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

Monday, August 31, 2015

hard knocks....

SO, shortly after posting the pic of the table and its feet yesterday I bent to retrieve my napkin from under the table and slammed my head into a sharp candle holder a cartoon, right?  I saw stars and I was pissed.

Some background:  I am no stranger to head injuries:  I remember when I was about 3 the kid who threw a brick that hit me in the head and later lying on the emergency room table later getting stitches; getting punched in the nose by a high schooler when I was 8 which knocked me out; getting hit by a car when I was 14 and bicycling through an intersection in front of 2 cops (I smashed the windshield with my head --the driver had cut me off wasn't as bad as it could have been); in tenth grade I was at the bottom of a pile up in a high school football game, didn't get up,  missed a couple months school.... I mean, it is ordinary, we take our knocks, right? Coincidentally  the wife and I were talking a couple of days ago about that special headache you get with a head injury:  it hurts, you're nauseous, want to puke and or sleep.  of course, you aren't s'posed to sleep, but still....

OK, so to resume my story.  I had grabbed the napkin for no good reason, just that it was down there and I was on my way out the door to run five miles.  I shook me head, felt OK, and ran the five miles feeling pretty good...about 50 minutes later I got home and the wife was up and about and gasps:  my head was covered in blood.  And suddenly I didn't feel too good.  I don't know why there was a delayed reaction or whatever, but I just wanted to go to sleep, and I did.  I got up for lunch, and went back to sleep.  I got up and did the dishes and went back to sleep...I feel pretty normal this morning, I'd say....


Sunday, August 30, 2015

little feet....

I was driving along and began thinking of little scaly feet on a mug....then thought of some eyes staring at you balefully, and hey, make the handle a scaly tail and it is a monster mug!

Speaking of feet like that:  When I was a kid I dearly wanted a table with monster legs...when I was grown up I found them wicked expensive, until one day I came across a big oak table at an antique store with lion's feet at an OK price...I bought it and took it apart and somehow got it home and put together and IT WAS THE WIFE's birthday--lucky HER! She got the table I have always wanted for that birthday ;)
True story!

Happy Sunday all!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

loving people live in a loving world...

"A loving person lives in a loving world. A hostile person lives in a hostile world. Everyone you meet is your mirror." --Ken Keyes

THEREFORE a cheerful alligator on a bowl! Not hostile at all.....
I like that quote, although it doesn't really explain everything in the world in any circumstance, but it is a good start. FOR example, I went into the wrong eye shop yesterday:

"Do you take this insurance?"
(looks at me like I am a stanky homeless guy) "NO"
"Did this place used to be Empire?"
Optician "No, we can't help you" turns away, looks put out...

Me, totally confused and upset, sets out again, and finds the optician I was looking for, ONE block away.  My insurance company is listed on the door, the place is large with a million choices, the optician at the desk is SO nice and helpful, as is everybody else.  I mean HELPFUL, and nice.  Maybe because they are actually doing business?  Or maybe just because they are friendly and people like going there and so they are thriving....

Basically, being nice is always a good idea, in dealing with others, especially in retail, RIGHT?

Friday, August 28, 2015


You wonder why I bother trying, hope springs eternal! Every spring...for 20+ years I have planted tomatoes and have gotten nothing but heartache.  I am the worst gardener on earth.  This year they got blighted early and late, leaving us with very few tomatoes for many months work....ditto the baby pumpkins I grew on a whim:  one after another, the lovely blossoms fell off....I will have these 4 baby pumpkins, but considering the miles of vines and blossoms, how could I do so badly?

There have been some great successes though:  my basil does well, some plants are now 1 1/2 years old and they will come inside soon.  I always do well with cosmos and sunflowers, and look at our first try for green peppers! SO, I give up on tomatoes.  Peppers and sunflowers will be my specialties from now on....well, that and baking GREAT STUFF--I tried a new recipe for flourless brownies(click here) yesterday, HOT DAMN!  They are gluten-free of course...although, having no flour, do I even have to say that?

Thursday, August 27, 2015

victim of their own success...

