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

Saturday, January 31, 2015

January is a four letter word...

(again, Yogi comes over to play with Penny...this was BEFORE we got a lot more snow...)

You probably want to know about my dreams first:  I remember landing in a plane and it was on a crash landing course and we touched down in a Wendy's parking, then bumped along to the landing strip....suriviving...but puking.....

My friends in Florida boast of the LOCAL STRAWBERRIES they are buying and the EGGPLANTS AND TOMATOES they are growing in their yards.  WTF???????????  Can you imagine living in a place where January is the growing season?  The warmest place I have ever resided is Chicago.
(OH! But in Florida, from what I hear, you can also be eaten by an alligator or python whilst gardening, so pfft....who needs THAT?)

I wrote this haiku.

Good golly, ENOUGH
With this January sh!t!
Snow all down my pants...

 I mean, GAH! yesterday it was snowing so hard at times you couldn't see the road when I was driving, multiple accidents, my muffler is suddenly half falling off and I can't believe it is STILL January.  June-August lasts about 5 minutes, January 7 years....
I s'pose the thing to do is stop complaining, get the muffler fixed, stop putting off the steel studded snow tires and rejoice in February's comparitive warmth....

These pots have that sort of warm and lush tropical look, wouldn't you say?  Must be sub-conscious.

Friday, January 30, 2015


I ran the Chicago marathon twice in the early nineties.  I wouldn't say I was more fit then than now, but I must have had more energy and endurance because I can't imagine running another 26.2.  I run everyday, but the most recently was 7 miles.  I was dreaming just now in DEEP detail that I was running another marathon.  There were fewer people than the 30-50,000 Chicago would have, and I kept needing to find porto potties.  I made 7 miles easily enough but then I woke up.

OK, the hot sauce up there?  I showed you last week a little holder I made for 2 bottles...but we have 4 bottles going at the moment on the table, so i had to make another, a little different this time.....

Below?  Yogi came over to play with penny the beagle then came in...friendly cats are always fascinated by dogs, aren't they?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

"man are you DUMB"

This teaset came outta the kiln yesterday and I was wicked pleased.  I like ridgy pots, I like round pots, they go together very well, I think.

First:  I got heavily into teapots when I was in college and my girlfriend at that time said "nobody should be able to graduate from this program if they can't make a dripless teapot", this after a demonstration of a senior whose teapot looked like a malformed rock and left more tea on the table than into the cup. Since then, I have made MANY teapots.  They pour pretty well.....

Dumb?  OK, I am gonna talk about my NOT BEST self.  The other day at an online Q and A forum someone new to pottery asked "Why do any of us make teapots?  They are so difficult, nobody probably ever buys them, and are you s'posed to put them on the stovetop to heat water or just pour hot water in?"

I WAS LIKE (to myself only) "Argggggggh, you are SO dumb! The schools are worse than I thought and there is something in America's tapwater or gene pool that is making us all STUPID!"

Now, that is not very nice of me.  I like to try to be compassionate, I am a Quaker, which by the very definition we are FRIENDLY AND LOVING.  So please excuse my first nasty response, which I never published (...except here and now...).

I LOVE teapots and make them all the time, and sell them all the time too.  YES, teapots sell.  They give you a chance to do something special.  Why make a stack of brown bowls, boring as hell, when I can sit there fiddling with a special teapot?  And people pay for them, admire them, use them, love them. Some men like to show off the HUGE pots they can make...well, I like to make a pretty teapot.
So, if you practice and learn, there is no reason they are any harder to make than anything else. And yes, people buy them.  AND if you are a potter and know clay, how could you ask if you set a clay teapot on the stovetop to heat water?  Of course you don't.  That is a metal tea kettle.  You put a little hot water into the ceramic teapot, swirl it to warm it, then your tea leaves or bags, then fill with almost boiling water and steep.  The necessity and function of teapots go back to a time when a)  there were no teabags, so you brewed leaves in a pot and b) you were making multiple cups, for the family and guests, just like today's glass coffee pot:  it is a way to make a bunch of cups at once, for many people.
Other cultures have slightly different ways of making tea, but there you go.

Teapots also have become a chance for potters to make something special or whimsical, maybe not even used but a showpiece.

SO, these days, teapots are not always needed by the average American family with a coffee machine or teabags, but they are good for serving a nice afternoon gathering, or the whole family, or just being pretty and ornamental.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

so bad you have to have fun...

