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

Saturday, February 28, 2015

12 below: let's give February its marching orders....

(new vases by Gary Rith)
Yes.  12 below.  ENOUGH of the cold.  Snow and 20s are predicted for the rest of the weekend.  It occurs to me that my southern friends may not know the expression "warm enough to snow".  It means that often temps below 10 degrees f are too cold and dry to snow, but when temps go up to 20, watch out....which is very typical March for us.  Some people have flowers growing, we get snow....

I was dreaming just now, horrible dreams.  In one somebody I knew died of scarlet fever and I had to bury them in snow, knowing full well I might catch it and die next. This was followed by visiting friends at a hospital in Thailand surrounded by jungle...and snakes.  I saw an enormous python slither past, and a small 3 legged piglet started following me around.  When I went to enter the hospital grounds, there were 2 small snakes slithering around the entry and I was terrified and called out for help, waking to the laughter of the people in the hospital accustomed to snakes.  I guess I don't mind the cold and snow so much, in comparison, hmm?  Although in summer we have a wide variety of garden snakes hanging around.....

OK, dig these new vases, good stuff, right????

Friday, February 27, 2015

the wrapup....

(new vases by Gary Rith)

February has had some challenges. We are told Ithaca has had its coldest February on record BUT, even worse, it has been the coldest month on record. EVER! And today and Saturday: still below zero.

As a matter of fact, NO temps have been above freezing all month.  Sunday 3/1 looks better, 30s and snow!  As a professional dog walker I have been frozen like peas since October.

Yesterday we had a terrible shock:  no water.  The well was not getting anything into the house at all.  That is a real "OH SH!T" situation: broken pump, deep down there?  Full of ice??? BURST PIPES????
I spent the morning digging around in the filth, ice, mud of our well head and found it was OK, but the clever heated and insulated box protecting our pipes had been breached.  7 times.  There were 7 little mouse holes into what would be a warm space for them to spend the winter, but which allowed the below zero temps to blow on our pipes.

It was all pretty terrifying and frustrating.    I didn't know what to do to get water, which is scary, but I had to do something, so filled the mouse holes. Apparently this allowed the warm air in the pipe box to work, and suddenly there was water. No problems at all... you hear that mice can eat your wires and cause a fire, but they can do other destructive things too, right?

The wife sent the first quote.
I thought about it for a second and wrote the reply.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

looking back....throw back Thursday!

1988!  I was 22 and a grad student in special education at University of Illinois-Chicago.  I didn't learn ANYTHING (until I graduated and started teaching blind students...THEN I learned something) but I did meet my wife.  In the open ceramics studio.  Which had nothing to do with my program, but is a whole lot more important, hmmm?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


I have early stage glaucoma and I s'pose I could apply for a medical maryjane card...but that is not how I chill out, even if it is a proven treatment for my eyes. Not interested in THAT sort of homegrown.... plus everybody knows I kill most every plant I grow.
Well, imagine MY SURPRISE that last summer's porch basil is still growing.  I am slowly killing the oregano, per usual, but the basil is not too bad...

SO when Lori posted a recipe Monday for pesto noodles with tomato and broccoli...which I had just gotten at the store....I made it right away and it is thrillingly tasty.  Simple too, just boil noodles, toss in broccoli, etc...that is about IT. And so summery!  It was the coldest ickiest day of the winter, around 20 below, in the coldest ickiest February ....

Lemon pesto noodles with broccoli and tomato

8 ounces whole wheat penne
2 cups broccoli cut into florets
1 cup oven roasted tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic, minced
¼ cup pesto
¼ cup feta cheese
juice of ½ lemon
fresh basil, cut into ribbons 


Cook the penne according to package directions. Add the broccoli to the pot of boiling water for the last 2 minutes of cooking. It will turn bright green. Drain and return to the pan over medium high heat. Add the tomatoes and garlic to the pan with the pasta and broccoli; sauté 1-2 minutes. Add the pesto, half of the feta, and the lemon juice. Toss in the pan until well combined. Remove from heat and add the basil. Sprinkle with remaining feta before serving. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

obscenely cold....

(new vases by Gary Rith)
I would like to think that when I looked out the window this am and saw nearly 20 below zero f out there that today is the lowest of the low, the worst of the worst.  This has been a snowy and cold winter here for Ithaca, not unusual, but ENOUGH already.
So, let's look at my spring-ish vases, right?

