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, July 31, 2015

some more about those grapes....

SO like I was saying the other day, i tried painting some grapes onto white glazed pitchers...and other pieces!
I have some more ideas about this to work on, as you shall see next week....

(new pottery by Gary Rith)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

when monsters stalk and beagles howl....

Just wait till you see this teapot finished....I have PLANS for it :) Amusing how the flash made that shadow....

The beagle was howling out the window for some reason and it is SO funny, the head goes back, the ears fly, the mouth opens in an ear-splitting noise....well, anyway, I THINK it is funny and looks funnier from the back, right? With those ears...

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

majolica's punky side

OK, so, really, me messing around with white glaze and brushed decoration on top of that (majolica) is not all grapes and flowers, I still know how to be a badass!
This new mug sold while it was still fresh from the kiln...need to do more like it.....

(dog mug by Gary Rith)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

GRAPES: making tourist crap....?

SO, finding myself making majolica pots and having a ball at it, I am struck with the idea "put some grapes on there???" and YES, it occurs to me that my badass self is moving from the usual HIGH ART to.....
tourist crap.

No, really! I may be enjoying myself and doing a good job, but isn't it a cliche to go to Mexico or Italy and buy a little jug with grapes on it?  They collect dust on the mantel for years and then they go for a dollar at a garage sale.... I made this fine pitcher yesterday and what do I see at a friend's house?  A little jug with grapes on it from a trip to Italy, no joke!

SO, what is the difference?  And do I care?  I make, as you know, what I feel like, and this is what I felt like doing and it turned out very well, if I may say. Also, the tourist crap might be made with nasty ingredients like a factory! Then they slap "Made in Mexico" on the bottom and get it out in front of the cruise ships....

I have other ideas about how to make grapes on things, plus I am probably doing a show at a winery in September, and tourists NEED this kind of crap from Ithaca, don't they? ;)

(new pitchers by Gary Rith)

Monday, July 27, 2015

cramming a truckload of fruit (and sugar!) into a few jars....

July is a very busy pottery month for me, as you have seen.  VERY GOOD, but it was fun to spend 2 days doing something else...

You noticed yesterday we were at the farm picking peaches and raspberries, a totally favorite July activity.  Yes, there is a little baking and a lot of nibbling, but most of it ends up in jars of jam.  We still have a little jam left from last year, which is the ideal--you go 12 months between seasons and don't run out of the stuff!

Sunday's jam session lasted 2 was warm and humid outside at 83 degrees and sunny BUT that was a relief from our kitchen...which is why a)  everybody (except us) has air conditioning in the US and b) why people with spare cash 100+ years ago would have the summer kitchen for canning, a separate building, so that you didn't turn the whole house into hell's kitchen room when you made jam...


Sunday, July 26, 2015

millions of peaches....and gluten-free peach cobbler

Peaches are unusual up here, too cold.  But some places, near lakes, in valleys, can grow them and Ithaca's Indian Creek farm does.  You will recall it is my favorite place.  On the west side of Ithaca, they grow all the fun stuff, like flowers, pears, apples, raspberries.  We picked an IMPOSSIBLE amount of peaches and raspberries Saturday.  It is a favorite moment every summer when we do this, and it would have been very hot picking BUT it was a little overcast and therefore perfect....

You have to pick raspberries first, which is, you know, fairly slow and prickly, then peaches, which takes TEN SECONDS.  No joke! You just reach and grab, they are big, and huzzah! Full basket...

We will eat some plain.  Some of the fruit will be baked, like the peach cobbler **** I baked (YUM) and the rest will go into least 4 batches, 20-30 jars. I think that will be our Sunday....

**** Gary's gluten-free peach cobbler

-preheat to 350, grease an 8 x 8 baking pan, slice 5-8 peaches, depending on size

-in bowl, add one cup gluten-free flour like Bob's red mill all-purpose gf flour, or just rice flour
-add up to 1 cup sugar and lots of cinnamon, stir
-using a pastry knife or what have you, cut in 1/2 cup butter or marg until the whole mixture is nicely crumbly
-lay sliced peaches on the bottom of the pan, cover with flour mixture, bake about 45 minutes until it is starting to look a little golden brown and juicy!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Grand day out...

Friday may have been the NICEST day Ithaca has ever seen, at about 80 degrees and no humidity with a light breeze, and BOY did people come out to party.

As I said, it was the Ithaca Artist Market at the farmer's market, with 70 artists, music, beer, wine, food in the permanent structure on the lakefront where people go weekend mornings for the local cheese, apples, etc.  Well, artists take it over one afternoon and night a year, and hoooo boy it is my favorite hometown event of the year. Seems like I know EVERYBODY! It makes me so happy to see them all...AND Friday was one of my best single sales day ever.

Some notes:  show began at 2 pm, so usually you pack up the day before for a show then you're out at the crack of dawn on the road...not with this one.  I had all kinds of time in the morning to pack and do other stuff, ride the few miles over to Cayuga lake and setup.  The wife took the bus over after work.

Last show I did earlier this month, my first 2 customers handed me fifties and hundreds for small purchases and so I started the show, much as I liked making money, out of change.  Friday was a GOOD CHANGE show.  Nearly everybody had exact change for me.

I was also next to the nice Hungarian family making crepes.  Some people grabbed a pastry and left but most order a custom crepe...which is then cooked on the spot and topped.  It takes a few minutes, longer when the line builds and GOOD GOLLY waiting for crepes is great for my business.  What do people do while waiting for crepes????? BROWSE the pots next to the crepes :)

AND notable, after 32 years of making pots, I had my first EVER BOAT sale:  people pulled up at the dock you see below, popped in, bought some of my bowls, got back in the boat and left.....

