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

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

this is the end....

You won't see ME up till midnight, nosireebob...
2014 has been a good year here, hope it has been good for you too.  I am excited to fill out my running calendar's last box today.  It folds out of my filofax.  I run 3-5 miles  every morning, except when I don't, like yesterday it was so snowy and slick and I used the home gym only.  At the start of year I had a pedometer and wrote miles run and the day's paces, but the pedometer broke, so I started just writing in the miles run plus number of times I walked dogs.  I seem to have averaged 6+ runs out of 7 a week and about 4.5 dog walks a day.  I know, how do I find time for anything else? And WHO CARES?  Well, to tell the truth, I know some people who move only with great difficulty.  Running makes me feel alive, walking is how I meditate and think and I don't wanna stop until my ashes are in the urn.

SPEAKING of which, I had a request yesterday for a custom funeral urn. About 12 inches wide and 18 inches tall (A HUGE POT, like twice the size of a big cookie jar).  I remember reading before I went into pottery full-time "never take custom orders" and I politely told the person I was sorry they needed the urn, but they should find another potter.
The wife tells me "that thing would be so big, are they gonna put a whole FAMILY in there?" and I am like "I could crawl in there myself!".

On a more serious note, I made my first Thai papaya salad (click here) and OMFG it was good--I wanna try its sauce with a mango, or any other salad.  YES, yes I am eating a lot of tropical foods lately, the weather is cold......
happy new year and have fun!


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Cuba LIBRE! VIVA la plantains!

I had a job one winter...(30 years ago!) in Miami.  Anybody living in the northeast can understand why (that white sh!t on the ground this morning is NOT a sandy beach).

Forget politics, Cuban culture is COOL.  Music, art, FOOD.  Last time I had plantains with black beans was...30 years ago! By coincidence, I have wanted them badly since normalized relations were announced, and I got a cookbook with a recipe to make them, HA! ****  Who knew you could make something SO easy and tasty at home??? Just slice this big, tough banana, toss in batter, fry, meanwhile simmering beans in spice, YUM :)

black beans:  drain and rinse a 15 oz can of black beans, saute some chopped garlic, add beans, spice, 1/2 cup + of water, boil and simmer, mashing some of the beans as they soften--- add water if needed, as it should be something that is not quite as liquid as soup

plantain fritters: batter: (double, triple, etc as needed--plantains are big and one is good for us 2 to split, with beans) mix 1/4 cup chickpea flour with a teas of olive oil and a dash of salt and 1/2 teas of corn or potato starch, then add 1/4 cup water--it is like pancake batter---slice a plantain and toss the pieces in the batter, stir to coat them all, fry them up in a pan until each is golden, a few minutes---

serve:  top plantains with beans, and maybe other stuff too, like sour cream or guacamole or cheese or salsa or like us, simply hot sauce :)

Monday, December 29, 2014

mugshot Monday.....and MORE!

I am realizing I haven't made anything in a week! Just before Christmas this experiment came outta the kiln, a more direct way of doodling on pots than using a brush.  I am mighty pleased.  You can see I doodle a lot, trying over and over to get what I want in a figure, like the arrow pointing to the pig in the porkpie hat.
SO, perhaps a lot of this in 2015!

(pottery and drawings by Gary Rith)

Sunday, December 28, 2014

rock monsters....

Somewhere on the interwebs I saw somebody using split rocks to make monsters...beagle optional....have a great Sunday!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Kiko and Puffy

We spent part of Christmas day with Kiko the dog and Puffy the cat, who you also saw here last week... Kiko lives in a neato part of town with mansions and its own little forest preserve. Puffy is an athletic sweetie!

Friday was a shocker for us:  like, 46 and SUNNY.  Ithaca can see some gloomy-ass weather all year long, but WHAT a Christmas present:  great weather.

I wrote a haiku that encapsulates the day:

Hot December day!
My beagle eats a jelly
Donut on the street.

Yeah, where did THAT come from?

Why YES, Kiko IS drinking from a fountain shaped like an alligator eating a bird.....

Friday, December 26, 2014

post-Christmas Blues....

Immensely wonderful Christmas and Christmas eve here, hope that is true for you too.

