Gary's Third Pottery Blog

When the going gets tough, dragons gonna get going....

Gary's third pottery blog

WRITE TO ME! Come see me! Open studio HERE! November 25-26 (11-4 each day); Aurora Art and Design, daily until 12/24; Cooperstown Art Assoc. daily until 12/24; Ellis Hollow Community Fair, 12/10; December 10, Little Red Wagon at the Space at Greenstar. All material on this blog unless stated otherwise is copyright Gary Edward Rith 2016

Thursday, December 31, 2015

the end of 2015 means only about ten months until…..

The end of 2015 means only about ten more months before Hillary kicks everyone's ass and mops the floor with their toupees...

I just realized it is the last day of the year.  I am one third through the end of year house (and life!) cleanup.  Only the jobs most worth putting off are left…..the wife and I reward each other at the end of a day of cleaning by scratching off a lottery ticket…which is motivating :)

So, looking back at 2015, what do I see?
I am happy to say we have been very fortunate overall.
Everybody we are close to is happy and healthy, same with us.
Ditto our dog and cat.
The year started impossibly cold and snowy, but WHAT a warm fall and winter so far.
My DNA was done.  My genetic background is pretty darn interesting.  ANYBODY's is.  And who would have guessed 50 years ago that I would be sitting around one day discussing it with my mom and dad….
The only trouble spot has been I have had great trouble and anxiety over glaucoma and losing my sight.  The glaucoma has not responded to treatment and although I have not lost much vision, glaucoma is a one way street.  What you lose is gone.  SO I am pretty flippin hopeful that my intelligent and concerned and diligent eye doctor's latest treatment, or the next one at least, works.
The upside of losing your vision is being PRETTY DAMN grateful for everything you see, every day. And not to sound all "bucket list' or anything, but my new year resolution for 2016 is "treat today like it is your last chance to make something beautiful" or some variation of that phrase.  And it has been inspiring to think that way.  I don't feel like I am messing around, I know what I want to do and what I want to explore.

Continued tomorrow…have a great time today, whether you are merely celebrating by cleaning your house or something a bit less tame :)

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

you're probably wondering….

….you're probably wondering about our squirrel.  I wish he was cute little red one instead of this big grey thug.  OH WELL, he entertains the cat….

IN OTHER news, this time of year you hear me talk about a) cleaning my messy house and b) getting ready to work on 2016 pottery projects.  There will be more celadon pieces (greenish) and also more majolica (watercolor-like painting on white glaze) pots too.  I have been fiddling a lot with this impressed flower style and a new light green celadon glaze, looks good, eh?

Have an awesome Wednesday!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

neighbors eating neighbors….

Have I told you this?  I have been drawing characters lately, which later get onto mugs, of some different personalities…the lady in the glasses is Tiny Central, Zee is the alien, Dud has the smiley tee, and Sammy Twolane the ordinary kid… I have a mug of my own with them on there, and soon there will be more characters….

In other news, we are having a mildly terrible ice storm.  I awoke to no power or heat or water….(egad, no coffee and the house is COLD!) and I suddenly felt like a total suburban wimp, knowing that soon my neighbors would be shooting and eating each other and burning pianos to melt snow for drinking water…but I tried to keep my wits about me and huddled under blankets with book, flashlight and cat (who forgave me for tripping over him in the dark).  What killed me about the power outage is my neighbors across the river HAD power, all their lights on.  This is the first time in ten years we have lost power, because we live on a state highway almost next to the electric utility's main office….but I could see power crews out there, the lights came on (COFFEE!!) and the heat too.  It was only an hour.  And to make things even, I could see across the river THEIR power was out now that ours was on…go figure….

Monday, December 28, 2015

athletic little #$%ker…..

I know Mister Squirrel is just trying to do as his nature suggests and EAT that which he can find…but I wish he was finding it at my neighbors'.  This dude is especially athletic, as getting onto this feeder is next to impossible, and he is the first in ten years…..

Sunday, December 27, 2015

if you have orange, why not make carrots...?

I was thinking about drawing bunnies leaping on mugs when I realized they needed something to leap FOR.  Carrots makes a nice accent on this, right?
Have an awesome Sunday :)

Saturday, December 26, 2015

back to normal...