There are (at least) 2 kinds of potters.  Production potters make the same items one after another for years.  The fellow I apprenticed to does that--if you bought a plate from him 20 years ago and broke it, he has a stack on his store shelf today that you can choose from for an identical replacement.

Then there are those like me, fahting around everyday, constantly (easily bored or curious) trying new ideas.

These elephant items are super-duper popular.  I am fiddling with the bowl, and like this variation better than ideas I have done in the past.  It is lucky I like them, because the demand is very high, so I try to make a few every week, not just some huge week of a hundred herds of elephants...

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


Remember the song, Peter, Paul and Mary, about Puff the magic dragon? When I was 3 it was still a very big deal and I loved it.....

SO,  I was fiddling around and came up with some dragon items the other day....

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

when slugs fly.....

I felt gross Monday and accomplished very little. Including not posting here, OMFG how could that be, right?  I always post!

In the midst of that allergy mess (my allergist gave me a bag of drugs last month which have been very helpful...except for Monday...) I opened the kiln to a WHOLE BATCH of goodies, the whole "Christmas morning" thing that comes with a good firing. There were some pigs and planes in there.

Outside?  This leopard slug is so comically big and spotted he is almost cute (compared to the icky little ones that are more common) will remember he was trying to climb into our house last week, and he is still trying....

One last thought about allergies:  those tough people who took their wagons on the Oregon trail and went west, through the woods and plains, with the grizzlies and rattlesnakes?  Or the tough Marines going through basic in the mud with the hot sun and mosquitos? NOPE, I would never have been one of those people.  I would have been the guy standing there, blowing his nose, waving goodbye, saying "you can KEEP the great outdoors, UGH".

Sunday, August 23, 2015

East Hill...

The wife and I biked one of Ithaca's rail trails Saturday, East Hill...just glorious out there.  We usually see the first  orange maple leaves in the last week of July and now at the end of August there are a few trees around ready for is all too darn fast, isn't it, winter's coming?

But it is not winter yet, not at all.....I was wondering WHY NO HORSES on the trail, but it must be the mountains of horse turds obstructing everyone's section of the trail is behind Cornell University's polo training facility (I know, how posh is that, Cornell has a collegiate polo team?  I mentioned to you 2 days ago when I showed you the horse mug I made to donate that they are doing a fundraiser of which my mug is part...)

Have an awesome Sunday!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

might just be a winner....

OK, finally, as I have said for weeks, I am entering a teapot competition and this will make my third of 3 entries...cute, eh?  Will it tickle the judges' fancy, hmm?
Have a great Saturday!

(new teapot by Gary Rith)

Friday, August 21, 2015

wild horses couldn't drag me away.....

There is a fundraiser involving POLO (seriously!), and I am asked for something horsey, and my reply is "horses are COOL, but zebras cooler!" but along the way, I am thinking of horses too, and do some unstriped zebras, and DANG if they don't look good themselves....

Thursday, August 20, 2015

an avalanche of SQUASH....

I told you and SHOWED you the other day that neighbors share their pretty yellow squashes with anybody.  There are zucchini and squash recipes in my box that collect dust 10 months of the year and then suddenly they are the ONLY recipes I use...and I don't even grow the stuff!

A tasty favorite that I made yesterday is the GF version of those lemon squash muffins pictured up there (recipe click here!) and then, just to clear the inventory before the next batch, I made squash chili.  I think the philosophy with both of these recipes is that the spice and other ingredients are so tasty that you could add rocks (or squash!) and it would still be delicious.

I improvise when I make chili, and I am sure you do too--saute a few minutes some onion, bell pepper, carrot, add a grated or diced summer squash or zucchini, broccoli and spinach, add beans and spices, tomato sauce, salsa, BBQ sauce, simmer a while, done!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

winter coats and hot coffee when it is 93 degrees...

OK, it isn't 93 NOW, this second,  but having the hot porridge for breakfast with the hot coffee has me sweating here...the majority of American households have AC, right?  Not us! It is usually colder than a well digger's azz here in upstate NY, and last week we were wearing heavy jackets to walk the dog in the early morning 50 degree cool.  But now?  It is very August-like, 80s, 90s, which my southern friends probably consider NICE.
My new winter parka arrived yesterday.  Don't think I am GREEDY, I donated a coat or 2 to make way for this thing....anyway, at that point the thermometer read 93, and I zipped that parka on, hood and all, lickity split out of excitement and to be certain the fit was good, which it was.
It is s'posed to snow next week, so it arrived just in time.....

