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

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

robot pots...!

Corgis and beagles have NOTHING whatsoever to do with robots, but they are CUTE!  Babysitting Soupy, Penny's corgi friend, has become a daily thing.  Can you get over it? TCFW!
Call it cute overload, but I hope to get Yogi the golden doodle in there sometime, which will make TCFW to the third power....

I was at Soupy's house the other day and noticed they have one of my robot pots from last year and I was like "why have I NOT made robot pots since last year????".  It is a good thing other people have my things so I can remember what I like to make....

Monday, September 29, 2014

my massive mugshot Monday.....

Just realized I have all these new mugs to catch you up on!
I have said I do not ONLY make silly pieces.  But these are all silly pieces..... have a great Monday!

(new pottery by Gary Rith)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

"she's very photogenic"

Friends visited Friday and meeting Penny for the first time but having seen her HERE a zillion times remarked "Penny is very photogenic".
You might think we pose her. Nono, we do not!  She just arranges herself cutely, ears here and there...
these pots were arranged, though.  We want to take more pics of my work with flowers....these glads from our garden...have a great Sunday!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

a week from Christmas....

Well actually it is TWO WEEKS until my open studio here!  October 11-12, Saturday and Sunday 11-5!  email me to get directions and more info.  And surely I realize Christmas is ...gasp....3 MONTHS from now!  But not in my dreams.... I have been dreaming of snow every night for the last couple of weeks.... I am not especially fond of snow.  I live in a place, and you need to realize I have ALWAYS lived in places like this, where the snow can pile up taller than your head.  Snow is not a pretty Hallmark Card or rom-com (I do LOVE LOVE, ACTUALLY though...) but a serious nuisance starting in October and ending in May. So why dream of it???

WELL, dreaming last night it was fun.  A cheerful week before Christmas, only light snow and ice, and with a  group of friends we took bikes and skateboards downtown to open a few friend presents outside a bar and have a cheerful little party.... made me feel all holiday spirit and all.

ANYWAY, lately making a lot of vases.  I am holding the 2 blue ones to give you an idea of size--they are pretty big, for me.... have an awesome weekend!

(new pottery by Gary Rith)

Friday, September 26, 2014

SMUDGE the bunny

My neighbors had a small visitor in their yard last week, SMUDGE the bunny!  He was pretty tame and friendly, then went back to his usual life of sneaking into their garden and hanging out in the woods with his numerous friends and relations. Naturally I was inspired to make a BUNNY BANK ...I have made them before, but I wanted extra-large ears and a nice light blue glaze color....

Yogi the dog is like "hmmmmmm, what have we here...."

Thursday, September 25, 2014

when pigs fly........

You ever keep something hanging around the studio just because you like it or because it is the last one or the only one of something you made?  I sold a couple pigs in planes last month in Cooperstown and they wanted another by last Saturday, could I make one and bring it when I visited?  I did not have enough time to make and fire a new one by Saturday but I had one last one sitting around for the past year where I could enjoy its company. SO, it went to a new owner and I made this and improved, I think, with the windscreen.....

(new sculpture by Gary Rith)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

when CUTE got CUTER: beagles and corgis!

Penny's friend Soupy lives across the street and I was babysitting her yesterday. There are good reasons people love corgis :) It was hard to choose here are MANY!


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

the long and the short of it....

BUT FIRST!  An end of summer haiku.  Sunday, last day of summer, was very warm.  Monday, first day of fall, was winter coat cold and and wet!  Of course it was..... so I wrote this as we ate the last of our corn....

Last day of summer
Hot, humid sun, mow the lawn,
Corn....cold tomorrow...

I am very fond of pottery from east Asia and the lovely forms and shapes.  You see me making vases and bottles sometimes, no adornment, just their quiet form occupying space, unlike much of my decorated work.
I thought these 2 were a fun yin and yang:  the large round bottle and the slim green vase just out of the kiln with a dinner plate dahlia.... happy Tuesday!

(pottery by Gary Rith)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Chateau Muller..?

My parents live in the middle of nowhere, thousands of acres of forest surround them.  And a few farms.  If you drive a few miles, you come across a village of 300 with a post office, gas station, cafe, bank, general store and school.  The ice cream stand closed a few years ago.  ANYWAY, except for 100+ years ago when there were about 100 farms in that town (maybe 7 now), it has always been empty and remote and forested (history of the area, click here).

