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, June 30, 2011

it all started when....

I had a message a month ago from another potter, the one whom I was apprenticed to back in 1985. He lives near us, is a totally sweet guy, awesome, and only a few years older than me at about age 50-51. He is a thoroughly prolific potter, averaging 8,000-10,000 pots made and sold a year for 30 years! He makes dishes and vases all in a style and is called a production potter, so that if you had bought his plates in 1982 and one broke, you could go over there and buy an exact handmade replacement. I make many fewer pieces each year, NOT all the same, and I am onto a different creative direction every few months.

Anyway, over the years I have watched as this poor man's body has taken a beating. The toll of making 8,000 pots a year--back trouble and surgery etc. I exercise a little to try to keep the imbalanced wear on my body evened out, plus try to vary my activities and motions and movements. Not hard to do when you get as bored with repetition as I do.

A month ago he wrote to say he is selling his house and business and going into semi-retirement. He had JOINT REPLACEMENT in his left hand, and is about to have joints replaced in his right hand. I hadn't heard of replacing hand joints before, although a potter living near me, also in his early 50s, has had his hips replaced. MY GOSH this is a horrible fate! I do not want to see arthritis or whatever tear me apart in a few years.

SO, as much as I vary what I am doing already, I started thinking about going from making pots and sculpture to adding MORE drawing and painting onto pots, a totally different physical activity. You had seen me do a little over the years, now I am doing a LOT. There is a lot of momentum for me going in this direction, a lot of new ideas and fun to try, but I am also filled sometimes with self doubt: is this any good? Will people buy it? Such a new direction! 2 big fairs in July!!!??? What tells me it is th right thing to do, for now and later (I will make other things too, of course) is that
a) it is so much fun and
b) it is all coming out of the kiln looking PERFECT. These items could not look better.

This elephant holding balloons teapot just came outta the kiln, and above you can see me decorating it. I loooooove this item and the pair of photos is going onto a new postcard I just ordered.

If you have noticed, I have rudimentary drawing skills (no training! just messing around...) and I come from the children's book illustration end of the spectrum or the Snoopy school of art--simple lines, funny and cute.

(new pottery by Gary Rith)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

you probably wanted to know what our living room looks like

And there it is! Not as clean...or as could be. Big black labs shed a lot of black fur, you know? Penny hates other dogs and cats but spends all day cuddled up to either Buster the lab or Spike the cat.....her posse....

These tiles look good eh? Gotta make MORE! More tiles, more everything....the cow-pig bowl below? I like pigs more, so photographed the pig over the cow....
have an awesome Wednesday!

(new pottery by Gary Rith)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Chuck and the fierce beagle......

If you are a small and adorable yet vicious and brave beagle, you'd be pretty pissed that Chuck is all over your yard. Even tunneling under the fence to come up to the door! Summer is such a challenge for beagles, all those bunnies and other varmints...


I made this teapot and asked Penny to model with it. She is, after all, the model FOR IT. Gosh, could she be any more bored????

I was out biking on East Hill rail trail yesterday, taking pics as I zipped along, and people ask me so many things about my biking so here are answers:
1) YES, I take pics while moving, why not? Who knows what might come up?
2) YES, I usually have my helmet covering even the front of my brain and
3) YES kasey, I have a lot of stickers on my helmet too. I have had the helmet awhile, going back to Chicago in the early 90s, therefore the old Sox sticker there.....

Monday, June 27, 2011


Me and the wife hadn't grilled yet this summer, what is wrong with us? I marinated eggplant and peppers and stuff yesterday and they grilled up super tasty then put onto rice with lentils...
Took the wife down to the South Hill Rail Trail Sunday, oh WOW. It is this lush jungle. I didn't take any pictures of the jungle, just us looking intrepid....
it is FUN biking quickly along a trail and using one of your hands to snap photos.....

