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, August 31, 2016

the VERY SH!TTY morning….

So for a variety of reasons, this has been a sh!tty week in a sh!tty month, with this morning being especially sh!tty.

BUT my woes are as nothing compared to the guy who just plowed into the woods next to my garage, taking out the 35 sign and flipping over twice!  My neighbor the professional firefighter and EMT was standing in his yard and raced to it, saving the man….emergency crews and an ambulance came later and it seems the injuries are not life-threatening, thanks to my neighbor's quick action plus the car airbags.

SO, just when you think things in your life suck a bit, take a look around, probably somebody else is a whole lot worse :)

(BTW, I am guessing that until the state replaces this 35 mph sign through the village that many drivers will not slow at all and perhaps there will be many more speeding accidents here….)

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

that color scheme seems pretty groovy...

I was thinking I should try a wavy-groovy color scheme with red and wondered what might go with it, and so used purple inside…good move, I think :)

Monday, August 29, 2016

when you wonder if you are doing the right things...

I probably come across as full of bluster and self-confidence, when really I am just a wee little mouse full of self-doubts and neuroses.  As the wife tells me "you're awfully cute for someone so neurotic" …which is, um, a compliment maybe?  Just like Woody Allen...

ANYWAY, so many things can and DO go wrong in pottery (you'll find me tinkering with the pink glazes today, due to problems…) but when things go so VERY right you might just feel  like you are doing the right things after all…at least some of the time ;)

The wee teapot here is, as I have said, likely to be entered into a competition, and when I pictured it a week ago some one asked for a full-size teapot, I made 2, they came out of the kiln Sunday and it looks like both have sold already….

Sunday, August 28, 2016

inordinately proud of myself...

A contractor came over to do 2 repairs in March--improve the insulation under the studio, which he did, and fix the mortar around the basement door. The weather was very wintry and he left the bag of mortar with a promise to come back next week, when the weather was better…the weather didn't get better next week, nor did the fellow contact me.  (Joke:  how do you know the economy is bad?  Your contractor returns your calls!)

ANYWAY, it was a bad problem.  Our otherwise dry basement would get rainwater down the step into the basement.  Calling the contractor would make sense, right? Get out the damn checkbook AGAIN (it was a helluva month for flippin' car repairs…but I can't repair cars, except washing and vacuuming) and watch the zeros pile up.

So I looked at the bag of mortar.  Got a bucket, stick, smooth trowel type thing, read the mixing directions and did what any self-respecting potter should be able to do and fixed the dang thing myself. I think it turned out pretty nicely and I was rather proud of myself and began to dream of all the fine things I could do if I learned masonry…

Later that same day we went walking at East Hill Rail Trail and HOLY CATS when the dog went into the creek to get a drink, on one side of us was a brown heron, the other side a young buck….

Saturday, August 27, 2016

NOT skin cancer...

In May I noticed a fast growing bump in the middle of my tat and I was like "HOLY SH!T I AM GONNA DIE" which, after a little searching around became "Maybe it won't kill me, but it will kill my tattoo!".  WELL, the doctor finally got a look at it…Keratosis.  A benign wee bump…and I have a lot of them, and if you are middle aged (how did I get to be middle aged???) you might be lucky enough to have them too (and NOT skin cancer).

The doctor told me he could take it off, whita scar, etc, blahblahblah…and I was like "NOPE" and ran out of the office…really!

Made me feel like a million bucks…so I went home and picked some of my sunflowers… :)  Have a great Saturday!

Friday, August 26, 2016

your own personal dragon….

OK, maybe a REAL dragon is a little hard to come by, but you could have one of my dragon mugs if you really need a dragon!

I know, you have seen my dragon mugs before, these are a wee bit different in style :)

Thursday, August 25, 2016

even I don't get to the beach this summer...

My pots can take me AND you there.  Wavey-groovey with shells :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

creative efforts...

Can you claim flowers as a creative efforts?  Years ago I started seeds for sunflowers and pink cosmos, and now every year I start them inside in April and then they summer ouside, becoming these glorious blooms NOW.  I am already gathering next year's seeds, too….

I was going to see my parents the other day…I made them a tart.  I made us a tart too, so there wouldn't be any jealousy….new mugs outta the kiln! Kind of a seaside theme, right?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Britney and gluten-free pesto pizza!

Suddenly the summer world is BURSTING with basil and tomatoes…so ya gotta make PIZZA. Good lord this thing was fun to make and tasty…REALLY tasty.  I have a lot of pizza crust recipes, but this thin crust recipe with her pesto pizza instructions HIT THE SPOT. Came together beautifully and tasted wicked good…

In other news, I was just dreaming that friends were helping me with a surprise for Britney Spear's birthday….turns out she likes home baked brownies. I can't say I have EVER thought of her at all or even heard her music…I think I had somebody else's dream ;)

Monday, August 22, 2016

starry starry night...

Someone has told me this glaze scheme looks like stars…. some new pots by me…

Sunday, August 21, 2016

the first tomato

I think today we can eat the first tomato.

You will recall that every year I start seeds in the house at the end of winter and then a few months later I have nothing to show for it but dead plants and miserable hopes.  Until next year.

WELL, last year I noticed that one of my plants, from a saved heirloom seed, a medium size pink tomato, survived the blight OK, as did the grape tomatoes from neighbors across the street.  We sometimes get tomato blight fierce, and those 2 seemed to survive, so I saved some seeds, and WOWIE, my plants are having a great summer.  I have dozens if not hundreds of green tomatoes on the back deck in the wash tubs…I am still careful about getting too hopeful that they will not still all turn brown and die, but…. :)

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Mr. Mug…on a mug

Sure, I doodle all the time.  The fellow with a cup of coffee for a head is Mr. Mug…and why shouldn't he be on a mug?

