Gary's Third Pottery Blog
"Men are but gilded loam or painted clay" --Richard the Second, Shakespeare.
Gary's third pottery blog

WRITE TO ME! garyrith@yahoo.com Come see me! Open studio HERE Nov. 28-29; Binghamton, NY Unitarian Church Nov. 1-2; Cooperstown Art. Assoc. Nov. 17-Dec. 24 All material on this blog unless stated otherwise is copyright Gary Edward Rith 2013-2014

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

when pottery meets BLACK COMEDY

But first, a wee HAIKU:

Godzilla eating
A tasty human being
Is hilarious!

I have to admit a thing or 2: I am not really into dragons and sh!t. Dragons have their place, but I really prefer cheesy, campy, destructive and awesome Godzilla and crappy B movie science fiction and toys from my childhood (see Beastie Boys video below, that is what I mean--they have the same inspiration). It is different, liking that stuff for a laugh and its aesthetic humor, compared to loving fantasy.

You know I have made a lot of monsters lately, but last Sunday night I was falling asleep, and you know this is why there is paper at the bedside: I start laughing, wake up, and tell the wife
"what if Godzilla was holding a bowl full of people to snack upon, like doritos????" and I doodled it out, as you see below. The appeal, to me as a potter and sculptor, is making a tiny little bowl on the wheel, as I would any other bowl, and incorporating it...hilarious indeed!
Last night I was like
"monsters having a teaparty???"


(pottery and sketch by Gary Rith)

Monday, January 30, 2012

getting ready for St. Pat's.....


In my family, our background is, OH, a little Hungarian maybe, a little German maybe (the last name is German protestant), a lot of Welsh for sure (therefore my compact height!), a small sprinkling of English and then maybe you have some protestant Northern Irish, and the biggest dose of all, using math and applied physics, Irish Catholic--you look back, and see YES, the great-grandfather was a cop in NY city, typical, typical..... We all know that there are a) a whole lot more people of Irish ancestry in the US and Canada than there are in Ireland, and also that b) Ireland is an unusual country, from what I understand, in that there are many fewer people living there now than 100 plus years ago. They had good reason to leave alright, and I am, like so many other North Americans, a huge mixed jumble of ancestral material, but since I can pick and choose when I feel like it, I can, for example, a) hugely enjoy German beer (I used to love Irish and English beers too, until I found out they are made with FISH GUTS, which is illegal in Germany) and b) hugely enjoy English literature and c) hugely enjoy Hungarian pastry and d) hugely enjoy, ah, um, err, being compact thanks to the Welsh bits (ride a bus or plane--the compact people aren't uncomfortable--although I am 5'8" or 9", the downside to compact is needing a stool in the kitchen to reach the upper kitchen shelves
)
and, of course, e) hugely enjoy Irish stuff. Americans love to pick and choose all their favorite Irish stuff! Like WHISKEY! Like THICK WOOLY SWEATERS! I also love Irish breakfast tea, my favorite, and McCann's original-takes-forever steel cut oatmeal for breakfast. I'd love to go to Ireland. I was talking to Goofy Kim Saturday and she wants to visit our mutual friend Denis in Africa, and her niece is going there this summer and she is like "I want to GO BACK to Africa myself, and see them" and
I am like "No WAY...bugs, snakes, malaria, ebola, all that crap. I wanna go to some of those snake-free places, like Ireland". I mean, you look at the green hills, and you imagine yourself in the wooly sweater wandering around amongst the cows and sheep and rain with your cup of tea....pretending you are a very handsome Aidan Quinn, Liam Neeson or Michael Fassbender...the best spoken accents on the planet? IRISH. So silky and lyrical!

Anyway, I used to make Irish soda bread all the time. It is so easy and tasty, easier to make than yeast bread. BUT, my 2 recipes call for milk and butter, and for several years I have had the dairy allergy and not made them. Until Sunday. I was like "what if I use rice milk and margerine?" Flippin' PERFECTO!

Here is the simpler of my 2 Irish soda bread recipes. The other has raisens etc in it, a good breakfast loaf, this one is just brown. I have had the recipe so long I don't know where it came from, but she explains that Irish flour is a lot more coarse than American, therefore all the wheat germ and bran she adds here.

Preheat oven to 350 and place cookie sheet in there to warm---or like me, use your iron skillet.

