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

Friday, August 31, 2012

ginormous beer mug INDEED!

I know, hilarious, isn't it?  Doggy on a beer mug having his own beer out of a small handmade mug?
Just outta the kiln and I am like "I want this thing for MYSELF and I better make more....."

Thursday, August 30, 2012

the PO f#$ks up but I come through....

In shipping from the PO the last, say, 6 years, thousands of items have got where they are going, no probs.  (I ship 500+ items a year) Only one or 2 broken pots, there is a lot of trouble shipping to Canada, but that does not count as they almost ALWAYS do something strange up there, and I have shipped teasets to Ireland and Singapore with no problem...even mugs to Bosnia and Australia....
but this elephant mug, a month ago, to Boston? Bizarre.  You have tracking for a reason, and NY to Boston is usually an easy one-two day trip.  This mug bounced around FIVE Boston area post offices, etc etc etc, and just got back here.  Last week, being the angel that I am, in trying to make customers VERY happy, sent a replacement to the customer...which arrived safely in one day.  The original finished its Boston sightseeing and arrived back here OPEN as you see...but mug intact.  WTF?

If you were wondering why I have made so much beer bread, pizza, beans etc lately, it is because I recently bought some new beers and....I don't like their flavor.  Ick.  But it is good for SOMETHING! Yesterday I tried a simple whole wheat beer bread recipe *** and holy CATS it is awesome and easy!

***simple whole wheat beer bread

Grease a loaf pan and preheat oven to 350
sift into large bowl:
1.5 cups white flour and
1.5 cups whole wheat flour 
then stir into that:
4.5 teasp. baking powder and
1.5 teasp. salt and
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
then pour a 12 oz bottle of beer into that, stir to combine, using your hands in the bowl to knead it around until it is nicely combined, form into a loaf shape, place in greased pan, bake about 55 minutes

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

can you find the CAT in this picture?

(boatload of elephant cups...or is it a herd?  or is it a PRIDE?  what is a gang of elephants called, i forget...anyways, I was telling you about these yesterday....)

Can you find Spike the cat in the picture below?  I think he believes that if he hides his little head, nobody will see his ginormous po-po....

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

beer pizza dough = :)

I was falling asleep the other day and began thinking about the first elephant mugs I made, about 12 years ago:  the very first is the cup on the left, the most recent style on the far right.  I was thinking "golly, it takes no time at all to make the cup shape for the standing ones, but the adding feet and all ...well, let's make a whole herd!"  It IS a cute style, isn't it?  So is the style on the right....but I revisit old ideas from time to time, I do indeed....

I woke up yesterday and I was like "whole wheat beer pizza dough: it has GOT to exist!" and I looked it up, lickity split, and got a recipe, and made it....holy CATS am I glad I did! It is the MOST elastic pizza dough I have ever made (I am throwing out some of my pizza recipes, why bother using them again!) , and cooked utterly perfectly with her instructions...the basics of which is below--I don't use a mixer or any of that, just put all ingredients in a bowl, stir, knead for awhile :) **

Amazing:  my old pal Kerry gave us some unidentified tomato plants and we grew them in pots on the porch and WOW, some are cherry, some plum, some huge, ALL are doing mighty well and starting to produce!

whole wheat beer pizza

2 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour and 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (what I used)
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups room-temperature beer (the stronger the flavor, the better)
Place all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fixed with a paddle attachment and mixed until just combined. Replace paddle attachment with dough hook and knead dough until smooth and elastic, about 7 minutes (or knead by hand on a lightly floured countertop for about 10 minutes). Form dough into a ball, place in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Remove risen dough from bowl and punch down. Divide in half and shape each piece into a 10-12 inch round or 8-by-12 inch rectangle. Place rounds or rectangles onto pizza stones or parchment paper-lined baking sheets. For thin crust, bake pizza immediately. For medium to thick crust, let dough rest for about 30 minutes.
Bake crusts without anything on them for about 5 minutes. Add meat and veggie ingredients and bake another 10 minutes. Add half the cheese and any herbs and bake another 3 minutes, then add remaining cheese and bake until cheese is just melted, about 3 more minutes. Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Monday, August 27, 2012

you know its a great weekend when it is over in the blink of an eye

OK, we are out and about Saturday...and holy CATS there is my dream pair of boots at the consignment "BOUTIQUE".  Engineer boots, size 9...I am a size 9.  In barely used condition, just a little worn in....perfect fit, perfect match for my leather jackets and MY BADASS LIFESTYLE. I got home and threw 2 pairs of less than perfect boots into the donation pile...because PERFECT HAD ARRIVED. 
It was hot.  This did not stop me from trying them on, in shorts, like little kids do all summer, wearing their favorite boots and shorts.... (you know its been a hot summer when you see me wearing shorts all the and my fuzzy legs are not often shorts people...)

I woke up the other day and I was like "I wanna make RICE FRITTERS!" which is a fun New Orleans dish using leftover rice.  Or simply, rice you wanna turn into fritters.  It is so simple and tasty and you imagine mixing in other things, for fun, like black beans or lentils and jalapenos, go NUTS! (if you mix in beans, you can pretend they are a tasty vegetarian burger)
The woman who wrote the recipe I use says something like "these go great with guacamole"...and I had an avocado waiting for a use like that.  Saturday we had rice fritters with guac....and we were making corn salsa**** Sunday and decided to make the rice fritters AGAIN to go with....except we wanted to make tortillas for the first time.    How come nobody told me, how EASY and TASTY making your own tortillas is?  The wife made the prettiest one, and now we have the technique down.  It took us exactly 11 minutes to make our first batch, keeping the finished ones hot in the oven...WOW.  Then we wrapped them around rice fritters with corn salsa.... KILLER!