I just ate a jam tart and slice of pumpkin pie and went for my daily 5k run....and nearly left the jam tart and pie behind in a ditch.  I usually have a tiny bit of porridge before running because it is easy on the belly but gives enough fuel to move.  "But it is Christmas!" sez I, gobbling up a big isn't the holidays if your stomach doesn't get to the breaking point, right? ;)

Yesterday I wrote 2 Christmas haikus, all TRUE!

Frog on Christmas day
Flattened on the roadside.
Wait, a frog on Christmas????


Dude walking pitbull
Christmas morning. My "hello!"
Gets me a scowl.

Upstate New York averages a near one hundred percent rate of white Christmasses (FACT! Look it up! Think of Buffalo a few weeks ago!) SO, temps in the 50s and frogs and FLOWERS popping open is an unusual Christmas sight...

Thursday, December 25, 2014

so this is Christmas.....

 You turn on the NPR news and its like "GAH! Ebola, Ferguson, North Korea....GAHHHHH!" and then Kings College Choir comes on and you begin to chill.  So much awfulness in the world, but maybe the point of the solstice and darkness is that humans need to celebrate the hope that light and spring will come.  Which feels great, you feel elated. I don't know what those kids are singing but it sounds beautiful.

Things are pretty low key here.  Our anniversary yesterday, to paraphrase Joe Biden, is a "BFD".  I went vintage boot shopping with the wife.
The lady in the shoppe told me repeatedly that I am a really good husband. Maybe not many men go vintage boot shopping with their wives?
I have a vested interest:  The wife is a very good looking woman and looks GREAT in boots....and I helped find a couple of pairs of BADASS boots that fit her like a glove, including the black cowgirl sh!tkickers you see below... I haggled like a champ and made the store owner beg for mercy and then we were home for yakasoba noodles with the cat and dog...NOW THAT is a fine wedding anniversary is it not?

Quaker tradition is that no day is more sacred than any other, including Christmas (I am, as a matter of fact, "working" today....various pet sitting jobs---but we celebrate--I am a greedy BAD QUAKER and like presents and feasts like anybody else ;)   But the older I get the more simple I like things.  Rose buds and greens make our tree....

The wife's sisters arrive later.  There will be chili and pumpkin pie...I used the extra pie crust to make jam tarts for breakfast....

Our village is small and we have no home mail delivery, just one half-time overworked guy who mans the stamp counter and sorts all of our mail into PO boxes.  He is fantastic.  I put a little note and pitcher of thanks in the back of our box....anybody would probably prefer cash, but at least the pitcher is also green and pocket sized :)

Merry Christmas everybody!


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

"nobody gets married on Christmas eve!"

So we were told many many years ago.... but we did.  We had known each other 3 years while we each were with other people before those relationships broke up and then in one fast year the wife and I had a first date and got married a few months later...people said it was a rebound relationship, what a REBOUND!

It occurs to me that making jam represents us well.  Mustache Man economics describes a life on a dime, which I would summarize as "the things we do just don't happen to cost money, but they are rich and rewarding experiences" and many of them we do together.

My parents delivered a boatload of pears and apples Friday.  The wife and I love to make jam together, we chop, we stir, I always ladle the hot jam into jars, she cleans and closes them.

THAT is how we spent Sunday afternoon, making jars of apple cranberry and pear spice jam, which is SO delicious.

To the wife: there's a whole lotta jam under the bridge, thanks for all those years, looking forward to sharing a lot more PB and j's in the future!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

the big followup...

(new pottery by Gary Rith)
Yesterday while I was blogging about east-Asian pottery and its influence on me AND a couple examples of my own carving leaves, well, these were cooling along with some other color test tiles.
I am super pleased with these......

Monday, December 22, 2014

going EAST....

You know what comfort food is:  every morning I have the bowl of hot rice cereal with apple sauce...porridge! Fills your belly with that warm coziness...and doesn't make me want to puke when I go running  later. Or soup on a cold day! Taking you back to the nice little belly filler you loved when you were 5. You know what I mean.

My pottery comfort food takes me back to the training I had when I first started making pottery, which was all Japanese, Korean, Chinese influenced, the celadons in particular (a range of pale jade to grey-blue-green glaze colors).  Some of these pots have exquisite carving on them, of leaves! I have never carved pots and THIS EXACT teapot/ewer and its friends is my pottery comfort food, you know I love these shapes, but GOOD GOLLY LOOK AT THE CARVED DECO! Subtle, hard to see until you get closer.