In an enormous mixing bowl, add 2 cups whole wheat flour, 2 cups white flour, 1.5 cups wheat bran, 1 cup wheat germ, 1.5 teaspoon baking soda and 1.5 teaspoon salt (I never add salt though)
Cut up half a stick butter (I use margerine, as I say) and mix into flour etc. with your fingertips, mixing everything together that way. Stir in 2 1/4 cup buttermilk (I used rice milk this time, as I say--next time I will add a spoonful or 2 of lemon juice for a buttermilk tang). Turn out onto counter, knead a few times into a nice round loaf, flatten a bit. Pull out heated bake sheet or skillet, lay dough in, cut a deep cross across the top and bake 30 minutes, pull out and rotate around then bake a further 30 minutes. Put onto cooling rack covered with a clean dish towel for at least an hour before slicing. Great any way you want, with cheese, butter, jam whatever!

Speaking of awesome Irish Americans, loooove Dropkick Murphys...this live clip in Bahston has all these women dancing onstage...my niece has been a student at Hahvad these last few years, and looking on stage here, you are like..."is that.....?"....but maybe not, all young women look the same anyhow.....

Had a glaze firing Sunday, this is the before and after on top...looking pretty good....

Sunday, January 29, 2012

new work :)

You hear me talking about applying for a gallery show of wall pieces...whether I get the gig or not, I sure am having fun making wall sculptures....


(new pottery and sculpture by Gary Rith)

when dog lovers come over.....



Maggie and Katie came over Saturday, my absolute bestest pals....my dogs and cats were especially glad to see them :)
Have an awesome Sunday!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

bureauOcratic nightmares

I have a VERY LOW tolerance for paperwork and fuss. It takes me months to get around to filling things out.
The wife is the opposite---she reads directions, files papers, all that, and she is, amongst other things, a bookeeper. Her job is perfect for her (she'd kill me if I gave too many details so I won't) but she is an academic administrator who juggles all the balls at the circus. Well, maybe she juggles porcupines, sharp axes and knives, flaming torches, chainsaws and babies...all at once. She handles it. She also, GOD BLESS HER, handles my tax and business paperwork (see above "bookeeper"). How lucky is that, I have a business, I am incompetent at business, and she juggles babies and chainsaws all day then comes home and juggles my porcupines and flaming torches???? LUCKY ME!
Anyhow, some of this sh!t I have to do myself. The photo below is a project I have worked on for months, 3 entries for the international small teapot competition. The easy part was making 3 amazing teapots. Filling out the goldarn form online? Sheesh. I mean, filled it out, it went blank. Filled it out again, it went blank. FIVE TIMES to mounting anxiety, i mean, you worry that your credit card number or whatever is floating around out there, just waiting for the Russian mob to snatch it and start ordering Adidas from zappos for every criminal in Minsk.
Anyway, it is NOT resolved, this should-be-simple application form, but the friendly dude I called who is running it is trying to be helpful...and he tells me he hears from artists every day saying the form sux and won't work. Crapola. No wonder I hate paperwork.
I congratulated myself the other day. NY state sales tax decided they needed to know EVERYTHING about me in order for me to keep doing business in the state. A multipage thing (I file sales tax in Vermont each year too: one little slip of paper with five lines...NY has to do it the most complicated way possible...a lot of people live in Albany and need jobs and all of them were probably bullied in school and look for ways to get back at the world...through messes of paperwork).
Anyway, multi-page forms, first question was "how many people involved in your business?" and i was like TWO. There is me, then there is the wife (see above "bookeeper"). I mean, the info they wanted, my shoe size, waist size, favorite peanut butter, do I like my toothbrush with soft bristles or firmer? Paper or plastic? How about pillows, speaking of softer or firmer, and if I drink yuppie coffee, do I brew it myself or waste money at starshmucks? OK, I fill all this crapola in, 8 pages or more of bank accts, ss numbers and horrible questions....then they want me to do it again.....for the wife. Just between you and me? I went back to page one and changed the 2 people to ONE person. Only I work for this business anymore ;) I retired my wife (see above "bookeeper").
Lastly, and I think this is REALLY funny:

1) on 2 different days this week, young women looking for writing work contacted me asking if they could be hired to WRITE THIS BLOG for me. Cracks me up, because I have written this blog at least once daily for nearly 6 years, thousands of posts, obviously I am having fun and like to do it myself...what kind of idiot hires somebody to write their feckin' blog for them????? I s'pose fake blogs, like Kardashians or politicians. I mean, i earn less than a starschmucks barista, could I be earning big bucks by writing other people's blog posts? Holy cats, am I in the wrong damn business?????????? (see above "bookeeper")