My sister was in the middle of Muller State forest recently and came across an old state historical marker describing that area as the former estate of the Muller family, a French nobleman...!!! Apparently 200 years ago, Muller ran from France with a barrel of gold and silver and bought 2700 acres of remote forest (it is still remote forest) and built himself a chateau of logs, hiring 150 men in the process, and proceeded to live there with his family as if it was a fortress. After a couple of years Napoleon was defeated and they all moved back to France.... read the history, it is pretty darn interesting.

SO anyway, the original house burned down in 1907.  What is left of it is difficult to locate. The wife and I went to the marker and started hiking into the woods.  We followed a path up a hill and...never saw a thing.  Until we got to the top and found a huge pond (small lake!) that was just a gorgeous gem, utterly beautiful and isolated.  And not on any maps, seemingly with no name.  We figured we would return down the path and look around more carefully, and YES, we found the ruins of the chateau.  In the woods there are some depressions and rectangular shapes dug into the forest floor, with many foundation rocks (no doubt people have been scrounging for treasure there for a long time).  I should have taken a picture, because we also saw a brick.  Half a brick.  I will return and look around more carefully, but on Saturday I was feeling a little Blair Witch Project, as you sometimes feel when in the middle of the spooky nowhere......

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Indian Hunter and his dog...

OK, so sure, a cheesy tourist type photo...I had to deliver pots to Cooperstown Art Association on Saturday, and I have shown you pictures of that.  In the gorgeous lakeside park is a statue from James Fenimore Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales.   Penny and I make a convincing statue, hmm?  Have a great Sunday!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

cute in real life, almost as cute in clay :)

Have a great Saturday :)

(wall piece by Gary Rith)

Friday, September 19, 2014

the way to woo a woman: CALZONES as comfort food...

I have been fiddling around with calzones this week...gluten-free doughs tend to be more wet and sticky than wheat doughs, and you need to roll out calzone dough to make a turnover.  Based upon the original gluten-free on a shoestring pizza recipe, with added potato starch and an egg, huzzah!  A nice, soft, flexible, AWESOME calzone dough.  I made them twice, for one of those 4 meals in a row yummy weeks.... the filling is a ricotta like mix of soy with sauteed eggplant, tomato, spinach and olives and WAY TOO much spice... oh GOODness....

The wife was reminding me of what I was thinking all day:
"when we started dating you fed me calzones and I WAS GONE, totally fell for you..."
so there is some history there!  If only macho men realized that a good woman will lose her heart for you not because you have a monster truck but because you are a master chef....

In other news, frost was predicted last night.  Seems pretty damn EARLY, you know?  I don't know yet if we have frost but temps do seem to be in the 30s.  My Cali and Florida friends are like "WTF, 30s in SEPTEMBER???".  The world overall has had a hot year but upstate NY has been a mite chilly....
I took down the screen doors and made pumpkin bread.  That sh!t usually happens in October...sigh...

Anyway, our neighbors madly harvested tomatoes and we got SO MANY and I made a quick pot of marinara sauce OH GOSH the house smells good... have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

DRAGONS: here there be monsters!

I love those old maps, where Europeans drew dragons and monsters at the margins of exploration... sorta like "OK we don't know what's west of Buffalo, so probably it is DRAGONS!".
AND the Welsh flag is maybe the coolest in the world.

SO my old pal Susan writes to say she will visit from Kentucky next week.  To work backwards:
Susan asked a couple of years ago if I could make her a dragon grudge pot:  a sphere she had in mind with a dragon head where she could write about people who make her mad on slips of paper then burn them inside the dragon to, you know, chill out and maybe the grudge would go up in smoke and ease her mind.

So, with her visit, she wanted 2 more.

But working backwards, as I say, who is she?  One of the first people I met age 17 as a Bennington College freshman.  There was a party at her dorm next to mine and I was covered with clay.  I had just discovered pottery and the college open studios and was covered with the stuff (a badge of honor at my college was to be covered with artsy fartsy crap....JD Salinger who wrote CATCHER IN THE RYE said the very thing in his story FRANNY AND ZOOEY "......Bennington or Sarah Lawrence girl who looked like she’d spent the whole train ride in the john, sculpting or painting or something”
I went to college to meet that girl and BECOME, um, that girl....

