Saturday, February 28, 2009

today at the pot shop....

(pots by Gary Rith and Rafiki dog)
My pal in California Cheri has a daughter with a rather wonderful dog named Rafiki. Am I blowing any surprises if I post to the world that Cheri ordered a Rafiki cookie jar? He is very handsome, and I am pleased to make a Rafiki cookie jar. I had to add the extra little doggies to the sides for that modern decorative look. I use brown clay at the Cornell Pot Shop, and threw these before class and they dried while I taught and then I could finish them after class. A student asked when I am going to teach making little animales, but I said "I have my secrets". But then I ruined it by telling her some of my secrets.
Norah, seen below, is interesting. Norah got her degree as an engineer then started the doctorate degree in chemistry and has become a potter along the way and now runs the kilns for the studio, plus other stuff. I am not smart and all I can do is make little pots. Norah has perfect SAT scores, advanced degrees in difficult subjects and makes kick a$$ pots, but the really mind blowing thing is that she is ALWAYS cheerful and friendly. Some people can do it all, right?

Buster, March 1, 1999

Buster is the quiet giant in our house, and his tenth birthday is tomorrow (along with the missus AND my niece.) Buster is the best dog I have ever met (Penny is totally charming and fun and sweet, but NO angel) and Buster is turning ten. I got him on my birthday when he was a puppy the size of a boot, and he grew up to be the biggest dog I have ever met. He is huge. Now he is very old, for a big dog, but the same as ever, clownish, sweet natured, walks 2 or 3 miles a day, a little arthritic, but OK.

Buster was living with our neighbors, and they were not good to him. Here's the story on that and the pottery he inspired, because it is thanks to Buster that I put the little animals on things. You see the first ever Buster pots there with him, spring 1999, and inside every cup and bowl I sold with him on the side there was a card and his story:

"Buster had no future. An orphaned black lab puppy, he was attacked by a goat and run over by a car when he was only 6 weeks old. The vet said he might never walk, and he was going to be put down. Instead, I met him and took him home. He is growing up strong and healthy. When I saw him hanging over the edge of his pen, lightening struck and "Buster Puppyware" was born, a new line of cups and bowls by Gary Rith."

rocky cocoa

(pots by Gary Rith)
Rococo, actually. When I put funny little doodads all over a piece, I am reinventing barouque or rococo forms. Rococo means to me: GET SILLY! Overdecorate! Add little doodads for fun! The dictionary tells us:

ro⋅co⋅co   /rəˈkoʊkoʊ, ˌroʊkəˈkoʊ/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [ruh-koh-koh, roh-kuh-koh] Show IPA
–noun 1. a style of architecture and decoration, originating in France about 1720, evolved from Baroque types and distinguished by its elegant refinement in using different materials for a delicate overall effect and by its ornament of shellwork, foliage, etc.
2. a homophonic musical style of the middle 18th century, marked by a generally superficial elegance and charm and by the use of elaborate ornamentation and stereotyped devices.

–adjective 3. (initial capital letter) Fine Arts. a. noting or pertaining to a style of painting developed simultaneously with the rococo in architecture and decoration, characterized chiefly by smallness of scale, delicacy of color, freedom of brushwork, and the selection of playful subjects as thematic material.
b. designating a corresponding style of sculpture, chiefly characterized by diminutiveness of Baroque forms and playfulness of theme.

4. of, pertaining to, in the manner of, or suggested by rococo architecture, decoration, or music or the general atmosphere and spirit of the rococo: rococo charm.
5. ornate or florid in speech, literary style, etc.

Friday, February 27, 2009

that desert island question

Laurie Anderson was asked the desert island question on the radio a few years ago, and she was pretty adament, her love Lou Reed (tres cool--Laurie Anderson and Lou Reed together) absolutely HAD to be able to go with her. Wouldn't talk to the interviewer unless he let her bring Lou along.
Then there was Tom Hanks in that movie, what did he have, a volleyball to talk to?

So I ask myself everyday, what would I need on a desert island? Scenario one: my little boat reaches the island with the wife and pets and a load of canned pineapple and veggie chili. Scenario two: I land on the island with NOTHING. Hmm.

I'll answer both. In scenario one, where I have my nearest and dearest with me, and plenty of food? I'd have to have a weekly subscription to the New Yorker. A little airplane flying by every Friday, dropping a parachute with my magazine in it.
Scenario two? Give me my leatherman. it can DO IT.

YOUR turn---take either scenario or both and tell us your desert island necessities? What one thing?

sticking your foot in it

I am very forgetful. Yesterday? Week 3 of classes? I have no idea what my students' names are. A little embarrassing. I do like one beer or drink a day, but you hear the heart assoc. or somebody says that can beneficial for some people, so it certainly isn't memory loss from that, and the only other drug I ever use is ibuprofen! And I am not very old at all.

This all came to a head when a bloggy friend of mine for 3 years or more said "but Gary, if you have been reading my blog all this time, you should know by now that____". WELL! Frankly, although embarrassed because I had really stuck my foot in it, I can remember many things, but some things slip into the cracks. Like I am sure I would remember if she had a thing for yellow bikinis, but other than that....