Pretty average January for us. I mean, we have seen Januarys with a LOT MORE snow, but we have had plenty, and we have had COLDER Januaries, but I mean, the below zero stuff persists...

Does complaining help?  It probably brings out the more devilish side of Mother Nature, actually "Ooooh, send another gust of wind straight down the back of Gary's pants, I'll show him COLD!"

I wrote this haiku yesterday after running out there, post snowstorm.  It really must be true, because I had asked myself "why does every passing car smile and wave at me?"

Running in the cold,
People think my grimace of
Pain is a smile.

Here are some great pots.  Cold weather and being inside is highly conducive to works of great art, don't you think? There are times when its like GOOD GOLLY put me on THAT beach NOW!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Teapot Tuesday, a wily bank heist or 2 and a few inches of fluff

I was pretty thrilled with this teapot when it came outta the kiln.  It marks, as I say, a groovy new direction I am exploring this winter, of east Asian inspired work.  Do I even need to say that?  You look at it with the bamboo handle and light greens....

DREAMING:  I had fun last night.  My dreams are so vivid and real, I swear I travel to other people's minds. I was part of a group of 4 people led by a techno genius.  His plan was to work as bank auditors.  You show up at a small branch 20-30 minutes before closing, fake out some of the tellers with paperwork and then hook up a small machine to their computers and ah ha! It goes through scraping pocket change off the virtual floor, 7 cents from this account, a few dollars it adds UP, and nobody really misses any of that money because it is so little spread amongst so many.  And we are done with our independent audit in less than 20 is how you rob a bank in a coat and tie.....
my agent would be happy to negotiate the movie rights....

SO, SNOW: Snow is pretty ordinary this time of year for upstate NY.  NOT ordinary for NYC to get the most of it! We have a few new inches.  Driving was SLIPPERY. Yogi came over to play with Penny..he was pretty lively and excited about it, but he has a few inches of fluff to keep him warm, whereas Penny has such a thin coat!

 Therefore: Icicle Works....

Monday, January 26, 2015

Spike cat poses for his MUGSHOT (Monday!)

The wife might complain...(rightfully so!)...that this is NOT a flattering picture of Spike the cat. That he looks chubby from this angle.  Doesn't he look chubby to chubbier from any angle?  He is a whole lotta cat for sure.....

ANYWAY, I got this new underglaze thing going on, enabling me to draw on pieces like I would with a pen.  GROOVY, huh?

Have an awesome Monday!

The wife, as I say, was out of town on the weekend. A person gets in the habit of playing loudly all the music that her tender ears may not prefer..... Oh no, I have not forgotten RATM....

Sunday, January 25, 2015

15 + years and no....?

I was just realizing that in January I have NOT made a single mug with a frog or some sculpted any other sort of animal with pottery...none! Drawn on, sure.  I realized this is the first month in about 15 years that I have made (what I would call) plain pottery. (see below, though, for a reminder of groovy pots with frogs, etc, I have not given them up, just not on my mind lately...)

I looked at the table the other day and said to self "those hot sauce bottles on our table are messy" and spent the day walking the dog wondering how I might make a little holder or caddy for them.  I settled on trying to take a small round dish, whacking it first oval then whacking it again to pinch in the middle, a handle there and VOILA! Dang, I think I did a good job, hmm? I like puzzling out "how to make it" pottery problems as I walk and go through my days....
the wife comes home later today and this is my welcome home gift.  Aside from myself.  And the pizza I plan to make...maybe some pumpkin bread too....

Hey, you can get yerself this awesome frog mug and other lovelies at my etsy shoppe (click here)!spring green mug with frog and leaves TV on the radio is getting a lot of airplay here lately, DANG they sound good...

Saturday, January 24, 2015

this is why and what I blog

I think I said it, 8.5 years ago when I started blogging:  the four things I blog every day are 1) what I am doing 2) what I am making 3) what I am dreaming and 4) what I am listening to, because I love music videos and being DJ....
SO, as you have noticed, each day is a little of all that. I don't seem to do all at once, maybe today I will....