2) I listed a teapot for 34 bucks the other morning, it is awesome (with a skull!) and that same day a lady wrote to ask me to cut shipping on a bunny teapot...which is the exact same size and effort, and priced at 26 bucks plus shipping, in other words, comparitively a GREAT DEAL. Does anybody realize what shipping costs, plus etsy and credit card fees, plus the packing and shipping? I mean, you just charge a fee to cover those set things like postage and all, and you just pack things. I earn less than a barista as I say above, but do people go into Walmart and argue they won't pay sales tax????? It is the exact same thing and really pisses me off when somebody asks for a discount: MY PRICES ARE ALREADY AS LOW AS POSSIBLE and besides, am I making you buy something from me? Is this like, you are dying of thirst and I charge you 100 bucks for a glass of water? Sorry, but please, either buy it or don't buy it, I am doing the best I can, please respect the artist and the very low paid work they do (see above, "bookeeper" and "barista"---I have noticed, btw, that some friends have lowered their shipping fees on their pots---because the customers may have complained, and all the potter can do is lower the shipping price and raise the item price...so in the case of the bunny teapot, I would be happy to lower the shipping price, but the teapot is no longer 26, I could make it 34 like the skull teapot......)
Final thought: each one of the 3 teapots below is the same size as either the 34 dollar skull teapot or the 26 dollar bunny teapot, but EACH will be priced at 100+ dollars.... EACH...just to give you some perspective....

(pottery by Gary Rith)

Friday, January 27, 2012

yin and yang dog and kitteh....

Drawing by me---I was falling asleep curled up with Spike cat and Penny beagle crawled in behind my knees and I realized I was in the middle of a Taoist symbol :)

so, I was talkin' with PETE just the other day and he is like : =^..^=


(coolio monster teapot, eh wot????)
(Thanks PETE! for getting the ball rolling, it has been so much fun to try)
Seriously, Pete sees my heart mugs (post down a couple of days) and he is like
"could you fiddle with a heart shape and get a cat shape? People love cats!" and I am like
"Pete, that has GOT ME THINKING" and literally, the wheels turn and I go down and get to work, and finish these guys Thursday.
Pete is also, like "you can't make them cheesy" and I am like
"NO. Not cutesy either"
Left to right below, my first idea to my third, with detours:
1,2, 3: my first thought was add ears and eyes etc. to a plain mug or bowl, and try a puppy then
I was thinking
4,5 "try to fiddle the rim into a cat ear shape (hard to do in theory, but I got what I wanted!) and later glaze the outside blue, inside clear with a painted cat face on the bottom" and finally, at the last minute, one more
6: try to fiddle the ears on the rim PLUS make an actual cat face on the bottom.
I like ALL of the ideas, and they will be fired and done in a few days....


(pottery by Gary Rith)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

one fact and one dream, chapter 3: we need YOU to check in!

If you look below, you can see some new work, just added to my etsy shop, totally badass or totally sweet, you decide! GET SOME for your Valentine now!!!!

OK, chapter 3, one fact and one dream please go to comments and share yours!!!!!! Here is mine today:
One fact--we have not had a lot of sun, but holy cats, maybe the most mild January I have ever seen in my life? YESSSSSssssss.

If you look at a post or 2 down, you would think I am DREAMING OF WOMEN's boots (NO, I do not have a boots f3tish...really! HONEST! There is another fact, even though they look soooo tasty!)
OK, anyway, like I was saying, the wife, speaking of boots, is on the road Saturday, and I am dreaming of a JAMES BOND DAY....like, ten hours of Connery, Moore, Bond Babes and villians.....



small skull teapotteddy bears and hearts mug

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

beauty and the beast....being both rude...and sweet....

(wall piece by Gary Rith--I have applied for a gallery exhibit of wall pieces and I think a rude gnome is hilarious--I call this GRUMPY)

Janet used to live in an old church nearby (like Alice did, the one with the restaurant!!!) and saw the tres cute teddy bear-heart mugs and was like "what about those heart shaped mugs you make this time of year???" So I made her some....and you can get them too! For sale now at my etsy gallery!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

the most s3xy hawt thing you have ever seen in your life...