Susan asked me what I had been doing and I said "throwing pots" and she mistook it for some new way of enjoying weed (which is probably true for some potters and t0kers...).
We had many of the same classes.  Bennington is a tiny college, less than 600 students when we were there, but many students I never met even if I saw them around, and others I saw all the time, like Susan. We both student taught in the same kindergarten for over a year, and my sophmore year we had rooms next to each other in an off campus house.  Havn't seen her since, like, 1986..... ANYWAY, so she got me thinking about dragons. I find dragons amusing some of the time, although when it comes to stuff like that, you probably know all too well I am more a GODZILLA type of guy.

I made her 2 grudge pots...they are COOLER than the first one.  These will let the smoke out of their nostrils and mouth!

And they got me thinking about dragon mugs....I think these things KICK ASS.  All 4 are already sold, but I like them a LOT and am making more.....

(pottery by Gary Rith)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

speaking of wholesale....

SO, like I was saying yesterday, I do not do much wholesaling (selling a special order of multiple items to a gallery at a discount).  But I DO with Tom's, a favorite store of mine in Binghamton, NY.... brought them 6 boxes Tuesday, which as you see on the table, is a LOT of my stuff.  The pic with me shows the last couple of items I had there on the top shelf.  
My goodness they treat me like a king.  Tom is an old 60s radical who opened a groovy emporium and....the decades have past, and he still has a VERY groovy emporium, lucky me!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

"much too expensive" vs. "you don't charge enough"

I don't wholesale often.  The idea is, a store asks for a stack of 50 identical brown bowls, 100 garlic keepers and you give them a break on price and they write you a check.  (consignment pays more money, but only once your item has sold in the store, and usually you get to control what you put on the shelf and then switch it easily if it does not sell--I prefer that freedom)
When I wholesale, I usually say "why don't I bring you some stuff, choose what you want for the store, I'll tell you suggested retail price that I would sell it for, and I'll give you a break on price".

I am not a factory in China, and I am not a penniless pottery machine.  Generally, if I make it, it sells!  I am very fortunate about how my life and my business works out. And I am sure as heck not desperate to make piles of quick sellers.

A month ago I was contacted by a stranger in Connecticut who said she had a store and wanted 10 identical frog mugs wholesale by the next week.  She said she would pay a little for shipping. I got the feeling she wanted them DEAD CHEAP.  And I make something different everyday and did not have ten of those mugs (and was not in the mood to make them...that is ME:  I make what I am in the mood to make).
I responded with a fair discount price and a fair shipping price and said they could be ready in 2 weeks, and never heard back.  Lesson number one in retail:  lay out the pricing  and timing right away so nobody is surprised.

I thought that was stinkin' RUDE.  She contacts me out of the blue, I respond politely and NEVER get a reply.  I figured she wasn't interested, but followed up a month later with a polite "hope you got my message and thanks for writing!".  She tells me "Oh, I got your message.  MUCH TOO EXPENSIVE".  That was it, she heaped rude on rude!  I was tempted to write back explaining my prices and terms were reasonable, and what does she expect?  And that she is a stinking witch.  Of course I did not do that, instead  I decided to blog it! Of course.

OK, but here is the kicker.  I charge 19-20 bucks retail for a mug.  As a shopper, I think that is PLENTY of money for a mug.  People ask how long it takes to make a mug.  I have added it all up, from throwing to finishing, to schlepping clay home, going to the post office and the craft fair...whatever.  Let's call it about a half hour to 2 hours make and sell a mug. (the throwing part?  1.5 minutes---I am fast with that part, but that is just one part of the process)

SO, the same exact morning I get that stinker "MUCH TOO EXPENSIVE" I am selling a mug online to a potter who lives near that shop.  By coincidence.  And they do not know each other or about my conversations.  And this potter, what does she tell me?
"You don't charge enough for your pottery".  She is a sweetiepie, and that message came at exactly the right moment.

Hey, go on over and find some  not expensive enough pottery at my etsy shoppe, with many new items!
red doggy mughoney pot with a bear

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