WHAT am I doing?  WELL, Friday at 33 degrees and sunny seemed like the nicest winter day since ...July? January has been a funny one:  usually it is just plain cold and sh!tty weather for 5-8 months...but we have had a delightful thaw every weekend.  Then back to below zero F and snowy for the week.  Fair enough....
my dog walking and generalized pet sitting is a snowball rolling down a hill.  I get back from walking 4 client dogs (FOUR! Plus my own dog gets plenty of walks!) (plus the cats I care for!) and just want peanut butter smeared on a chocolate chip cookie and a nap....and I just live in my long johns. I canNOT take any more petsitting clients, these guys are keeping me busy and happy and flippin' FIT.  I got into this because people were always "oh, you work at home?  Can you walk my dog Tuesday and feed my cat?".  There was so much of that I started to charge....and people like what I do, soooo, I am busy.  The best part is that I get tons of pots made too.  Want something done?  Ask a busy person!

The wife went out of town.  Her mother is the most fun person you have ever met, and we should ALL age as healthfully and happily as she.  It is her birthday weekend, and she traveled to NYC to see the 3 daughters (she had grown up there, 2 of the daughters live there, the wife lives here, nearby).

SO, I am bachelor for a weekend.  Just me and all my client dogs.  And cats.  And pots.  And MY OWN dog and cat.  So I wrote this haiku (as many of my fb friends have seen.  You could be my fb friend too, as long as you don't post raving crazy bullshirt I am at )

"The wife is out of town partying with her sisters blues..sung in HAIKU form..."

My woman done gone,
Gol darn dawg hogging the down
Quilt and my pillow.

Big plans for today:  visit the bank, go to the library! Woohoo!

These are some new things I am making.  YES, I really like the little trinity of spirals.  The firing earlier this week was great, more fired on Friday (between dog walks!) and I can look at it later...

Finally, dreaming last night?  I read somewhere the other day about Jewish mysticism.  I know nothing about it except a brief paragraph (maybe I should look it up...) ( I did, click here)
ANYWAY, there is a belief that at night your soul leaves the body, returning in the morning.  Dang, me and my dreams sure GET THAT, as you hear me say.  My dreams are so vivid and real, I seem to visit other people's lives...
last night it was me in California (nope, havn't been there) in a volunteer fire truck, during an earthquake, on the way to a fire with other firemen, a nasty fire at a factory...

In your 40s like me?  Your high school looked like this didn't it? OMFG these guys went over the top and then some...


Friday, January 23, 2015

these are the last pitchers for ...well, a couple of days, anyway...

You probably don't want to hear my dream about traveling in a flying ambulance.  pretty routine....

Nice round pitchers, eh? I am going through a MINIMALIST phase.  These, to me, are somewhat minimal of decoration....
have an awesome Friday! The wife takes the early bus to NYC...we go to the bus station shortly, she can party hearty with her sisters and mom.  The wife's mom is, well, not young in numbers but holy CATS she is youthful in body and spirit.
(new pitchers by Gary Rith)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

pouring pitchers and p!ss!ng!

Have you ever had that dream? This is s'posed to be YET another post about pitchers which would SURELY bore you to tears (as I say so often, potters talking to each other about pots has GOT to be boring, so I shake it up here, right???) but reality intrudes. And WE GO TO THE GUTTER with the bad taste today.

I am dreaming a minute ago about that I am searching high school for the boys' room....and finally find it.  It is an outdoor fountain space, you can p!ss in all kinds of interesting ways on all kinds of fountains! The most high tech collection of urinals ever an outdoor park.  (I suspect this is a dream detail women may not understand) Anyway, I am going...and going...and going...and for some reason some of my high school enemies are there and I even p!ss on THEM.....but it is AGONY because I still need to go...finally, as you might imagine, I wake up in a cold sweat and realize that a visit to my comparitively LOW-TECH john will take care of things....

Right.  Back to the usual blather.
These pitchers just came outta the kiln, nice, eh?  I have 4-6 leaf glaze schemes tested that I like, these are 2 of them.  The vase below is a third.

flower vase with leaves

Speaking of vases...thanks CSNY...this is one of the wife's favorites, mmm, mmmm GOOD!

"Our House"
I'll light the fire, you place the flowers in the vase that you bought today.
Staring at the fire for hours and hours while I listen to you
Play your love songs all night long for me, only for me.

Come to me now and rest your head for just five minutes, everything is good.
Such a cozy room, the windows are illuminated by the
Sunshine through them, fiery gems for you, only for you.

