Monday, December 31, 2007

bye bye 2007 from a fortunate guy

HELLO Penny and Spike

Sammy: 1990-2007
Sammy was my bachelor cat, I got him as a little stray kitten in Chicago a year before my wife and I started dating etc. The day he met her he vomited on her skirt. He was a little moody, but absolutely beautiful and my best friend and I miss him. He died in April, nearly 17 years old, of tainted pet food. How do you explain to somebody who doesn't know or like cats or pets how much I loved him?
BUT, God moves in mysterious ways indeed, and Penny came along. A stray beagle who had apparently had a litter of pups (never found) lost in a snow storm came to us at the end of April. The vet says she is 2, and she is another stray to have changed my life.
During the summer I was a volunteer amongst the cats at the local shelter, and of the hundreds of cats there, I always pushed the guy I thought was the friendliest of the hundreds there, Spike. Nobody saw my wisdom, and in August, Spike came home with us, a 3 year old, enormous grey tiger who is so friendly and relaxed, and best of all, a great friend to all the other dogs and cats here.
You would realize, reading this, that ours is a family who is obviously lucky enough to grieve over and love cats and dogs, we are definately not people starving in Pakistan. My wife and I are extremely fortunate. We pay our bills, we have fun, we read books and walk dogs, we blog. I get to hang around the house like a five year old, playing with clay all day, laughing at life and the funny figures I can make for other people. In 2007 alone, counting an order I filled today, I had sales from this blog numbering 250 items. That's a big number, and thanks all of you for your help and support.
Best of all, the blog helped me hang out with new people like Kate and Jim, Mary Lee, OGP, Louisa, Kim, Lis and many other new people plus old blog friends like Greg, Gord, Denis, Celeste, CM and on and on. Does anybody have any idea how much fun it is to trade jokes with you people, and when we're really lucky, actually meet and spend time together?
Very fortunate indeed.

abominable snow beagle

Six inches of pretty, sticky snow, more of same due tonight followed by deep freeze and then (yippee!) warm and rainy weekend.

Penny zipped around in the snow then dug through so she could eat dirt. Beagles.

Tomorrow: more calm, more manic, (more cute!): lessons from my beagle.

Kate and Jim ask about TV....

'Do you really not have a TV?'

To which I reply:

'Is it really so radical to have no TV? Be a vegan? Be a potter? Be a reclusive flake? I find that no matter what I like or do my friends range all over the place and have qualities and tastes very different from me, so a lack of TV is not really a statement or anything like that. We lived in New Hampshire for ten years. The house came with the biggest damn antennae on the roof you have ever seen, remember those? We got 8-11 stations from NH, Boston and Maine. When we moved to Ithaca our TV got no signal so we gave it to my mom and dad, and havn't thought about it. We have a cute little dvd player that allows us to lie in bed with the dog and watch movies. We're thinking of netflix. I do miss football and hockey, but a break of 2 years, man, it seems like a lot of ads! I read a tremendous amount, and like music videos on youtube, as everybody here knows.
About 6 new inches here on the ground, snow-wise. I hear you guys will get the worst of this storm!!!!!!!!! Best wishes, GR'

worms and frogs

(bowl by Gary Rith)

I took the boot out of the baby kiln and fired this bowl. Boy, that purple glaze swings!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

NO TV and a boot in the kiln

(mugs by Gary Rith)

There is no TV in our house and we watch movies on a little portable dvd player. But, there was the Patriots and Giants on TV last night, I am catsitting a neighbor's cats, and it turns out they have a huge new flat screen TV. As much as I miss football and hockey on TV, has anyone noticed how many annoying ads there are? Actually, EVERYBODY and EVERYTHING on TV is annoying. Anyway, most excellent game and now the Patriots move on to another Super Bowl.
There is a whole boatload of football on TV today at the cat's house, but I think I will give it a pass and go back to my TVless existance.
My usual working kiln, a medium-large electric with a computer firing panel, broke down a week ago and I am waiting for parts. Luckily, I had finished all my Christmas orders the days before, so it is not bad to have a slow week. I have used the baby kiln. It easily fires to 2200 degrees as needed, but as I have said and now prove, it only holds a few things, is big enough to only hold a boot. Not even a large boot.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

its my dog in a box!

Here's a rarity: Penny in her bed rather than in mine. Usually her bed is full of cats.

Bill the Cat, me and Spike the Cat

I don't know if Spike likes the comparison here.

