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

Monday, November 30, 2009

more popular than...

The wife sez:
About as popular as beans on a bus trip....

which got me thinking....

whole lotta love.....

(me and Missus Hawtness, 1992)
OK, can you believe it, met the missus 20 years ago today, last day of November 1989. Famously, of course, we knew each over 3 years before we even had a date in 1992, after which we quickly got married December 24, 1992. This pic is from July of 1992.

I currently teach pottery classes at Cornell and work in the Pot Shop. It was the same 20 years ago at University of Illinois at Chicago. Both Cornell and Illinois have open studios for anybody to use and there were non-credit pottery classes people could take, and Illinois had 2 studios. I had moved with my art degree to Chicago to get a graduate degree in special education. Just so happens my future wife was the director of one of the 2 studios at Illinois, but I worked at the other.
You must keep in mind that I am super shy, almost crippled by shyness sometimes.
In late fall 1989 Maude had decided to run a made in the 2 craft shops exhibit for Christmastime. I needed to take my teaset and pitcher to the second studio and exhibition space which I had never visited, and there was a very pretty woman at the desk. I could not meet her eye but just ran in and said "here is my entry" and ran out. Soon thereafter I moved my workspace and started working at her studio, teaching pottery classes there, and was artist in residence for awhile too. In fall of 1991 I was breaking up with the person I was with, and mentioned this to Maude who said she would help me move my stuff. I thanked her and said I didn't need help, but it is always a special friend who offers to help you move. A few months later, the end of January 1992 I had a party and gave her the first kiss, and well, that was it, we were TOGETHER.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

so in love

(Buster and Emily and me, Spike cat, Penny and Missus Hawtness)
We are a very close family and a very close couple :) Tomorrow marks 20 years to the day I met Miss Hawtness, the future Missus Hawtness.

witch bottle

(witch bottle by Gary Rith)
Open studios are so much fun. If you had one you would understand why--friends coming over to chat and all the rest. You can still come over, just send me an email! We might be out of cookies though.
My buddy Gordo sent another link about witch bottles. In brief, witch bottles were from about 400 years ago in England. A scowling Cardinal Bellarmine, a meanie from the Inquisition, was made on the front of a bottle, and if you wanted to put a spell on somebody you would put blood and hair and such in there. I have made several witch bottles lately, this one I made at home with my pecan pie glaze.

From the link we read about one particular bottle:
"It probably dates from the last quarter of the 17th century, and contained 12 bent iron nails (one of which pierced a small leather heart), eight brass pins, 10 adult fingernail pairings (not from a manual worker, but a person “of some social standing”), a quantity of hair and urine with traces of nicotine, indicating it had come from a smoker. There were also traces of sulphur, then known as brimstone, and what is thought to be navel fluff. The brimstone recalled the passage in Revelation where the beast and the false prophet were “cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone”. "


Saturday, November 28, 2009

guntshots at 12:45?

Was awakened at 12:45 by gunshots...or firecrackers. Don't know why somebody would be doing either last night? Many of my neighbor's lights popped on as I was looking out the window, but my neighbors the gun nuts ALREADY had their lights on. I was wondering if they were shooting at each other?
Then I fell deeply asleep, but OI the dreams! In one, the gun nuts make a pass at me and then Chuckie the doll...remember the demonic doll Chuckie? Was chasing me and then I was in a public library where some menacing gangster type would make you turn in your library card. THAT was disturbing.

Day one open studio was good yesterday and certainly fun. I get a lot done when people are watching me. Nicki came over, for example, and David who timed it just right, came over in time for a beer.
You could come over today, got peanut butter chocolate cookies and open 12-4, 540 Main St, Etna, NY, (rte 366, the purple house!).

Friday, November 27, 2009

DIG IT: open studio today and Saturday and what's that white stuff on the ground?

SO, making the wee little teapots yesterday, as I said, and of course the triple chocolate cookies and the missus made this wild spicy pizza and it was warm and sunny and so we went out for a hike, as you can see from my contortions with the dawg, and then, naturally, the celebratory Thanksgiving martini with Spike....
OK, so there is snow on the ground, whoopee! C'mon over today or tomorrow for open studio: 540 Main, Etna, NY (rte. 366, the purple house!) 12-4

We were watching Flight of the Conchords last night and Dave is a favorite of mine, and here is one of his fake ads:

Thursday, November 26, 2009

I love to work and make piggy bottoms and....