Friday, August 19, 2016

putting it together…before and after...

Yesterday I was finishing a few mugs…they needed to dry a bit and I thought it would be amusing to get their before and after…it was a fairly dragon day…

AND I have made small flying pigs many times before, as you know, but only one plane with a spinning propeller and rolling wheels.  Now I have made another! I thought you might like to see the before and after….the metal bit for the propeller is a piece of special metal used to hold kiln elements, it looks like a paper clip but can be fired to 2300 degrees!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

that HOLY CATS glaze combo

You may recall last year Mike and Sandra's granddaughter Tori was over in my studio messing around, and wanted to glaze her piece in colors I hadn't used in awhile (but that Mother Nature loves to use all the time) purple and green. AND WHAT a combo these 2 make, going all NUTS where they overlap, I am so glad she reminded me.  I have like 18 glazes, and am also forgetful….

I made this teapot the other day and thought long and hard (amazing how much time you can spend on a little thing…) about the glaze combo for it, difficult because of the wavy groovy surface…thought of this or that and then AH HA! Again, I needed to remember the awesomeness of this purple and green...

SO, like I say, I am entering a competition this month in an exquisite small show…this will likely be one of the 3 entires (still thinking) and it is the size of a baseball….

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

and the latest...

The kiln is cooling from a firing yesterday (HOO boy, with baking on a hot day it was a bit warm in here) and there will be MORE pots to see, but these are the last from the previous firing a couple of days ago…trying out more color schemes with wavy-groovy pots….

Tuesday, August 16, 2016


Many of you will recall I had 2 surgeries in January to slow down the progress of my glaucoma.  Not like having open heart surgery, but still, not the most pleasant procedure.  ANYWAY, the question at the doctor's office Monday, after a couple hours of exhaustive eye exams and tests, was, since glaucoma has no cure and all the doctor can do is try to prevent further damage, when would I need surgery again.  And the answer, for now, is very good, the eyes are stable for now and probably won't need surgery for 2 years at the soonest.  VERY good news indeed….

and so I got back to work, and loaded the kiln and later had a wee toast to good health and vision :)

Monday, August 15, 2016

beagle belly

Yes, it has been hot.  The only air conditioning in this house is memories of January…or we get high tech and have a cool shower and sit in front of a fan.

Beagles deal with it any way they can….

Sunday, August 14, 2016

A winery on a lake, what's not to love????

The wife and I have enjoyed Lamoureaux Landing dry riesling for a few years…from grapes grown and pressed on Seneca Lake, one lake over from our Cayuga.  The stuff is wicked terrific, and I had seen photos of the winery (there are maybe over 100 wineries within 100 miles of us) and it looked SO beautiful.  Like, if I had a lot of class and taste and money and designed a winery, THAT is what it would look like.  It isn't very far away, and so we finally got over there….

2 things…it was almost 100 degrees, VERY rare for us, very hot, with all the humidity, and the lakeshore was a lot cooler.  2nd:  when we got there, about a thousand, so it seemed to shy, introvert me, 22 year old women in little dresses were flitting about.  I tell the wife

"If this is a wedding, I am LEAVING" but it wasn't, and THEY were leaving.  There were still plenty of other people around tasting and such, but we quickly realized that it had been a large group (groups???) of sorority sisters from Cornell getting taken around in limos to wineries to get blotto.

The setting is stunning.  Grapes and solar panels line the hillside down to Seneca Lake.  The winery, tasting and sales room are all in this perfect building.  The dry riesling is very popular and sold in stores all around, which is how we got to know it, but they have a LOT of other varieties I didn't know about.  I filled my little box with moscato (I have no idea what it will be like, I was driving and the tasting will be at home), chardonnay, chardonnay reserve (!) AND unoaked chardonnay (?) and, of course, the dry riesling.

Everybody was inside whooping it up, and we asked if they minded us poking around.  They did not, ("Just don't touch anything!") so we wandered, in and out.  It is a very small winery, really, and it all happens in a place the size of a large house…..

Saturday, August 13, 2016


Drove down to Tom's of Binghamton yesterday with a load of mugs… funny story, of course:  the broken down kiln I told you about, that I repaired and got going again?  Guess what was in it, due to be delivered Friday afternoon…AND guess what fired properly and cooled and many many mugs were boxed and delivered :)

Friday, August 12, 2016

and so the kiln is fixed…again...

(step one:  unplug that thing!)

A couple of years ago, it seemed mysterious, until I realized the kiln had been working overtime for a while:  one after the other, over the course of a few months, the 4 elements all burned out and I replaced them.  Again this year, March and June I had to replace 2 of the replacements, and I had a misfire Wednesday, and surprise! Another element needed replacing…you imagine in a month or 2 the 4th will go, right?  Just like a lamp with 4 bulbs.  EXACTLY like a lamp with 4 bulbs--kiln elements burn out after a while.

It is not as easy to replace elements on a kiln as replacing a light bulb, but not too difficult.  You can see below the burned looking spot, it marked the brick that holds the elements (I love how L and L electric kilns have these hard brick REPLACEABLE element holders, brilliant).  So, I had to tear out the old element, the brick it melted into and then get it connected and tested…and I did so by 9 am Thursday and got the kiln properly fired by the end of the afternoon, right on time :)

New element on the left with the new element holder, on the right removed element and holder...

Below, the connections….

Later:  red hot, firing correctly :)

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