Big holidays and birthdays take up a LOT of space, don't they?  The build up, the celebrating, the now we are back to normal.

Highlights of my day were plenty of, as Dylan Thomas told us in CHILD'S CHRISTMAS IN WALES "useless" presents, but one useful present was my mom knit me these rather brightly colored mittens, stunning, eh?

Friday, December 25, 2015

opening the kiln on Christmas day...

Potters always say (hopefully!) that opening the kiln is like Christmas day...for a good or mostly good firing, that is.  Because firing pots is something you learn to control, to an extent, but there are a lot of ways things can surprise you and go WRONG and the results SUCK.

SO, how about if you open the kiln on Christmas day?! It is like Christmas on Christmas!
Here is what I saw on top.  I have been fiddling with this new light green glaze and hot dang, it looks GOOD.  The wife captured this cup and saucer for herself, because after all, it is Christmas day.

In other news, dozens of people congratulated us on our anniversary, which I posted about yesterday--all of December is special to us, but the 24th is the crowning glory.  God gave us the gift of some FINE weather, 65 degrees!  How often have we able to walk around in just a shirt on Christmas?  Let alone sneak the cat outside to join a family portrait?

People asked what special thing we planned for our anniversary...and I was like, hmm, hrr, um.... "well, there IS a new bottle of The Macallan...and maybe the dvd CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS!".

Finally, Quakers believe that no person is more important than another, no day more sacred than another and that God is present in us all.  Which means that traditionally Quakers like me have NOT celebrated Christmas....but we live in the world and I am sure most Quakers these days celebrate, just maybe a little more simply than some :)  Whatever you believe, I hope you have a fine day!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

it was 23 years ago today....

around our 20th anniversary, 3 years ago.....

I first met the wife when she ran the open pottery studio at University of Illinois-Chicago and held a holiday gallery show that I entered.  It was 1989 and she was so pretty that I walked in with my box of pots and couldn't look her in the eye, left my box and fled....

BUT anyway, since I was to teach and work in that studio for the next few years I started seeing her every week, and she was super friendly.  In the fall of 1991 I told her I was moving and, tiny as she is, she asked if she could help.  I didn't need help, but WHAT AN OFFER. December of 1991 we started hanging around a bit outside of the the museum, to the zoo, to BEAUTY AND THE BEAST and then baking cookies at my place.... a year later, Christmas eve 1992 we got married :)

Oh sweetie, thank you :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

a green Christmas is a guilty pleasure...

dandelions blooming in December....

The weather reports tell us that after January 1 we will have some winter. My southern friends will not understand how unusual this fall and December have been:  we have a close to 100 percent chance of a white Christmas every year...I mean, c'mon, we live near Buffalo, everybody's go-to snow city!

But this year?  Ever since September 1 it has been very pleasant and warm, with only a couple of cold patches and a trace of snow.  We are expecting 60s for Christmas eve and I am serious:  I may have to cut my grass!!!!!

My hands and feet and the rest of me are always freeeeeezing, so I love it :)

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

homemade gluten-free tortillas and beagles

What a cliche, right?  a)  bore the hell out of your friends with facebook (and blog!) photos of your dinner and maybe, even more boring, how you made it and b) another picture of your pets!

Yesterday Lesli observes that there is a always a beagle in my food pictures, and you see, that is why I AM NOT the usual boring friend posting pictures of either his dinner OR his pets:  my unique niche is that I combine the tastiest food with the cutest pets for FASCINATING pictures and posts, not boring at all....

I have fiddled with making homemade gluten-free tortillas in the last few years, as you know.  The wife and I ADORE burritos, and they are fun to make.  Everybody knows about prepared corn flour tortillas: masa harina and water, tortillas.  But gluten-free flour tortillas are just a tiny bit more complicated.  I wanted to try a new recipe that is NOT very complicated, easy to make, tasty, flexible, easy ingredients. And I wanted those ingredients to be as healthy as possible whole grains.

Oh my goodness.   This one is very good (click here for recipe) Just water, brown rice flour and arrowroot.  In that link she tells you to roll them out in parchment paper, but one trick we have learned along the way is that you can use wax paper and some sprinkled buckwheat flour to prevent sticking when you roll them, and don't use more than a couple of small drops of canola oil to cook each one (hello smoke detector!).