Genius of Love by Tom Tom Club

Classic Talking Heads side project with animated video. 1981! So long ago.

Friday, December 28, 2007

pair of purple mugs

(by Gary Rith)

With a sort of loopy handle.

giving blood

I have o negative and I am constantly in demand. I gave a pint yesterday, and the missus suggested Japanese takeout and (speaking of foul-mouthed) the movie 'Superbad' to celebrate. My wife is incredible.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

get high on pottery!

I have looked for this for awhile: South Park has a clip in the middle of a song where a kid is spinning around on a pottery wheel under a poster of 'get high on pottery'. Here is the whole foul-mouthed segment below.

Christmas scenes

(Gary and Penny, Mrs Potsblog mixes some patterns, Mrs Potsblog, her sister and I made 4 batches of jam on Christmas)

We picked those berries last summer but it was hot and we were busy so they sat in the freezer until now--now we have so much jam.

I dreamt last night, for the second time this month, that I was painting a picture (I am not a painter). It was a highly detailed, step by step process. If I can remember, maybe I can paint?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Kim's dog SPENCER


OK, Kim is one of my friend Denis' many girlfriends, and Kim is also a friend of mine (and potsblog's!) and a neighbor. Denis actually lives in Vermont and Kim lives here in central NY, but anyway, Kim keeps sending me these pictures of her dog Spencer. He is a weimeraner, a famously (fill in blank with term that suggests dimwitted) breed, but why is this dog wearing a jumpsuit and sleeping on a chair in the dining room? I mean, even my dogs aren't that crazy and spoiled!

little cup and saucer

(cup and saucer by Gary Rith)
Notice all the lovely drippy blue glaze!

Good morning amigos.


Boxing Day is probably important to my friends in the UK and Canada, but for Americans it means 'go to the big box stores and shop for sales'.
For me, these puppets singing the SNL 'D!ck in a box' strikes that Christmas-Boxing Day note.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry merry!

(a handful of mini piggy banks by Gary Rith)
This is a day of thanks. I hope all of you have something to be thankful for, and something to share too.


Mrs Potsblog and her sister Emily (and Penny) spent two days making 12 dozen spitzkuchen, little chocolate cakes covered with jam and chocolate. We ended with extra chocolate and dipped all kinds of foods in it.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Mr and Mrs Potsblog: 12/24/1992-12/24/2007

(Gary and Maude 2007, Gary and Maude and Rev. Curtis 1992)
Whoa, 15 years!
4 dogs
3 cats
4 cars
4 apartments
2 houses
4 states
4 towns
3 washers
3 beds
1 couch
1 loveseat
3 computers

...and just you and me...
I love you sweetie!

everybody dance now!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

'When Abby met Spike'

(My parents' visiting dog Abby with Spike and a broken down kiln)
I am firing my baby kiln today with a glaze load. It holds around two boots, of a small size. Translate that into pottery, and you have a couple of large piggy banks and a mug and assorted very small things. This kiln has new elements, but the top one burned out rather spectacularly on Friday, I have a call in for parts. I doubt if this is an easy week to get the parts. Fortunately, I have the baby kiln, and also the previous firing had contained the LAST of my Christmas orders.
My parents went out of town for a couple of days and their dog Abby is visiting. We have already 2 cats and 3 dogs, all of whom are quiet and calm. Abby is VERY energetic and affectionate. It feels a bit circus like here, although they all are very good, and the motto is just like in preschool classrooms: 'better behavior through exhaustion.'

New format

A week of tinkering. The photo at the top magically expanded to full size.
I like this new format, whaddya think?

s'more mugs!

(mugs by Gary Rith)
Plenty of experiments this winter. Squared, scratched, bashed shapes.
Tis the day before my 15th wedding anniversary. My parents' dog gets picked up to go home later, Mrs Potsblog's sister is here. Big day!

Friday, December 21, 2007


(Mug progression, by Gary Rith: how I got here from there, roughly)

Squared off mugs looking good! These glazes work well with a highly textured piece.

DRAT because around 1200 degrees, midway through a glaze firing the kiln blew a fuse. DRAT. Fortunately ALL of my orders were already fired and on the road.
Yesterday Penny ate some road salt (trucks lay it down during snow and ice storms and it came int the house stuckto our boots) and boy was she ill. Vomited 5 times, shivers and shakes. I gave her milk and cooking oil and that made her feel instantly better, until she ate some more! With beagles, you realize they will get into anything....
My parents' springer spaniel is visiting, and although larger than Penny, Penny has established dominance and remains the sole ruler of the living room. And the rest of the house.

