. He was nearly a foot taller than me, but he started a fistfight and I had to kick his a$$. That solved nothing. Then I am awake and don't feel especially alert or refreshed.


Karoke video!!!!!!!!!!!!! Why do I want to hear this today? Is it like a caffeine boost to an otherwise groggy person?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Breaking news: 'Virginia's' real identity and her novel and blog

(Kayla and one of Kayla's wicked cool pots)
OK, just before Christmas I had an email from a stranger asking for my glaze recipes, which I thought was Denis or Gord pulling my leg. NO. It was a real high school pottery student, and I said 'Yes Virginia, there may be a Santa Claus, but is it me?', meaning, you think I am gonna give away my glaze recipes? I'm not that nice. So, in blogging this and to preserve her identity, Virginia stuck. But her real name is Kayla and she is writing a book and has a blog now and she wants to share it with the world, and I think this young person is creative and fun, so check it out!

I give up

Comment moderation is irritating. I like the free flow of ideas and baloney here. If you see comments here from somebody like 'Zebesa' that says 'click here' DON'T CLICK on it because it may have a viral link.

the Oscars and today's cultural lessons and discussions

So Juno won best screenplay for Diablo Cody and she totally deserves it and the movie, in my mind, could have won more Oscars, such as Ellen Paige winning best actress rather than whatever character did win. My mother-in-law won't see it because she thinks it glorifies teen pregnancy (watch out Jamie Lynn!) but I think it is about a young person in a difficult spot, as old as history, and how she deals with it. It is about character and love and support. Adults need to wake up and pay attention too, I think, because as the step-mother says 'young people get bored and they have socks'.
I have read 'No Country for Old Men' and will not see the movie. It is a blood fest. Other than 'Rattatouille' and nominee 'Persepolis', I am not too interested in the rest. Next week is the missus' birthday and we go to 'La Dolci Vita', a classic!

my own witch bottles!

(^bottles by Gary Rith)

So my first witch bottles are out of the kiln and they look fab.

I need to think of some people to put spells on...

I take terrible snap shots. I need to get a lighting booth of some kind....

(pots by Gary Rith)

guest DJ Holley presents The Pet Shop Boys!

And 'West end girls'. Me and the missus had listened to ths Sunday, and then Holley suggested, so of course it goes up. The hair! Pure 80s!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Denis checks in with pottery in action

(pots by Gary Rith)
Denis sends this pic of my flower pots and the plants his mom put in them. SHARP!
Denis also writes to say that the nu!e beach outside Newport, Vermont is being closed! Quick, call the president, write your congressman, but what will the natur!sts of northern Vermont do!? I mean, summer is so short, and Vermonters have all that pale flesh to tan!


You read that the KGB used Bulgarians for their dirty work, which may or may not have been true.
I have had a visitor nearly everyday who comments here legit, using a blogger acct, saying 'Look here' or 'Look at this' etc. Anyone who clicks receives a nasty computer virus. Well, sitemeter tells me it is from Bulgaria. Phhhhlllbbbbtttt! I am using comment moderation for the foreseeable future.

an announcement! and Virginia checks in

Aara and Greta made a picture of me and I love it so much!

(Regular season's over....)
OK, so many things to talk about. FIRST OF ALL, our old pal, the high school potter, Virginia checks in.

"Hey Gary, it's been a while and just thought I'd check in, because, you know, i haven't in like, forEVER. sorry about that. Been busy lately. Unfortunately, not with pottery, that wont start again until April. My classes at school ended so i have to enroll elsewhere.

no, my friend, i have been busy with English. [hooray!]. my second favorite thing, aside from art, would be English. I'm taking honors English 2 this year, AP next year. I've been writing a whole lot, reading a bunch too. I started a book, and just got the first chapter done today. Started it weeks ago."

Regular readers of this blog will be disappointed to hear she is on a break from pottery, as she makes fun pots that potsblog readers enjoy most. But a book? That's fantastic news too, and I will ask her if she will let me share it with all of you.
As a 41 year old with very little talent or ambition or ability or energy I shake my head in wonder at youth: all those sharp brain cells! All that energy and creativity! In the Monday afternoon pottery class I am taking there is a 17 year old girl whose drawings would knock your teeth out. She is trying pottery to expand her admissions portfolio to college. You get excited about young artists and new visions.