Our house is a very, very fine house with two cats in the yard, life used to be so hard,
Now everything is easy cause of you and our la, la, la:

Our house is a very, very fine house with two cats in the yard, life used to be so hard,
Now everything is easy cause of you and our

I'll light the fire, you place the flowers in the vase that you bought today.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Yes.  Pitchers with leaves.  Groovy green glazes....many MORE pitchers in the kiln cooling.....
have an awesome Wednesday!

(pitchers by Gary Rith)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

teapot on teapot action for Teapot Tuesday!

You've seen me make this sort of thing before, just not recently:  why not make a teapot's knob...a teapot?
I think it is kind of a funny joke :) Especially since it doesn't look like the bigger one.
Have an awesome Tuesday!

Monday, January 19, 2015

hippos and crocs, dogs and cats....mugshot Monday!

I told you I have changed my doodling style on mugs, adding a jaunty little frame around the character.
These have dogs or cats...or BOTH on each mug...the one below?  A hippo on one side and crocodile on the other side...the 2 badass creatures of the Nile River, right? Even if I am wrong, I think it makes a funny mug...and that one now for sale at my etsy shoppe! (click here)

Sunday, January 18, 2015

thrilling and amazing your guests with homemade chocolates....

I came across a recipe last month to make chocolate covered nuts:  warm up some chocolate, toss in the nuts, stir, drop spoonfuls onto parchment paper DONE.

Then this week I came across another recipe, this one for chocolate dipped clementines! It would work for any fruit, like dried apricots, or fresh strawberries or even dipping in shortbread or pretzels, etc:

-peel 4 clementines, section
-chop some pistachios or other nuts
-warm 4 ozs. dark chocolate in a double boiler:  in this case, a small bowl or baking dish set into a saucepan with a little water, boil the water, turn heat down, stir chocolate as it melts, remove from heat
-dip sections of clementine in there, lay them all out on the paper, sprinkle with nuts, cool, EAT!

I knew there would be extra chocolate in the dish, so I had cashews at the ready and tossed them into the leftover chocolate, stirred, then dropped them onto paper too---two different chocolates at once!

THEN people came over and were blown away, saying twas the best chocolate in TOWN.  But it is so easy to do!

Saturday, January 17, 2015


Whoa, I dreamt of MY OWN life just now.  I got my bachelor cat Sammy as a stray in Chicago in 1990, and he passed away in 2007, a good long and excellent life.  He was one of those cats who KNOWS THEIR worth.  He was very friendly, but he could be a bit haughty and naughty. I have not looked back at my first blog since I closed it in 2008 (link here) (I don't like looking back at life, just now and next, thanks) but went there to get this pic.  Isn't he beautiful?  Those are my feet.  The wife customized those slippers for me, actually, and I wear them still...

ANYWAY I dreamt Sammy ran out onto a frozen lake and my wife was following me with the camera because I wanted to make a blog post of saving Sammy...GOSH, now I am dreaming of blogging...

As Emily Dickinson wrote of dreams:

Friday, January 16, 2015

Get an exorcist!

(new bottles-vases by Gary Rith)

Yesyesyes, groovy pots, eh?  You are thinking "I like how Gary uses a teardrop shape to make nice bottles, and I love his colors--such nice greens and blues!" and I thank you for thinking that. :)

MORE important, though, is the dream I had just before waking and sitting down here--I looked in the mirror to brush my hair (which I do at most twice a year-my barber was appalled to hear that I literally crawl out of bed, look at my hair, do nothing, and get ON WITH my day...short curly hair is like that, you know?) and what I saw in the mirror was NOT ME.

The person looking back was 20-ish, had hair I have never had, sort of a thick helmet of straight reddish-blonde hair, with close-set blue eyes (mine are hazel) and freckles.

I looked in the mirror and said "THAT IS NOT ME, I don't look like that, do I?".

WTF does that mean?  It means cool things, perhaps:
Changing ones face or head: Changing ones attitudes or decision about something; being uncertain or ‘two faced’. Having different aspects of your personality or seeing another side of yourself. Change the wording to fit seeing someone else with changing face – your to their.

Ah, perhaps, then I was changing my attitudes (I doubt it) or looking at another aspect of my personality (I doubt that too)
OR!  At the risk of seeming like a flake, you have heard me say many times that I feel like I travel in my dreams into other people's minds and lives.  There. I wandered through the brain of a 20 year old last night....