Lately I have been like "WOW, I have GOT to try carving leaves and maybe add a little extra color to a celadon piece to make the leaves pop out just a little.." Gave me an excuse to order a couple of groovy tools (pun intended ;)

THIS is what the first items are looking like, and what I want to do a lot of in 2015.
(my parents, visiting Friday, like the lower bowl so much I sent it home with them)

(new pottery by Gary Rith)

Sunday, December 21, 2014

out the car window....

Well, yeah, I told you Thursday, well, all last week, things were INSANE, pottery business-wise combined with everybody's pet sitting needs..ending when my mom and dad drove over Friday to celebrate an early Christmas. (can you ever celebrate enough???)

BUT looking back, here is another part of the BUSY story.  A week ago, as you also know, I was at an arts fair and an old friend stops by to chat.

she:  hey, do you have any frog on the bottom mugs?
me:  holy CRAPOLA this is crazy, not in my hand at this moment, but at home, in the kiln cooling, I FIRED IT YESTERDAY, what a coincidence!
she: so could I get one?
me:  well, sure, but I don't know if it turned out OK...I am sure it did, but....
she:  well, why don't I pay for it now and get it from you this week?
me:  NO!  Like I say it probably turned out fine, but Murphy's law and all, you can't tempt the kiln gods,  if you pay for it now it will surely be messed up
she:  Oh.  Well, I need one.  My boyfriend's father grew up with his favorite mug that had a frog on the bottom. One day he was traveling with his family and had finished his drink and held the mug out the window to dry and.....when he pulled his hand back in, all that was left was the handle! The rest of the mug had disappeared!

(mugs by Gary Rith)

Saturday, December 20, 2014

when EVERYbody comes to visit...

Or just a few.  Soupy the corgi came over first.  She loves to play with Penny but with Spike the cat she was like "WTF is THAT?"  and Spike was friendly and Soupy kept dancing away..... give it time....
then my mom and dad came over for awhile.  They no longer have pets themselves and needed a dose of my two....

Friday, December 19, 2014

9 cats and dogs!

The perfect storm of pets:  there are some dogs and cats I see only a couple of times of year. Then there is KIKO! A new daily dog, added this week.  And I hadn't seen Nook in awhile, but they have me with him every day....and then, of course Soupy every own dogs and cats AND HOLY SH!T it is the busiest retail month of the year, what happened this week, what happened YESTERDAY? ALL my pet sitting clients in one day???? Well, all but one, plus my own and my own work....

ALL of my work got done, every pet, including my own got their alloted time and MORE....

OK, it was like this.  6:45 am-5 pm
Before the wife goes to work we walk Penny a mile or 2 every day, then I run a few miles.  I realized Thursday there was no time for a run. My calendar is blocked out for every moment.
Penny went to sleep, I drove off to see Scoop the cat.
Back to our house, brought Yogi over from the neighbors to help me work for a few hours. THANK GOD Yogi is a good boy and happily does whatever I am doing. I am working on the COOLest pots....Then the madness begins...
Penny out to play with Yogi, Spike fed.
Yogi taken for a walk. Done with Yogi for the day.
Walk Soupy the corgi, rub her belly, give her treats.
Home, take Penny for a walk. Lunch for Penny and Spike....
Drive to Nook's, pick him up. First, play with Abu, their cat, take care of HIM. Drive Nook up to KIKO'S!  The new dog.  She has a great yard for dogs to play.  I did not have time to walk both dogs properly by themselves, so they both played in Kiko's yard then I walked both dogs a few miles.  Kiko and Nook's moms both thought I was pretty BADASS for walking in wintry weather with 2 young and active dogs....piece of cake....
Drove Nook back down to his house, played with Abu the cat then....
PUFFY!  Remember Puffy the cat?  It has been a few months.  Puffy and I played for quite awhile, clean the box, pour the crunchies, water the Christmas tree....
Back home.  Walk Penny.
5 pm, customer comes over to pick up an order DONE.  5pm :)
Pour self the adult beverage, toast my success.
I LOVE pet sitting, this was SO much fun, although unlikely I will ever have so many in one day, and NO I am not adding any more clients, thanks :)

Me in the car with Nook.

Nook's little brother Abu.

Nook with Kiko who is a spice colored golden retriver mix.  I love her, she loves anything and anybody.  This is good, if I ever need to double time dog walking....

Finally, PUFFY!

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