I can tell you, though, whether it is connected or not, that until 8th grade I was a terrific student in school. Then I was hit by a car. I smashed the windshield with my head. 18 months later I was hospitalized and missed 2 months of school after I passed out after winding up at the bottom of a pile in a school football game, helmet on. The neurologist said that 2 head injuries in a short time can make the effects of the second one worse than it really should be. My grades dropped down and I never was a good student again. It really changed my life and I havn't been the same since. Anyway, who knows? Maybe I was just born to be a flake.

SO, I am a good note taker and my filofax is stuffed with goals and plans and notes. My wife can tell me a good joke and then tell it me again in a few months for my fresh enjoyment. I look ahead, not back....

mama pig and le cats

(pots by Gary Rith)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

meanwhile, back at the ranch...

(my mom and her energetic old dog)
Here in Ithaca we have had a moderate winter, snow was at a depth of up to two feet on the ground for about 2-3 months then melted away a week ago. A very easy, very average winter so far for us.
My parents live on a farm in the hills 44 miles away. They get pounded with snow every day. To review: we have no snow. The hills just an hour's drive away has been covered with deep snow since early November.
It is tough on them.

she gets an A+

(pot by Gary Rith)
So I finish this thing at home and head over to teach advanced pottery at the Cornell studios and I am showing them lids and jars and Susie, bless her, says: "You make pots just like Dr Seuss!!!!" and I am like "holy cats, that's high praise, you'd get an A+....if we gave grades for these classes...".

SPIKE CHECKS IN and models in the n#de

(pottery by Gary Rith)
Got yer attention, didn't I? Like I said, fixed the kiln the other day and had a totally faboo firing. I am now cookie jar crazy(or whatever you wanna put in there) and I am making LOTS of these large shaped jars with sculptures atop the lid. They are gonna be wicked expensive because I am putting a lot of time into them. Spike modeled for this cat with the fish, as you can see, although Spike is not blue with purple spots. Plus he gets CANNED fish, which wouldn't look as funny in his paws.

le hippos and le cookie jars

(pots by Gary Rith)
Oh my: yesterday I was feeling so much better, posted a ton of times, rec'd the pigs from Kate and Jim, unloaded a beautiful kiln firing. Yay. Nice when life is cruising along.
First ever hippo bowls. Going up for sale with this baseball mug later today!

Styx, Lady

Yesterday's NYT crossword had a clue: the river in Hades. Styx!!!! Gotta play Lady.....

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I am in heaven....

So, my bloggy friends Kate and Jim send me a mystery package and dangit, they know me well, a happy pair of pigs, nearly life size. Holy cats I love them, thanks guys!
Spike, of course, is pleased as punch that somebody sent him a box full of bubblewrap and paper....

celebrity minute with THE REGULAR GUY

Here at this blog we try to keep you up to date on all the celebrity news that is important to, well, ME.
New York Magazine tells us this week that Blink 182 and Limp Bizkit are reuniting (no doubt they have spent all their cash and are facing multiple foreclosures and child support cases, therefore: REUNITE and TOUR). That is tremendous and superb news, esp. Limp Bizkit.
I suspect that there are maybe 5 or 6 other people in the world excited by this news, but all the rest of you are philistines and I will not talk to you.
Blink 182, Adam's song live

and more importantly Limp Bizkit Take a look around (you will notice of course that like me, Fred Durst is a Yankees fan)

and more! ROLLIN (starring scenes filmed on top of the World Trade Center, shortly before they were destroyed)

and their best, NOOKIE

Denis gets buried in snow

My old buddy Denis is a hero this week, living in northern Vermont which is having record snow falls (in a snowy place, think about what it means to have RECORD snowfalls). The newspaper wrote all about the snow, and Denis!

OK, and here is a wee little joke that Denis' and my friend Kim shared with us earlier:
A (not too smart young person) calls her boyfriend and says, 'Please come over here and help me. I have a killer jigsaw puzzle, and I can't figure out how to get started.'

Her boyfriend asks, 'What is it supposed to be when it's finished?'

The (not too smart young person) says, 'According to the picture on the box, it's a rooster.'

Her boyfriend decides to go over and help with the puzzle..

She lets him in and shows him where she has the puzzle spread all over the table.

He studies the pieces for a moment, then looks at the box, then turns to her and says, 'First of all, no matter what we do, we're not going to be able to assemble these pieces into anything resembling a rooster.'

He takes her hand and says, 'Second, I want you to relax. Let's have a nice cup of tea, and then ....' he said with a deep sigh,. .. . . . . .

(scroll down)

'Let's put all the Corn Flakes back in the box.'


Missus Tastycake turns ortynine-fay this weekend. I have a few gifties for the lady, but she has to work for it: TRIVIA and scavenger hunt EACH DAY UNTIL SUNDAY. There were five questions yesterday to find these earrings (that complete a set, with bracelet and necklace) and ahem, she needed a lot of help. The first 4 questions were the birthdays of our pets. I have a better memory for that sort of thing, for some reason....
I gave her a little cat today, and she had consider the clue: 'is that a cat in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?'. Jaysus, I mean she is smart, but it took her forever to realize she was supposed to poke around in my bathrobe pocket to find the little cat. ::::ahem::::

good looking woman isn't she, and she's nearly 50????? IMPOSSIBLE! 29!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

five for five!