The Kids are alright: the next generation checks in

(elephant pot by Virginia: the original joke of 2 weeks ago was that a high school student wanted a glaze recipe from me, and I said 'yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, but is it me? NO' Therefore, we have named our student artist Virginia, her high school in Connecticut, Troy. I did not think it would be polite to post their real names, unless they gave me permission)
SO, Virginia checks in from Connecticut, and sends us pictures of her elephant pot! I see astounding skill and talent here.
Every day the news tells us horror stories of teenagers smoking crack, having babies and becoming republicans, but with Virginia and her school, we see we have hope. Every young person should be encouraged to develop creative skills.
Virginia tells us:
'so, i'm not sure if you even remember me haha but i finally fired my pot. and i took pictures. so here's the thing, i couldn't use your glaze because our class is crunched for time, with the semester ending shortly and winter break coming up very soon... so we didn't have time to make and fire your glaze recipie, but i did promise you a picture...or four so here they are. :-) The glaze came out a little darker than i wanted, but i am very pleased with it anyways. I tried a jackson pollock effect on the inside. I wish i had a better camera that would get the color a lot better but i don't so this will have to do...'
Virginia, this elephant is WONDERFUL. Please stay with it, send us more updates in the future, and good luck from potsblog.

groovy yellow basset hound mugs

(mugs by Gary Rith)
So, if I can figure out who asked for these (Mary in Las Vegas?) maybe I will sell them! The basset experiment was a success.

Talkin' 'bout my generation: X

My Bloody Valentine 'Only Shallow'.

Squeezed between the greedy baby boomers and the self-absorbed and selfish millenials, what does Gen x get? No credit, that's what, and ignored. But Gen x had grunge, and Gen X had My Bloody Valentine.

Greg wins...

..the visit from Miss Unicorn here. Please, visitors, feel free to let us know who you are at any time.
Greg, Miss Unicorn's bikini looks small. Canada is cold. You may want to take her shopping.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Hello, my name is___and I am from____

I am getting a lot of hits these days. I mean, why would somebody in Budapest or Israel visit potsblog? I am especially intrigued with the secret visitor from Calgary every day.
Do it. Introduce yourself in comments there, even if I already know you. I will hold a drawing later on and pick a name from a hat. Winner gets a visit from Miss Unicorn here!

Tricked by Denis, that dirty dog

(pots by Gary Rith for Denis' friends and relatives)

Gotta box these up, put them on the last truck to Vermont before Christmas. Denis tricked me. His brother in law is apparently Archie Bunker, so Denis asked me to make a red elephant. I guess a red elephant is a symbol for red state Republicans! No way would I make Republican paraphenelia! Denis, your bill just went up.
Other than that, feeling Christmassy. Took my gorgeous wife out last night on a petite shopping trip and dinner. Our (drumroll please) 15th wedding anniversary, yes FIFTEEN, is Monday, Christmas Eve.

'Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo' by Rick Derringer

You know how a tune gets stuck in your head and rattles around? Rick Derringer and his classic tune are still rattling around.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

creepy crawlies

(pots by Gary Rith)
Caterpillers and frogs on bowls and mini piggy banks looking lovingly at their large mommy banks. Very busy day yesterday. Well, today too.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Metallica 'nothing else matters'

Kinda quiet today.


Getting close to Christmas. Denis, don't worry, I am glazing your order now, should be cool Wednesday and shipped Thursday on your step by Monday. :^)

piggy dreams!

(pots by Gary Rith) I was thinking it funny, large piggy bank bodies by these mini pig bodies. A rather smart lady in Ohio ordered a bunch of mini piggies, presumably for her friends and relatives. I just got an order for a piggy bank to go to Oregon. What are the odds it makes it in 6 days???? I bet five bucks it makes it by the 24th (convenient having Monday as Christmas eve: the PO is open).
Dreamt last night in great detail that I was a painter, working on a mural in a house of a piggy and cat. The instructions were so detailed, and I knew them--I knew how to paint, that if I can remember it all and try it out, can I do it? Perhaps I shall try.

The Commodores 'Brick House'

Yes, classic funk, sounding so good.

And Lionel Ritchie live with 'Brick house'.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Jamie Wyeth and pigs

Not sure why I love pigs so much, maybe just because they are so funny. I just saw these fine pig paintings by Jamie Wyeth and wanted to share them.