(mugs by Gary Rith, Spike helps me with a blog post, and Penny crawled under my pillow when she came in from the rain...)
A year or 2 ago Shelly saw me putting piggy faces on mugs and she was like "should there be a piggy bottom on the other side???" and sometimes there is you know, because that is a good idea.
Basically, since I have done fairs every Thanksgiving weekend for 13 years, today is a work day for me (I am having open studio Friday and Saturday 12-4, c'mon over here!) and it will be a quiet and busy holiday.
I was at the store yesterday getting pink roses for the missus and almost all the flowers were fall rust colors, yellows and reds, and I realized she and I are not very traditional. As vegans, it will be some sort of pizza she is cooking up and I am making triple chocolate cookies. We have nothing against tradition, but I guess we don't pay much attention to traditions either.
So today I cannot wait to get into the studio and work on some wee little teapots I started yesterday and which I am excited about and also make some cow mugs for Anna etc etc....
I am thankful to be able to be with the missus, have my work, have the greatest purple house in the world, I am thankful for tasty veggie foods and I am thankful for my super fun and affectionate dogs and cats.
Stevo had his tripod last night and got this shot of the Gallow Pre-Thanksgiving Chapterhouse Happy Hour. Jaysus there were a lot of us and it was so loud we could barely hear across the table....I am SO thankful for good friends like Steve and his family and the OTHER friends...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Flight of the Conchords and the hair gel...

The absolute funniest .... reminds me of Visage in 1982....

the Gallows and then some...

My best pal Stevo is like "Gary, happy hour at the Chapterhouse Wednesday, with all the fam???" and I am like "HECK YEAH!" so all the members of Stevo's family over 21 and not a dog or cat met me and the missus and Nicki and holy cats, another Steve and other nice people, and, well, it was pretty LOUD.

and I say ROCK ON

I don't want to be a killjoy, but:

Here is a thought or 2 about Thanksgiving:
From what I understand, Jamestown, Virginia is a much earlier settlement than Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts, but after the Civil War northerners decided to rewrite history slightly with a story that favored northerners as more heroic than southerners and that is how the holiday was born. Also from what I understand, up to 90 percent of the native populations of the western hemisphere died of disease or war or slavery within 100 years of European exploration.
Much of American history is about about expansion and hard working settlers, but you could see it as coming at the expense of the millions of people who were already here.
It is also true that Americans will now spend millions of dollars shopping on Thanksgiving weekend (I hope a few bucks will be spent on my pottery, ahem) BUT
here is my point.
Thanksgiving should truly be about being thankful and being together. Please think about people who have had a tough year and go one step further and try to make somebody else thankful. I am gonna think about what I can do, I hope you will too.


Delivered a bunch of monster mugs to Manndible Cafe yesterday and holy CATS that place is tasty. I went with Leslie and Carol and we gossiped about YOU but I forgot to take pics....

BAMF of the week: Jim drove 12 hours to see me, yes he did....

You know I am magnetic and fascinating, right? Its a given.
Famous Kentucky potter and blogger Jim Gottuso happens to have grown up near us here in New York and he drove up from Louisville to see his fam and see me. Or at least meet my beagle and go to my bar....
If that doesn't qualify you for BAMF of the week I don't know what does....

Dig Neko Case.....

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

mystery glaze...

(teapot by Gary Rith)
At the Cornell studios there is a huge rinse bucket. You mix your glaze up, clean your mixer and brushes in the rinse bucket, and there is a huge quantity of muck at the bottom--the leftovers of ten different glazes. Somebody stirred up and sieved that muck and this glaze is the result, and everybody is racing to use it, 'cause it looks so SHARP. makes me want to mix all 15 of my glazes together at home and see what happens!
Big day today. Gotta get more java and dig these guys:

Monday, November 23, 2009

ho ho ho!

(Santa mug by Gary Rith, on sale now at my etsy shop)

Its a nasty world sometimes, isn't it?