More flowers on celadon pieces, mmmmmmm, mmmm good :)

(new pottery by Gary Rith)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

when pigs...and COWS, fly

(New sculpture by Gary Rith: Fun stuff here today, huh? The little plane and wheels were made on the pottery wheel, otherwise sculpted)

I read the other day that BUTLER is from "bottler".  In English households hundreds of years ago, bottles were very expensive, and wine was cheap and sold in wooden casks.  A special servant would be trusted to decant wine into bottles for easy serving at the table....BOTTLER became butler, isn't that cool?

All of this leads to what I was dreaming a minute ago:  I was a butler (or footman, or waitstaff?) at a large Downton Abbey type household.  We served this big ceremonial dinner for some special occaision, and we were running around, back and forth with dishes....yes, I dreamt I was running around with other people's dishes.

The guests were very messy and wasteful and THEY TALKED ABOUT US LIKE WE DIDN'T HAVE EARS "oh, these people are so slow, I wonder why these servants are so slow?", meanwhile making a mess for us to clean.

There was a beautiful confected dessert, little cakes with a different icing sculpture atop each one, YES, including a little airplane (see how reality and dream come together here).  It was not against the rules, but it was first come first served, and servants could have the extra food.  I took one of those treats and set it aside to take home, and hoped it would not be ruined or taken by somebody else.  It is so funny, we earnestly wanted to do a good job for these underappreciative slobs, and I was so excited to have just ONE of what they took for granted and barely noticed.

ANYWAY, the head server (OK, maybe I was an underbutler...well, a footman then) the head butler was clever--he had set aside coffee and chocolates in another room for the guests to serve themselves and therefore get out of our way, so we could start the huge task of cleaning up all their mess....did you see SHADOWLANDS?  There is a good scene there when that staff is cleaning up a dinner mess and one butler is drinking wine left in somebody's glass........

Monday, August 17, 2015

"take me to your leader" teapot

(new teapot by Gary Rith)
What can I say, one robot on a teapot is alarming, two is an invasion?

Sunday, August 16, 2015

from kindly neighbors....

We have a lot of totally nice neighbors and we live in a tiny village, and walking as much as we do, we know a lot of people.  Lately I have taken to carrying a string bag, because some of them put free garden veggies on the curb!  Look at the size of that cucumber....I added the little blue smiley faces, actually....and another neighbor has a gorgeous farm and usually puts flowers out...we hadn't seen her in a couple of months and wondered about the flowers, then last week?  She is out walking with the toddler in the stroller .....and a tiny newborn in a snugli.  Ah HA! Therefore the flowers-on-the curb delay!  They are once again available.......

Saturday, August 15, 2015

this is what blogging every day can be like....

Well, maybe not profound every day, but failing that, CUTE CATS!
We have an artist decorated handmade dog bed the dog has never set foot into, but the cat sleeps there.... have a great Saturday!

Friday, August 14, 2015


You know I can't have dairy but that doesn't mean I can't have FUN.
I don't remember where this recipe came from, but it is the most AMAZING and healthy "ice cream".
Just think ahead a little:
-dice a ripe banana and freeze an hour plus--I just keep diced banana going in the freezer all the time, right?
-put the frozen banana bits in your blender or food processor, blend until it looks like ice cream--add a little milk (I use soy) as you go to make it work
-scoop in a spoonful of peanut butter and a spoonful of cocoa powder, blend again! READY TO EAT!

(the dog was not suffering here in this pic, she had her treat, I had mine....)

In other news, I am entering a teapot competition this month and here is one of my entries, I think...have a great Friday!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

can't help it...

I always wonder if I will stop experimenting with clay, and the answer seems to be NO.
So, the idea here was to fiddle with some glaze and flowers under green...which looks pretty good :)
Have an awesome Thursday!