Monday, February 23, 2015

clash of the titans...or just 2 sweet retrievers playing...

It looked pretty dramatic, 2 very large retriever mix dogs wrestling and playing in the snow.  You know how dogs are.
Sunday was the warmest we had seen in awhile, and the warmest we expect all WEEK, at 30 degrees with a little sunshine.  I was feeling cooped up at home and was babysitting we went over to intorduce him to Kiko, which was a BRILLIANT idea.  As it was said "Yogi and Kiko would have had really cute puppies".

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Kinky! The alternative pizza lifestyle...

You ever just want to turn everything into PIZZA?  Your baked potato, your sandwich, your taco?
Aside from my many and varied dietary restrictions, I looooove pizza and the whole pizza lifestyle.  Basically, you want to throw tomato sauce and cheese on everything, right?

I eat a lot of corn bread.  It has such a tasty gritty texture and is so easy to make.  Yesterday I was thinking "if you baked a thin corn bread, could it become a pizza crust???" and of COURSE it could!
Not polenta or like deep dish Chicago style or even tamale pie (chili in the baking pan first, covered with cornbread and baked), all of which are super tasty....corn bread.

You could do it with any cornbread recipe---just use a pan at least twice the size you would normally use, so that the batter is a little less than an inch thick, then bake it more quickly, top, bake it some more until the cheese melts, DONE! My own recipe is below. *** HOT DAMN this was tasty... the only thing I would do differently is dice some peppers and onion and toss it on top of the batter then bake it all together THEN top.  They would be baked right into the crust, perfectly, then other toppings and cheese baked on too.  Next time!

***Gary's cornbread pizza for 2
(this is my favorite cornbread recipe-doubled and baked 40 mins., it fits into a standard 5 x 9 bread loaf pan, slices easily and is good and firm and you can toast it in the toaster too)
-preheat to 350, grease an 8 x 8 brownie pan
-large bowl stir together:  1 cup corn flour (finely ground cornmeal), 1 1/2 Tbs sugar, 1 teas baking powder, 1/2 teas salt
-second bowl: stir together- beat an egg, add 1/2 cup milk of your choice and 1/8 cup oil
-stir together wet and dry, spread out into greased pan, top with diced peppers and onions if you want
-bake about 20-25 minutes, until golden brown then
-either add tomato sauce and topping and cheese-not too much!- and return to oven until cheese is melted or let cornbread cool awhile then top and heat back in the oven

Saturday, February 21, 2015

chubby checkmate...

(new vases by Gary Rith)
Sure, like I said yesterday with that plate:  trying out some checkerboard patterns on pieces, wicked fun! I don't know why it might surprise me or seem obvious:  I love checkerboards...well, I love patterns of a sort (which is why I am doing so many pots with leaves this winter).  Generally I am also surprised to find that both leaf and checkerboard patterns that I prefer are the more subtle ones, like on the right in those tiles, where you can only just see the color the red and blue is cool :)
Have a great Saturday!

Friday, February 20, 2015

"Plate? CHECK..."

I got in the mood the other day to make checkerboard glaze patterns.  I was at a friend's house.  They have an enormous pottery caterpillar sculpture with a checkerboard pattern, and I went home THINKING.
I have a number of test tiles in different color combos, all look good, but the most subtle are the most interesting to me at the moment. Like this plate, with emerald green and a little speckly blue in contrast.

I just had my breakfast on that plate :) Have a great Friday!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

you wonder why people get BEAGLES....

(new sugar bowl with a beagle by Gary Rith---I usually do a lot of this work, but in 2015 only one or 2 pieces with animals, my mind has been on other more green and leafy things....)

Or maybe you DON'T wonder why people get beagles, because you KNOW.  Our Penny, as you know, was an approx. 2 year stray found in a snowstorm after giving birth to puppies.  The puppies were never found (hopefully they were OK at her original home, wherever that was) but she found ME at the shelter and crawled into my lap...OMFG I love her so much, such a loving little sweetie.

Beagles have a LOT of personlity, and I have seen them ranked as the friendliest dogs.  Not the best behaved or most obedient, of course, but they are FUN DOGS, full of life and character.