(teapot by Gary Rith)
You know, I am sometimes asked why I make what I make, a wee smiling little guy atop a teapot, for example. I do so firstly because it makes me laugh and is fun to make. I realize, and I am not kidding here, that as I form the elephant's smile I am beginning to smile too. It makes me so happy.
Its a sh!tty world sometimes. I am fortunate to be able to sit around and make things all day, but what do you do in a world where there is so much misery? I don't have an answer. But this is what I do, because maybe I can make somebody else laugh and smile too, and that is very important to me.

I was asked to enter a competition of upstate NY artists for the WSKG TV and radio station. 3 years ago I was not only asked to compete, but wound up being interviewed on live TV while they introduced my teapot to the world and then auctioned it off for charity. This event is a little different. Winners have their art work placed into a traveling show going across NY, hopefully to great acclaim, fame and fortune. I chose this guy because although I have a lot of favorites kicking around the studio, this guy has been THE number one favorite for months :)

afternoon meet and greet and a Monday Monkey business

I was invited to, not a craft fair exactly, but a sort of meet and greet with a few other artists in the grand ballroom of the grand old Inn Rogue's Harbor. So, for the first time in years, I set up a display somewhere and met the public. I have a damn hard time with the public--I have extreme crowd phobias and shyness, (can you believe it? I know, it always seems I am hanging out and partying with somebody--and I am, but craft fairs and meeting people make me want to crawl into a closet).
ANYWAY, the folks at this inn, and it is a favorite dining room and bar of mine, are so friendly, plus I knew Dee the painter (seen here, and you will recall I was at her party Friday night) and Margaret the glass lady, and basically we spent the afternoon drinking coffee and gossiping about YOU. We did. Dee is hilarious and so friendly, and don't you love her paintings?
The event itself, if I may be frank here, also had a wine tasting going on. Let's just say that when the public is faced with a group of artists and a wine tasting, people head for the wine............................

AND feel free to go to comments and add a good, moderately clean, joke and here is a BAD ONE from me that I found floating around...

This frog walks into a bank to get a loan. He steps up to the counter and asks for an application from the clerk, Patty Wack.
"Hi, I'd like to fill out an application for a loan", said the frog.

Patty Wack replied, "Do you have any collateral for this loan; something to stand against your loan?"

The frog replied, "All I have is this statue of a unicorn."

"Well, I don't know," said Patty Wack, "I'll have to ask the manager about this."

Patty Wack goes to see the bank manager.

The bank manager looks at the statue and replies: "Knick Knack, Patty Wack. Give the frog a loan."

Sunday, November 22, 2009

a threesome on the couch

Buster, Penny and Emily gettin' down...for a nap....
Sarah was here in August and she was looking at our couch and living room and said, quite correctly
"you don't spend much time on the couch, do you?"
and we don't, actually, but the cats and dawgs do....

RAKU party, the whole story

SO, my clay supplier is this family business 50 miles away in Syracuse called Clayscapes, and it is a family business and I guess they supply all of the hundreds of potters and pottery students in northern New York, and they are the NICEST people and they hosted a huge party for all of us yesterday, with 12 raku firings. I mean, food and drink and pottery and FIRE!
You usually fire your pottery slowly over at least a 24 hour hour heating and cooling process. Raku is heating your pot to 1800 degrees in 20-40 minutes, pulling it OUT and smoking it with paper in our case in a closed trash can, then quick cooling it in water. So, a 24 hour process becomes a fast one hour process of quick heating and cooling and FLAMES and smoke everywhere!
When I was in college I could run the kiln myself, but the Clayscapes guys handled the tongs and fire for us yesterday.
You can see my piece, although the pics are jumbled, freshly glazed then in the kiln then being pulled out red hot and smoked then cooled. It is a rough process and some people's break, my 2 did not and they look great (see below).
Then of course, down the street with Tom and Tommy and Carol to my favorite biker bar, Dinosaur BBQ for the, you know, salad....

Saturday, November 21, 2009

RAKU PARTY part one!

(raku pots by Gary Rith)
I have a million photos and these are the last ones. The final pics. Went with Tom and Tommy and Martha and Carol to a raku party today--a fun glaze process where you quick heat and quick cool pots, creating WILD colors and patterns.
It was a BLAST and my pieces turned out PERFECT and I will post the rest of the story and more pics tomorrow and hopefully me and my pals will build our own raku kiln :)

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