(new pitchers by Gary Rith)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


I should give this guy a name.  This huge spotted slug hangs around our house and BY GOD it looked like he was trying to crawl in the window yesterday....
(it is, BTW, a leopard slug and he was first blogged yesterday...shall we call him Freddy?)

COMPLICATIONS:  I like a simple life.
We have one car.  The mechanic calls yesterday "to pass inspection we could replace the whatzit for 2200 dollars....or for 150 we could try to clean the might pass then" and I am like "the car is ten years old, DUH! Not 2200 bucks, clean the somethingorother!" which worked....

I hate filling out forms of ANY kind.  I spent an hour trying to fill out an online form to apply to a cup show hour!  And got nowhere with the payment.  I did the same with another show last month, it was as easy as sending an email and had 4 payment options, from credit card to check to paypal and was SUPER easy.  The one I wasted an hour on yesterday had something I have never seen before requiring passwords, links and endless fiddling.  I send an email for help...essentially giving up....and the manager tells me to go at the same dang thing all over again...and so I do.  With the same result.  A process SO FRUSTRATING AND FRUITLESS that a person is tempted to move to California, apply for a medical maryjane card and get a bag of doritos.... so I told them I again give up.  

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Penny's friends....

Can a giant banana slug be a friend?  At least she didn't eat it.  Actually, I don't know what kind of slug this thing is, cheetah spots, stretches longer than a finger and pretty FAST, actually....

Later Soupy the corgi came over so the 2 dogs could look cute.  They didn't so much else though....just another exciting day here at my house :)

Monday, August 10, 2015

that was Sunday....

The wife and I headed out midday Sunday for a VERY tame adventure, with our picnic:  Sunset Park! I had heard about it, this lookout in the trees over Cayuga Lake, yeOW! Can you believe there was a person there playing a flute the whole time we were eating?  Just for us....

I baked Nicole of gluten-free on a shoestring's blondies in cupcake form, HOT DAMN don't you want to eat those???? The dog does too.....

Finally, I had a gig to walk Kiko, and this sign cracks me up.  The first time we walked near it the UPS guy goes past at 43 then it was nothing...suddenly it started reading 3 then 4 then was clocking US!
Have a great Monday!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

on BLOGGING...after 9 years....

Not being overly sentimental although good at celebrating little anniversaries, this week marks 9 years since I started blogging.  The first day was on myspace, but I could see my blather would fill that thing up quickly, so I started on blogger...I filled up that blog and then a second, learned how to add content without using up all the memory (thanks to facebook!) and have been at this blog for a few years.  Every day, very few missed.  Thousands of posts.....

The original idea was to share my dreams*, what I was listening to and what I was making. In the early days, that meant a lot of Beastie Boys music videos, lately, not so much of those. And there has certainly been a LOT of dogs and cats here, esp. given the unexpected turn I have taken as everybody's GO TO cat or dog whisperer.....

ANYWAY, a few of you have been here from the beginning.....Celeste, for example, who has been blogging daily, and secretly, for 12 years was my inspiration.  Many of you came later, but daily.  I'm really grateful.  I just throw the spaghetti at the wall, see what sticks, and you are nice enough to visit :)
Thank you.

*Dreams?  OK, Friday I dreamt that we had 2 children playing out front and 2 guys tried to kidnap them.  Our neighbor the firefighter came out to help and made a what we thought was 911, but it was NOT.  It seems law enforcement and emergency services know of a special roving squad of guys who travel DISAPPEAR the dirtbags, the worst of the worst, without bothering the law about it.  They cuffed our 2 suspects and took them be quietly flown over the ocean for a swim with the sharks.... I was thinking this would make a terrific movie and I am entertaining offers now.

AND THEN last night? I dreamt I was in a biology class and my assignment was to bury the newly deceased Amy Winehouse.  Dang, poor Amy.....anyway, I had a pick, shovel, hoe...broked the pick, it was going to be slow going, but I wanted to bury her with some of her favorite things AND set up a memorial aboveground.

I was not unhappy to wake up to my ordinary life after either dream...

Saturday, August 8, 2015

blue daisies....

So like I was saying the other day, these blue under white glaze flowers strike me as a very good decoration.  Very cheerful, right? And they don't fade in the cold weather.....

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