No surprise, of course, that 2008 dog of the year Uno's grandniece won this year, right?

(one of the most funny pictures of her EVER, right here....)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

people who live in glass houses....

(new pots by Gary Rith)
Thought I would try greenish leaves with purple, always a nice combo, eh?

I dreamt just now that I had just purchased the most wonderful glass house.  It was very big and very spare, but had an area with grass and a tree growing in it, soooo pretty. Just couldn't get the previous owner TO LEAVE. Then I dreamt I was a DJ for WICB radio at Ithaca college...or at least I would have been.  I put on my WICB tee and grabbed some CDs and was running to the studio, late, because I couldn't find my bike, and when I finally got there I woke up....

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

total teaset for teapot Tuesday....

There are a lot of ways to look at this thing:  2 cups?  teapot?  cream and sugar?  etcetcetc....
Emerald colored glaze with a leaf pattern.
have an awesome Tuesday :)

Monday, February 16, 2015

that wintry sh!t goes MUGSHOT MONDAY.....

New mugs by me.  That wintry one?  I started thinking "I want a penguin on there! And a polar bear...and now to tie it together..." so the blowing cloud went in the middle.

We have accumulated snow on the ground in the feet.  Not a lot of feet, but some feet.  It has arrived a few inches at a time, and stuck around.  My mother-in-law in the south was on the phone yesterday and says
"it is cold, 20 degrees!"
"here is zero and falling and we havn't seen the ground in a few months"
"the snow has covered the ground for months...just snow, no grass, who knows what is under there? I forget...".
People who do not live in the north must assume that if it snows, it melts soon.  Like it does for them. Not us.  Weeks and months of white stuff piling up ... this is all average for us, Boston has it worse...

Have an awesome day yerself!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

you were probably wondering how to make RICE CRACKERS at home...

I am nuts about rice.  If you have food allergies, you are nuts about rice.  Apple sauce, bananas and peanut butter too, which I eat by the ton.

The wife was talking about a friend's gluten-free recipe for almond crackers, a paleo-GF type thing that involved, I think, boiling and straining almonds and then....sounded a little complicated.  So I set out to find a rice cracker recipe. OMFG I am glad I did!

People ask if you save money making the effort to bake and cook your own.  Yes.  You do.  Generally more nutritious too, because you control the fats, sugar and salt.  I have no problem buying rice crackers or chips because they are not expensive, but gawdamn, this was FUN, and so EASY.  And the oven was already hot because I made lemon poppyseed muffins (this recipe, but with less sugar and added poppyseeds and no icing) The thrifty and efficient cook always warms the oven once for a bunch of baked goods, right?

Making your own rice crackers is as simple as brown rice flour, water, olive oil, salt, a pinch of sugar, rolling the dough out on a cookie sheet and baking (rice cracker recipe click here).  You figure now you've made it once, next time you will add poppyseeds or sesame seeds or....anything!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

artists have a VALENTINE's advantage...

Artists have no money, but we have IMAGINATION.  We know that giving the wife a convertible or diamond tiara or dozen roses is all TOO ORDINARY AND BORING.

We know what she really wants, what makes her pretty self SWOON:  new plates and mango tacos!

NOT JUST ANY new plates, of course, but ones we made ourself (thrifty artist count:  $0 dollars spent so far. Lover satisfaction points:  A+.)  And to go on them?  Make some MANGO TACOS in a recipe of your own invention (scrounge in the fridge for interesting ingredients, add a hot pan, combine with a LOT of spice, thrifty artist count $0 dollars spent, again! Lover satisfaction points:  A+).

AND, top all that off.  YOU KNOW she doesn't want to go to the movies, a fine restaurant or a Jamaican beach, what she REALLY wants is to make tortillas with you in your own kitchen (TRUE:  we like making own gf tortillas so much, tonight will be 3 nights in a row)--(thrifty artist count:  again, $0 spent!!!! Lover satisfaction points:  A+)

Finally, of course, is curling up in bed with the beagle and a movie gotten free from the library.  This artist scores AGAIN..... ( Game, set and match--thrifty artist count:  $0 spent, lover satisfaction points:  A+)
Bonus?  Husband is S3XY AS HELL, nearly as s3xyhawt as the wife, right?
 Beat THAT everybody....

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