They are so flippin' fabulous, I think we will make them again today for a hat trick third day in a row.  These burritos had roasted sweet potato, cheese, spinach and tomato and rice and beans...a little overstuffed :)

Monday, December 21, 2015

LETHAL carrots and the underground economy....

One thing I plan to add to my bunny drawings on mugs this week is CARROTS. Carrots are today's theme kids, my favorite childhood vegetable...actually, the only one I would eat when I was little....I read about eye health and it tells you to make sure to eat carrots.  I read an excellent meal planning summary from a vegan nutritionist "choose a starch or grain like rice, add a bean and a green vegetable and lastly a yellow or orange vegetable and all your meal planning will be complete and healthy".  There are not as many yellow/orange veggies as green it seems....but the choices are good:  sweet potato or CARROTS! Which you can anything with...shredded on salad or in spaghetti sauce, added to your noodle dish, chopped into any stew, soup or casserole or just eaten, dipped or nekkid....

Quirk suggests a swap:  her farm raised veggies for my pots. From time to time she gives me an IMPOSSIBLY large quantity of veggies which are eaten obsessively for days and the remainder frozen.  This fall has been special, because she is the second friend to load us up with homegrown carrots, and I just finished the first 20 pound took a couple of weeks (you heard that right, 20 pounds of carrots eaten in weeks...).  But Quirk gave me SO MANY ENORMOUS baseball bat sized carrots (the wife:  each one is lethal sized, a carrot cudgel!) that some are kept fresh for this month, the rest chopped and frozen.  Somebody else gave me a lifetime's supply of fresh ginger...our freezer is pretty darn full right now, thanks....

So, the thing of it is, isn't it clever, swapping pots for food?  Something for something, outside the taxman's purview.....

(btw, our dog treats carrots like pork chops, doesn't yours?)

(photo shows regular size carrots at left, huge ones right)

Sunday, December 20, 2015

the first almost snowfall....

I made that sculpture when I was 17! Durable, eh?

Well, previously a few flakes had flown, but this weekend we got something that almost looks like a snowfall, a half inch!  Kinda makes you feel Christmassy...OK, time to go back to the warm stuff (which we WILL, 60 later this week, bring it ON!)

In other news, I am drawing roly poly characters to paint on mugs...I call this one Dud.
Have a great Sunday!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

the extraordinary thing about Penny....

The extraordinary thing about Penny is that not only is she affectionate, loving and cuddly, she is FUN.  She likes to play, she likes to walk, she likes to do things with you.  Non-dog owners might not understand how FUN a dog can be.

Before I get to the main point here, I dreamt she and I traveled to Iowa during a flood.  Somebody thought something was wrong with her and called in a helicopter vet....a team of vets that travel by helicopter to remote areas to treat ailing animals.  Does such a thing exist????? Maybe?  PROBABLY? From what I dreamt, the charges started at 1000 dollars...and in my dream, my dog was healthy. But  IT WAS fun to see the helicopter arrive with these 2 vets and their dog to take care of mine....

Yesterday was interesting.  I was at the wine shop asking about an order of mine, which she had forgotten to order.  I didn't really care, this is NOT a matter of life and death...but the owner was  so upset she gave me a bottle of champaigne HOT DAMN!  I refused it 2 times but on the third, Caesar style, accepted... I was blown away by her kindness.  If she was trying to get my loyalty, she succeeded! Then I went to take care of Soupy... she lives across the street and her papa is a painter.  I have not photographed it very well, but he painted a portrait of Penny which blew me away....Penny looks like every beagle in this county, but in this painting he has her smile and her eyes absolutely captured, it makes me SSSOOOOOOO happy!

Friday, December 18, 2015

gluten-free banana cinnamon scones!

Treat every day like it is your last chance to make something beautiful.  Scones count!
I have made scones for maybe 25 years, and wanted to find a simple gluten-free recipe made with bananas.  Because my DEATH ROW last meal on EARTH would be banana bread with peanut butter.