The wife will be like
"GAWD! Why do you have to spread my business all over the interwebs??? WITH PHOTOS!" and I will smile that sweet smile, the one that tells her
"I am just a little puppy...you wouldn't yell at a wittle puppy would you???"
OK, it went like this. You see my gal here at the end of the day. First thing, I walk her early to the bus stop with the dog, and say
"au revoir mon petit bonne fille!" or something like that, i don't know French, but that doesn't stop me speaking French, and Jay, our awesome neighbor also at the bus stop is like "oh, you just told her....goodbye my pretty gal!". Something like that. She was wearing her petite beret (or Tam!) Judy knit her last month, and the French coat she traded for on Friday. Long story, about trading for the coat, but Lucy was like
"It belonged to a tiny little French woman...OH! it fits you perfectly!" which is how the wife ended up with this nice wool coat, and it is also why I was speaking "French" at the bus stop.

ANYWAYS, so I myself am sneaking around downtown today...I saw sale signs down there, winter merchandise on sale...and I was like "I want me some boots!". And where, sure, some of the sale boots had their merits, nothing was working, BUT I got me 2 belts for nearly nothing. Keeping my pants UP is a challenge, so I got a brown and a black one....and OHMYGOD lookit the black boots here. For ladies. It was not until I was 40 I suddenly realized I have a BOOT F3TISH. Not really, but my long legged gal looks good in boots. And I saw these kickass engineers boots for ladies...half price! 2 sizes left! One of them maybe the wife's size??????????????????????

YES :) They are hers now......


"at least he eats them head first"

Not to confuse anybody or anything, but this is a monster eating a dude on the street, fired and outta the kiln this morning ( I am so excited!) and in the post below you see where I am going with that idea, newly made stuff yesterday, not fired yet....isn't this awesome?
I am applying for a show of my wall pieces, which has opened the floodgates of ideas, yaaaaay!

(new sculpture by Gary Rith)

through the fog....

A lot going on, yesterday and today.....
I don't know why my photos come up this big. More for you to enjoy!
Anyway, I was there falling asleep the other night, but had an idea, as you do, and was laughing and asked the wife to pass paper and pencil
"haha!" sez I
"what?" sez she
"tee hee, what if Godzilla had a bowl and was eating people out of it?" and she is like
"oh HO!"
So, yeah, I made it, and you see the sketch below, and what happened when I got started: I made one standing on a car, the other holding a real (small) bowl with people to snack upon....
also a berry bowl and an apparently good before and after glaze firing!
Happy day to you!




Monday, January 23, 2012

teddy bears and hearts: awwwwwwwwwww.....


teddy bear and hearts mugteddy bear and hearts mugteddy bear and hearts mug

You probably need a WINNIE and RUMPOLE teddy bear mug...with hearts...for Valentine's, don't you????? get it now at my etsy gallery!

hey! is that inspired by.....


(new wall piece by Gary Rith, about 3 inches wide, 3 inches tall)
You have to tread carefully in this world. You don't copy things. But I have to admit, I have always found that picture below and the fish in the teapot extremely amusing, you know? In my work above the wife is like
"exquisite, the little lid for the teapot!"

Sunday, January 22, 2012

potters work in their pajamas....


(new teapot by Gary Rith--I kinda threw everything into that one except the kitchen sink...)
You will recall that I am into everything GODZILLA lately (because I like this green glaze color scheme)....and teddy bears. Above you see a teapot I am super proud of...my very FIRST Godzilla type pottery effort. Turned out perfect. The wife likes the teeth. I am thinking I can more with the teeth in the future...anyway, as I have said, I made us some small plates too. I wanted to try bears all around the edge, dogs and cats too, and see what I think, then keep them. They turned out super good. Below you see them coming out of the kiln too...and me in my s3xy hawt jammies with bears....


Saturday, January 21, 2012

POP! It gets all shiny and bright: the before, during and after....

3 seconds ago I popped the top open on the kiln, and saw this here. It needs to cool a little longer, but HOTT DAWG it is all looking good. The other pics here show the kiln and items during firing--I was drying a number of items on top which will be fired later today, actually, and then there is just before firing, and then decorating plates--the plates are for US. We are gonna use them later today, after a little more cooling. I think they turned out well, I can see just the edge in the top pic, the teddy bears...the color is all dull when you paint it on then POP! Gets all bright and shiny with firing!

Me and Missus Tastycakes

Me and Missus Tastycakes

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I am a part-time pottery instructor at Cornell University Pot Shop and a full-time studio potter and sculptor, married to superhawt Missus Tastycake.