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)


Jessie said...

I saw you say something about changing direction at Derfwad Manor and had to come check it out. How exciting Gary! I love your hand-drawn stuff, so I think it will definitely sell. Best of luck and have fun!

Unknown said...

I think you are on the right track: you have to do a couple of things in life, right? Follow your bliss, and keep evolving. The fact that you're still having fun is a great sign, Gary!

Unknown said...

So it's not just writers who are, at times, filled with self-doubt! So glad I'm not alone in this boat, Gary.

I'll echo what Susan said: I think you're on the right track. Do what you love, and people will love your work. :-D

Maddie said...

Love, love your pottery. Followed you from Mrs. G.

Now off to your etsy store!


Joyful Things said...

Yup. Right track. beautiful.

Unknown said...

Love your new doodle work! Stay fit and stay healthy.

Michèle Hastings said...

if you work from your heart it shines through in your work and people will love it.

CiCi said...

Potting seems to come so naturally to you. Your work has always been beautiful.

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