You will recall my old pal Christi, artist and illustrator.  She recently got married!

Friday, July 24, 2015

speaking of cups....

(new mugs by Gary Rith--I was glazing with my brush Thursday, more flowers and such, listening to great music, and all this takes FOREVER, realizing I hadn't heard the news all day or read emails...note to self, without ignoring news or emails entirely, life is BETTER without too much of either)

You may recall that I said I was entering a cup competition a week or 2 ago....all 5 won entry!

You sit around and work by yourself, fiddling around and experimenting, not sure if it is good work or not until you get some feedback.  I am pretty excited about this feedback.

It is the 11th Charlie Cummings cup show.  I had cups in his first (or second?) show, and it is remarkable how recent that feels. I saw the call for entries and remembered being in the earlier show and decided to give it a whirl, along with thousands of others.... HOT DAWG!

Today is also the Ithaca Artist market at the farmer's market, 2-8, with 80-ish artists, food, drink, music on the lakefront.  This one is a real easy one for me, a huge fair right on my doorstep, then stand there all day chatting with my friends and neighbors.

Hope you have an awesome day too!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Yogi day!

You have been thinking "havn't seen Yogi much this summer!"  Yogi is a friend's dog that I babysit sometimes.  He is so easygoing and friendly, whatever I am doing and wherever,  he is happy. His family has had most of the summer off, but they needed me Wednesday...he was here working with me, then joined me to visit Kiko, another friend's dog I was walking...they love each other....

It is likely, looking at these pictures, that I was the ONLY person in Ithaca yesterday wearing most of a vintage Chicago White Sox uniform..... which seems a bit nerdy, perhaps....

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

where did the cheerful flamingo come from?

Somebody once said of my pots with animals "they're always smiling!" and I s'pose that is a fact and also a point of pride.  Who needs gloomy animals on their mugs?

SO, you know, I was doodling with the brushes and got these guys :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

teapot Tuesday...!

(new teapot with bunny by Gary Rith... I know, with white items I should dust off the grey backdrop!)

SO, I seem to be doing pretty well with the majolica pieces, right?  Majolica is, roughly speaking, painting colored oxides on top of a creamy white glaze and then firing it all together.  As I have said repeatedly "I had a dream January 1 that I should paint flowers on pots" and I have been following that path...and I love it.  I don't know where  it is going, but it is great fun.

I heard Warren Haines of the Allman Brothers Band on the radio yesterday "we were talking about the band's 45th anniversary tour know, the band always wanted to evolve, to experiment and try something new, not just play the same old hits".
That is how I am compelled to work, keep evolving :)

Monday, July 20, 2015

first swim.....

(drawing of swimming woodchuck by Gary Rith)
My parents have a farm an hour's drive from us.  As you have heard me say, they don't farm it, but another farmer cuts the hay meadow, and we pick apples in fall from the old apple orchard.  Most of the acres are now deep woods, a river, creek and pond.  The pond is awesome and great for swimming.
As I have said, it has been a cool and rainy summer, but Sunday was hot, so I finally got in....

it is also a tradition to steal rocks from their place for our garden...I may be terrible at growing plants but I am awesome at growing rocks....

Sunday, July 19, 2015

all those happy plants = ALLERGIES

The Ithaca area is so pretty, and our part of it extra pretty--Etna is a tiny hamlet with a river, bus stop, post office and playground. It has been impossibly rainy this summer, which is AVERAGE. (Today's forecast: rain!) I guess I can't imagine places that are hot and dry, I have never been to such a place.

My tomato plants are dying of blight.  They like water, but need more sun.
The weeds, however,  are thriving.
The combination of molds and late summer pollen has been a bit trying the last couple of days....I have had the stuffed nose and head of a teddy bear....

Friday, July 17, 2015

gloves and a jacket in July...

One reason people like to vacation up here, aside from the zillion lakes, is that it is generally a pleasantly cool summer up here.
It has been VERY cool here most of this summer and unbelievably wet. Thursday morning temps were in the 40s...I went running in a jacket and gloves, it was freeeeeeezing! I don't think I have ever worn gloves in July....

But it is getting summery again.  Here are some of the things I finished Thursday, drying in the sun....

Thursday, July 16, 2015

dusting off an ancient project....

I bought a number of skeins of yarn wool in the 1980s (true! the receipt was still with them!) to knit my third or fourth sweater....and got a great start on it! I was just winging it, the pattern and shape and all (you may have noticed that I am always willing to dive into new creative ideas just to see what happens)...I finished the front and half the back and paused...for 25-30 years.  I have no problem getting rid of stuff, and it has always surprised me that I did not get rid of that half made sweater in its bag.  Too pretty, too many hours, so I couldn't.  I wanted to finish it now, but I had faked myself out:  I don't remember how to knit! And this pattern I devised, as you see, was wicked complicated with multiple colors.

The wife suggested we turn it into a pillow (she, um, wants all of my unused yarn to knit a sweater herself).  It is such a brilliant idea, and you can see she cast off and stitched it into an awesome pillow for me, I am thrilled for many reasons:  it no longer hangs over my forgetful head, it makes use of the useless, and now I can feel free to relearn knitting from a beginners level (I am guessing it will all come back quickly) without thinking I MUST first finish this sweater....

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

FLOWERS, not flour!

(flowers and new pottery with flowers by Gary Rith)

I know, you look below and think "Gary is such a whiz at dairy and gluten-free cooking and baking, who would guess his food is anything out of the ordinary???".  I plan a post in a few weeks to explain why I have so many food problems, and what I have done about it.

In the meantime, you can wish YOU were the lucky one married to me, ha! (BTW, the poor dog had this photo taken and then her teeth brushed, which she hates, what a bummer, hmm?)

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