Thursday, January 15, 2015

this is what ten below looks like....and why 25 seems WARM

Yesterday, as I mentioned, was one of the colder readings we have taken at our house, ten below!  I run everyday (except when I don't! Last year's running calendar had a few January days when instead of mileage SNOW or COLD was written).

Running yesterday wasn't as bad as you might think.  There was no wind.  Last week was not as cold but very windy which is a LOT worse.  You dress for it and since you are moving you are creating some nice heat.  I took this picture because the ice buildup on my eyebrows and eyelashes was pretty bad, then it began melting......later?  It got up into the 20s which seemed SO warm.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

"Gawdammit Mickey, get OUTTA MY BED"

I always sleep great.  The head hits the pillow and I am gone for several hours... NOT SO TUESDAY.
My head hit the pillow, the light went out and....the chewing began.  Behind my head!

Some background:  the thermometer at the back door says ten below.  That is one of the colder readings we have gotten at our house.  Another fact is that the house is 150 years old, and there are crevices here and there amongst the river stones that make up the foundation.  In summer we have little garter snakes going in and out, which gives me the willies (although they are harmless) but I figure they eat the mice that would come in otherwise. It is not summer now, though, is it?

SO, there is this gawdawful chewing in the wall behind my head in bed.  All four of us are in the bed keeping warm, cat, dog, wife, me.  That changes, with me banging on the wall, which accomplishes nothing.  The cat moves to the floor behind the bed.  I march off to another room and fall asleep.  The wife and dog sleep through everything....

EXCEPT for the crashing and little fearful "cheepcheepcheep" sounds at midnight.  I find the cat staring at the clothes hamper...I life the hamper and WOOHOO there goes Mickey, racing for the bed...Spike cat, I must say, seems merely amused by all this, because I am wondering why he is WATCHING the mouse and not kicking its azz.

Mickey gets under the bed and I am there, next to the cat and find...the hole.  Just like in a cartoon, the little fukker chewed a hole in the baseboard so he could come out and...get in bed with us to keep warm?  Because really, the kitchen is the other way!  I get into bed and try to sleep...but there are periodic THUMPS for the next hour...right UNDER my head, as the mouse tries to come back out and the cat jumps at him.

Again, around one something, there are huge crashes and thumps...inches under my head...and that awful "cheepcheepcheep" sound a distressed mouse makes...Mickey is trapped in the corner, behind a book, 21 pound Spike cat ready to....well, he hasn't done much yet, has he?  I was hoping for some VIOLENCE but Spike is so dang friendly....

OK, I figure I grab the little rodent and toss him out the door to make his way in the world.  I am not a violent person, I wish him no harm, BUT HE DOES NOT BELONG IN MY BEDROOM. I don't care what little animals do, but they can't do it in my bedroom.  I draw the line there....

So, pushing the book to hold his body I reach out to grab Mickey and get...BITTEN.  I am trying to save this creature's life and he bites me....

There is no blood, but in my shock I drop him...he goes back behind the book.  The wife hands me a glove.  I grab again, and MICKEY GOES ON A ONE WAY TRIP TO MY SEPTIC TANK via the terlet.... and we all fall asleep again....

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

pitcher LOVE

NOT a baseball pitcher....

NOT a PICTURE, although it sounds the same....

ALSO, not a guy with a pitch, who would like to sell you a car.

I love pitchers.  Put your lemonade in there, put your flowers in there.  I guess I don't care for ordinary flower vases, preferring either bottles or PITCHERS.
I will be making more today, this one just outta the kiln....

(new pitcher by Gary Rith)

Monday, January 12, 2015

mug shot Monday: struck with an idea or 2....

wolf and moon mug

It probably gets annoying:  my hyper little self telling "I got a new idea!" or "I dreamt a new idea!" (as I said yesterday).
Last week I was struck with this thought, vis a vis my doodles on paper or mugs etc "what those things need is a cute little FRAME drawn around them, to give them a nice little finish, some charming definition and focus, design and color...."
I have now doodled a lot of possibilities, but the morning the idea came along I had a blank mug needing a doodle, and here tis (happens to be for sale at my etsy shoppe too! Click here.).

AND, of course, as I have been saying the last week or 2, I am carving leaves on things and trying out glaze schemes, thinking about east Asian pottery styles.....this pair of light green mugs:  Surprise! A special for the 2 of them at my etsy shoppe (click here!).

Hope you have a most awesome Monday :)
pair of light green mugs with leaves sold together

(new pottery by Gary Rith)

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