AND FINALLY a little dose of adorableness for ya. The dog across the street, a little corgi named Soupy? I told you I had made her a special dish, drew herself on one side, wrote her name on the other. It came outta the kiln and she is ready for it to be filled with chopped bits....
happy Monday all!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

REdefining ADORable....

(new pottery etc by Gary Rith)
Yesterday I was doodling madly in the sketch pad--I wanted to bring some green balloons onto pots, a nice, cute, cheerful accent, and so first I was trying a beagle on the side, drifting away, then I realized that elephants have that trunk, maybe they would like balloons too?
Spike, below. I need to consider how to get a cat licking its paw onto pots too....
have an awesome Sunday!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

partying with Benji, Erin, the wife and.....

Me and the wife met up with our best pals Benji and Erin at the Chapterhouse last night...hadn't been to the Chapterhouse in a while, as you will have noticed...there had been an incident...involving me and somebody I have tried to avoid ever since....letting things calm down as it were...but the dude is supposedly in China, so going back to the Chappy seemed cool....

When you have seen comments on this blog from Summer, that is Erin...Erin lives down the street from us, and is a bug doctor. You think I am kidding? SHE IS! probably sounds rude of me to put it that way, but she is an entymologist at Cornell (a bug doctor, like I said). She is up to something involving fungus, nematodes and wasps. I asked if she had always wanted to study these things, and she tells the tale of her babysitter when she was little "you can't come in the house until you empty your pockets, leave the worms and whatever else OUTDOORS!" She is an accomplished artist as well....

Benji is awesome, per usual....showed us some of the paintings he is working on...bouncing around, as he does, between NY city and Ithaca...

You may know the expression "so it goes", which the writer Kurt Vonnegut is famous for...the wife is always saying that, and somebody helpfully graffited it with a pic of Vonnegut on the wall where we were parked...

Friday, June 24, 2011

a boatload once again.....

This teapot above, I was gonna make it black with a skull, but the wife is like "blues!" so I did that. Twas a good idea, yes?
But what can I say? I am painting all these pieces this week. The pig on that teapot looks especially round and fun and friendly, so I know I am doing the right thing....I have been making tiles, too, that could be placed on a table as a hot pad or hung on the wall, just a chance to make something low priced and also experiment...

(new pottery by Gary Rith)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Soupy? Soupie?? Soupey??? Soopie????

(decorating and painting a number of items, and trying to draw a good Soupy the corgi)
I told you last week that they got an adorable corgi named Soupy across the street. I have been trying to draw her ever since, and I got what I wanted. You have to a) make a blocky body b) make those big elf ears sticking up and c) keep the nose pointed down. This little dish will be for Soupy, a surprise, and I wrote her name on the bowl permanently then I was like "damn, did I spell it right???? HOW DO YOU SPELL SOUPY?" and thanks to FB, I found that I had it correct :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

adorable alert: BEAGLES and BLACK coffee...

I made myself a cup and saucer. I wanted it to be JUST SO, and hold a medium-small amount of java, like, a double shot of espresso. OK, well, a triple shot....and it came outta the kiln this week, and yesterday I am about to sit down and sip with Penny.....

...and Penny is like "hmmm????? FOR ME??????"

....and SHOCKINGLY she decided, much to my surprise, that beagles drink espresso....wait, beagles will eat anything, so no big surprise right?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

must have been Monday, if everything was gonna break.....

Gosh, you just love the longest day of the year, don't you? So much lovely daylight.
You can see that Spike crawled into the wife's strawberry picking basket. Spike is no angel. How is it cats know about all the naughty little places to nap?

Sunday the kiln was firing, and it has a computer controller, monitoring the temp and speed and whatever. It rang the alarm for firing too slow. But it finished its work, things were OK, just a slightly slow firing, but I knew I had to test the kiln, open up its guts. One of the elements nearly burned out, so I replaced it. Works like new again. The studio potter learns to fix stuff, you better believe it...and then the front door lock broke, and I fixed THAT. The homeowner ALSO learns to fix it all....

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