OK, secondly, we can all admire my old pals greta and Aara's rather fine rendering of ME making pottery. Greta and Aara come over here sometimes for clay and burritos. I owe them A MILLION burritos now for this fine rendering!!!! I have always thought 'Gary Potter' makes a good joke, and now somebody has brilliantly put it together for me!

Yesterday afternoon we spent an extremely satisfying 2 hours watching Cornell women's hockey against Harvard. Harvard scored 4 in the first 2 periods, but Cornell's women must have had some snicker's bars and double shots of espresso before the third and final period, because they were FIERCE and scored 2. They lost the game, but winning the third period felt good. Supposedly there is less contact and fighting in a women's game, but it still looks rough to me. The player pictured above is one of the captains and also our old pal Denis' neighbor from northern Vermont, Caelagh Beerworth. YES, Beerworth, and you don't want to meet her in a dark alley because she is very tough. I love hockey and I'm sorry the college season is ending, but presumably the crummy winter weather ends with it, so....

Finally, I have to change comments. On a daily basis this blog's comments get a 'go here' type of thing, which leads to a VIRUS. I don't know what type of cretin thinks sending out viral links is fun, but I don't want them passing through my blog. So, comment as usual, then it will pop up a little later. Sorry! I love you all! Just don't want to spread this disease....

Saturday, February 23, 2008

down for the count!

I have given blood a million times in my life, but today I finished donating and was slurping down the juice and my head started swimming and falling all went black and next I knew I was lying on the floor with 3 nurses and my wife and I started to feel a little better but they moved to a cot in the broom closet (REALLY!!!!!!! the broom closet!!!!) and I was there awhile and then asked to go and my beautiful wife bought me lunch. I have never fainted before, but can't explain it. Before I gave blood, my BP was 120 something over 80 something, 1/2 hour after I fainted it had recovered up to 90 over 60. Wow! I wonder what it was when I hit the floor, like 10 over 9?
I am not a wimp, OH NO! This happened, remember, long after I was done with the needle...
(as for shoving me in the broom closet, I bet it is BAD FOR BUSINESS when people pass out after giving blood, and they know all the donors will leave!)

piggy postcard to the UK

(pig on mug by Gary Rith)

(pottery by Gary Rith)

Had an email from the UK, where somebody is desperate to find cow and pig mugs. Don't worry, you've come to the source. I have to hold myself back and NOT put a cow or pig on every mug (or a dog or elephant etc).
I am thinking that if the customer wants both a cow and a pig on the same mug, the examples below, where they are in relief on the side, is the best idea.

(pottery by Gary Rith)

O negative

They called 3 times this week, and they want my blood. Off to give a pint of my best to the Red Cross. I am told that my type, O negative can go into anybody, therefore they pester me. They better be gentle.

Rolling Stones 'Time is on my side' yes it is...

Friday, February 22, 2008

Kate checks in with: BEAGLE CUTENESS!

Potsblog friend Kate sends us this photo of when she was a little girl with a little beagle!

"Now isn't this the cutest thing? ha! That's me, in 1958, (I was 6 yrs old) with our house beagle 'Jiggs'. We were teaching him how to sit up and beg. I loved that dog - I think he died when I was about 12, it broke my heart. Isn't it something - it makes me miss him even to this day, just thinking about him.
We've got about 5-6 inches of snow already. It just keeps coming down. Have a great day, you two.Kate & Jim"
Thanks Kate and Jim, best to you both!


(elephant pots by Gary Rith)

Some pottery items make sense: a trunk turned into a handle, a trunk turned into a pouring spout.

the year of the beagle

(our Penny, champion Uno's cousin: she's adorable, but no angel)
The Ithaca paper had an excellent article about beagles this week. Cute and lovable but loud.

"When Uno the beagle got caught up in the excitement of his big win at Westminster Kennel Club, he reacted just as a beagle-lover would expect: with a joyful noise.
“That's their way of telling you they're happy,” says Joan Kerr, who runs Penny Angel's Beagle Rescue in Ventnor, N.J. “They were originally bred as hunting dogs — if they see a rabbit or a bird or a squirrel, they'll bark.”