GOOD golly, with a click or 2 look at the recipe I found (click here), it is BEASTLY simple and I may never make another type of scone again...I added cinnamon and raisins and topped them with cinnamon sugar, and just look how big and yummy they came out.
Have a superb day :)

Thursday, December 17, 2015

none of mine....

I rarely speak of other people's pots.  I like Meesh and Jeff's pots a lot, but I guess I should admit:  I am so focused on what I need to make I don't always notice anybody else's.

BUT, as you hear me say so often, I was trained in the styles and practices of traditional far-eastern pottery, Japan, Korea and China.
Of those, my favorite is the celadon, which is the range of pale grey/green/blue glazes.  Different potters had different recipes and therefore different shades and tones.
I already have some glazes close to a typical celadon, but my glazes tend to be more opaque than celadons, which can be a little transparent.  What this allows, as you sometimes see on some of these pots, is that the maker carved a subtle pattern on the pot.  OMFG do you know how much I love that?  You see a pretty pot from across the room, get closer and view an intricate flower pattern all over it?

SO, that is what I continue to explore in 2016, as you will see.  I have a new celadon glaze I am trying out and an idea for patterns made under....
in the meantime, I DEFINATELY enjoyed visiting Cornell's Johnson Art Museum Tuesday and getting a few pictures of favorite items....all are several hundred years old and exquisite.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

SO MANY beasties....

I must be the only full-time potter who moonlights as a pet babysitter.
Everybody needs me to pet sit this week....a LOT Tuesday and even more Wednesday and is so dang fun :) Here are a few of them....

My Penny and Spike....



...and Jazzy! I don't see Jazzy too often--looks exactly like Yogi, and they would have made AMAZINGly sweet puppies :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Penny's day...

Maybe every day is Penny's day?
My mom and dad visited Monday, in the freakishly warm weather.

I dreamt last night that I was invited behind the scenes to a Buffalo Bills practice, it was highly detailed, right down to the snow flurries.  I have never spent any time thinking about the Buffalo Bills, perhaps I have awakened, a new fan? Or maybe not :)

THEN of course, I check the messages on the computer and EVERYBODY needs their dog walked, everybody has ordered mugs for me to ship and everybody has a custom order in mind ("um, only if you can wait until January........................................") and a sister-in-law comes in today to stay....... GOLLY it is a busy week.

Hope you are well :)

Monday, December 14, 2015

so THAT is over and done with....

(the wife got a couple of pictures for her office and Spike wanted to check them will notice my new elephant shirt, which I swapped for Saturday:  elephant mug for shirt :)

Saturday evening, between the 2 day of a show, I get the anxiety attack because so many orders for so many things come to my email, last minute shoppers buying things ALL ON THE WEST coast.  Ah well, now that I have finished the shows for the year I can easily take care of that, but to be honest, ten days for shipping across the US is barely enough these days.....

ANYWAY, I loved the weekend show so much, great sales and everybody is family.  This is a small city and I love seeing old friends and making the new ones, being in the center of a fun event. A highlight was that there is a famous (locally) coffee shop here and a counter employee told me she recognized my work from the many people who walk in the door with my mugs that have little dogs or whatever on them and people want their daily cup in MY CUP.

I was talking with a sweet woman about dreaming of painting flowers on pots last January 1 and how I enjoy my dreams and don't have nightmares etcetc....oooof, spoke too soon!  The dream I just had was so awful:  I was visiting the far north of the US, Alaska's northern arctic oceanfront, where, bizarrely, warmer temps had melted enough ice everywhere that me and the group I was with could all go swimming between shore and the ice pack.  BUT then a woman came along, somehow related to a man in the group, and she had a machine gun and other weapons and was pointing it at him and said "any of you others who don't want to get hurt, you better go" and I RAN and ran, warning others around and there was the sound of gunfire and OOOF.  Here in America the news is filled with this every damn day...

Top pottery blog 2015

2014 winner

Me and Missus Tastycakes

Me and Missus Tastycakes

ME, the TV interview :)

my etsy gallery

my second blog, 2008-2009

my first blog, 2006-2008


Blog Archive

About Me

My photo
I am a full-time studio potter, sculptor, and dog walker, married to superhawt Missus Tastycake.