Saturday, rice fritters with guac and zucchini relish....

Sunday making tortillas to go with rice fritters and corn salsa...notice my Pillsbury doughboy at the left....


you can't go wrong, adding other stuff to this recipe, like black beans or more garlic or lime, GO NUTS--I have a lot of good salsa recipes, this is our favorite, esp. now that corn is fresh

Gary's corn salsa
2 ears of corn, shucked, boiled, cut off kernals with a knife into a bowl
-1 cup diced tomato
-diced large jalapeno
-1/2 purple onion
-powdered garlic, black pepper
-2 TBS red wine vinegar and lime juice
-fresh herbs like cilantro leaves or basil and oregano
stir, keep in fridge, eat!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

the very very busy day indeed....

I have not run a race in something like...18 years?  Not counting when I coached cross country and track to high schoolers, and THEY raced.  But next week, bright and early, I run a 5K (3.1 miles) in Groton.  I go slow.  I always go slow.  Running to me is about accomplishing a distance without getting hurt.  I wore my 1992 Chicago marathon tee to try to intimidate Stev0's ass, but he is far too kindly to pay attention to me underhanded mind games ;)

Anyway, my best pal Stev0 has been a serious runner for years, and the Groton 5K on Labor Day is in his back yard so to speak, and he took me over the course Saturday morning.  then, of course, the wife buys me a burrito and takes me biking..............
Slept REALLY well last night....

You probably need to be thinking CHRISTMAS SHOPPING! Great new items at my etsy gallery!
skull mugput a bird on it turtle sugar bowl with blue bird on topspecial pair of cups elephant and rabbit togetherpair of dog and cat cups and saucers

Saturday, August 25, 2012

29 years plus 29 minutes....

(me, with a bowl bigger than my head...much will be decorated and trimmed today---I had a few pounds clay in the bottom of a bag and felt lazy and...keep reading)

People ask me "how long does it take to make these pots?" all the time.
People have seen the movie GHOST and figure all you have to do to make pottery is look sexy and move your hands around on some wet clay!  But pottery, of course, is like brain surgery and rocket science:  it takes years to learn!  This week marks 29 years since I started to learn pottery (15+ years full-time at it and 6 years blogging about it :)

SO, my clever answer to the people who ask how long it takes to make something is "29 years plus 29 minutes" and I explain that while it may only take a few minutes to throw an item, it has to later be trimmed, glazed, and you could add packed in a box and taken to the PO.....but really?  Even an enormous, for me, bowl like the one above?  Takes just a few minutes to throw, about the same as it takes for a smaller bowl....and not much longer than 1/2 inch tall thrown beer stein the dog is holding on the large beer stein below.  Throwing is quick, for me, but only a tiny part of the whole process.

I rarely work big, for a number of reasons.  First, I prefer to work small and cute, and as the wife says, "you are small and cute!".  Second, I have a small and medium sized kiln which would fill quickly.  Third, it is one of those BIG D!CK things:  some potters are like 'oh I can throw HUGE'.  Well, I can too, but I really like fussing and fiddling and using my imagination on an item, like the sculpted beer steins below, shown in stages with the sketches etc.  Fourth:  big items are hard to glaze in my glaze buckets.  I have small glaze buckets and I am too lazy to mess around with big buckets.

SO, yesterday, as you see below, I made HUGE beer steins, hold 1.5-2 pints each with decorations on them and even a small thrown stein for the dog AND I had some leftover clay and leftover space in the kiln to fill and I was like "let's just empty the bag of clay and make a bowl".  It is one particular challenge for a potter:  one large ball of clay turned into a complete pot in one sitting.  Because you can work on throwing large items in stages, as it dries adding and shaping, but to do it all at once, how big can you go? I can go pretty big, esp. considering I am a small wiry person.

Friday, August 24, 2012

the TIGERs and ME

You will recall that last August and the August before I was invited to Binghamton's Ross Park Zoo, to display and exhibit animal themed items (of course!) during their Feast With the Beasts fundraiser.  People spend, like, 30-35 bucks and can wander the zoo all evening eating donated restaurant food and wine (people drink A LOT of wine) and enjoying an awesome late summer evening, with music and art.  I love it! Who wouldn't????

Last year, as you will recall, I had asked to be in their biggest draw, the TIGER HOUSE, with the tigers.  I arrived.....and the tiger had JUST DIED that very afternoon.  The event had thousands of visitors though, it turned into a wake for the dead tiger. (that is me down there, with that dead tiger's skull...not as big as you might imagine a tiger skull to be, but the fangs are quite large, each bigger than a thumb).

OK, so, guess what?  they restored the tiger house, gorgeous, and this 2 new tigers! from Montana! (since when does Montana have Siberian tigers?????)  They are so shy they won't come out much, as you see, BUT I saw one of the keepers headed down in back...and I followed them and....they let me into the inside of the tiger house....where the tigers are!  Imagine the zoo keeper's area, size of a closet, and right in front of you:  TWO TIGERS! Its all down there in the pics.  A TV crew was wandering around.....


Thursday, August 23, 2012

feast with the beasts (???) PART ONE

You are like HUH? GARY, is that a ring tailed LEMUR? I am so busy I cannot explain...will do so Friday...and dig my new sculpture below, robot rides Godzilla, GIDDYUP!

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