Celebrating a rabbit, a bird, your homecoming from a day at work, or winning best in show, it's all one to a beagle. And for those that love them, their vocal antics are charming, says Christine Tartaro of Galloway, N.J., a volunteer with Kerr's rescue. At gatherings of beagles and owners, “sometimes something sets them off and all the people have to stop talking. We all think that's cute,” she says.
Of course, not everyone agrees. So if you're feeling inspired to get a beagle after watching the delightful Uno become the first of his breed to win best in show at the nation's biggest canine competition, there are some things you need to know.
Beagles are already one of the most popular breeds in the country. Their compact size, easy grooming and loving nature make them excellent companions for the right family.
But they are also talkative and stubborn. As Kerr puts it, “Beagles have a mind of their own. You have to be one step ahead of a beagle all the time.”
Combine this with the focus on scents that comes from their past as hunters and you can have a problem. “They're going to follow their noses no matter what,” says Tartaro — even if it means ignoring your commands. “There are some dogs that are eager to please. With beagles, sometimes it's ‘Make me!”'
This makes them bad candidates for play at your local off-leash dog park unless it's very securely enclosed. And you need to be serious about your own fencing, as well. Escaping the yard again and again is one of the main reasons beagles are surrendered to Kerr's rescue.
“Even if you have a fenced yard — some will even dig under a fence and go,” Tartaro warns.
All this means that sometimes owners find the dogs give them more than they bargained for: Kerr's organization rescues more than 300 beagles a year just in her local area around southern New Jersey. "

Queen 'You're My Best Friend'

As the missus says, 'that's a lot of big hair'. Classic Queen here for all my friends who have had a rough week. CM commented yesterday that she has been laid off, Jim of Kate and Jim has been ill, and so forth. I dreamt CM came to visit us as a matter of fact, but anyway, my thoughts are with all my friends today and I wish you well.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

guest potter Pam McFadyen

Yesterday I was talking about Toronto's Gardiner Museum, and Pam stopped in and commented! A Toronto potter and blogger, yippee! Pam, please feel free to go into comments and tell us more about yourself and your fine work, and everybody else can visit her blog and etsy shop and spend some money.

3 vases

(vases by Gary Rith)

'High School Confidential' by Rough Trade

When I was in high school in western NY, I listened to CHUM fm radio from the north side of Lake Ontario in TO. It was excellent, but I hadn't thought of Rough Trade in almost 30 years. Grego mentioned it yesterday, so here's more from best of the 80s.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

the Easter Beagle

......OK, back to work.....

Wednesday afternoon

(pots by Gary Rith)
Glazed earlier and just finished these guys and my hands are little frozen ice cubes. 16 degrees outside, and maybe 17 degrees inside the studio? Where's the teapot? I gotta thaw out.

CM suggests: The Gardiner Museum!

The Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto has a little brother called The Gardiner, JUST FOR THE POTTERY. CM and her dude B. are obviously wicked good fun, but imagine visting them in TO for the fun of it and making it a TAX WRITEOFF???????? I don't do anything unless I can write it off on my taxes.

my new friend and tenant!

(downy woodpecker in a little purple birdhouse)

We have 2 bird houses painted to match our purple house (cutesy cutesy, matchy matchy!) and a wren lived in the far one last spring and summer. This cute little downy woodpecker female moved into the one right by the house this week!!!!

Anyone Else but You!

Me and the missus are playing the Juno soundtrack over and over and over and over, with this tune our most favorite. Here's Ellen Paige and Michael Cera singing it from the movie, and then The Moldy Peaches singing the original. Oooph, sad and sentimental.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

viva la revoluccion!

'Everyday nonsense, pottery and pets by Gary Rith', I think that will be the new potsblog credo.
This blog tends towards nonsense and pets more than anything else, though, right?

This whole thing about Uncle Fidel 'retiring' got me thinking. I am an anarcho-punk progressive potter and pig-loving vegan, but no fan of thuggish Stalinists, fascists or republicans. I am, however, a fan of Bart's creator Matt Groening. Ever notice that good cartoonists never run for office, but wisely sit on the sidelines throwing comic arrows into the pile instead?

I must be tired, rambling like this, where's the beagle, where's the bed?

dog, cat, rat?

Mary Lee suggested this rather funny but improbable YET TRUE video of a man walking his dog, cat and rat down the street

Karma Chameleon!

Kate and Jim suggested this Culture Club tune which did not ring any bells in my tiny brain until it played and you know I said 'oh that's what Boy George was saying!'.


(pottery by Gary Rith)

OK, so Tink has the weekly photo challenge, curve and found. She also emailed me this week about my elephant teapots, seen here freshly made at the top. He has, of course, a nicely curved belly. These 2 mugs just popped out of the kiln, and I am very excited about them. It is a new idea. They are work intensive, with many dents and divots defining the curves, but heck, there are so many ordinary mugs in this world, why not....