OK, this head cold is half gone, thanks for asking. I am hoping to have a semi-normal day today.
Extra good news is that although my kiln conked out last week in the middle of a firing, I rec'd parts Monday and tore the kiln apart yesterday am and my repair was righteous and I refired the pots and a quick peek into a hot kiln tells me things went very well. Amen!

My pal Lynda said yesterday 'I need a meme!!!' and so I wrote on. Lynda, this meme's for you! Copy and paste and use in my comments here puhleeese!
(ps--I loved being 5---you could play and draw and look at books and ride a bike, yeow, just the best age, wasn't it?)

1) what was you favorite snack when you were 5? What is it now?
When I was 5? I remember ordering it even at the fancy restaurant my grandparents took us to: peanut butter and jam sandwiches! And now? peanut butter and jam sandwiches! Although I love any kind of burritos now too.

2) what was your favorite cartoon when you were 5? what do you like to watch now?
I loved Scooby Doo! And the Brady Bunch!!!! I don't watch TV anymore, but like music videos as everybody knows PLUS lots of funny and artsy movies. I am thinking we want to see Confessions of a Shopaholic....

3) what did you like to do after school when you were five? how about in your free time now? I remember after school catching Gilligan's Island for a bit, then spending the day out digging in dirt, riding a bike around, more digging, and in bad weather, painting with watercolors. Now? I spend all of my time doing much the same--making something out of clay and reading books and a remarkble amount of time walking my young beagle. She has very soft ears.

4) what scared you most when you were 5? what scares you most now?
I KNEW there was a vampire under my bed when I was 5. What scares me now? The economy, stoopid! Scarier than any vampire I'll tell ya...

5) what do you remember most clearly from when you were 5? how about in the last year? Two things I remember: one is where two bullies pushed me into mud on the way home walking from school (kids walked by themselves back and forth to school at age 5 when I was a kid, I doubt that is common anymore) and I lost my shoe and carried it home crying, and the other was the sounds I heard on Christmas of the front door opening, stamping feet on the floor and snowy footprints and presents later when I went out to look at the tree! (my dad faked Santa pretty well)
In the last year? Carp. I have a bad memory. Tee hee, well when me and the missus were __________________________________________ . That was memorable!

1) what was you favorite snack when you were 5? What is it now?
2) what was your favorite cartoon when you were 5? what do you like to watch now?
3) what did you like to do after school when you were five? how about in your free time now?
4) what scared you most when you were 5? what scares you most now?
5) what do you remember most clearly from when you were 5? how about in the last year?

Below, some things and shapes I am fiddling with. This IS a pottery blog.

(pots by Gary Rith)

facial expressions, TWO, and what makes you P!ssed off?

Lotsa pics this morning. Usually you have me posting little bits all day, but I thought I would toss out one big post this morning and make it interactive.
I have been sick in these PJs for over 36 hours. I am feeling better. I shall try to have a good work day, repair the kiln, make bunnies, maybe even go outside.

Tink's weekly word challenges are two and facial expressions. I have that in spades.

Gets me thinking though: what really p!sses you off? Drivers, dog poo on the sidewalk, a runny nose, when somebody doesn't put out a new roll of TP?
I know that those little cards they stuff into magazines drive me up a tree, I hate those cards!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They make me violent.
Go to comments: what really p!sses you off????? We wanna know!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Almost Famous!

(teapot by Gary Rith)
You could say 'wow Gary crumb-bum day, eh?' but hey, there are upsides on this sickie day:
a) kiln parts arrived, see if I can fix the darn thing Tuesday
b) it probably won't snow forever, and 5 degrees outside is warmer than zero
c) we live in a time when you can buy ibuprofen, and take it anytime you want
d) I am a doggone winner! I won a spot in the teapot show I have told you about, at Chiaroscuro Gallery in Chicago. This is a BIG FORKING deal, and the third time I have entered. This rather cool red doggy teapot is the winner, I am sooooooooo excited!

That's It, that's the last straw

I don't think I have ever worked in an office, and I havn't had a job in about 12 years. Self-employed. Toughest boss there is. Made me finish a bunch of drying pots this morning, drippy nose and chills and all.
I gave myself the afternoon off to finish my book and watch Office Space again.
Dig this, the fax machine massacre!

you don't have to worry, I will survive...really...

Not so odd, you have a cold on a cold day, you feel COLD! Therefore the hat and scarf, inside the house. Don't mind me, I'll be OK. I'll try to warm my hands on the wee little beagle. She has soft ears.
I am home, I am working. Easter is not far away, and I am thinking about bunnies. I am also thinking about alternative handles, and I think these cups and saucers look quite fetching with a wheel thrown ring for a handle rather than a pulled handle.

Does anyone give a shirt?

About the Oscars? It is a little like the recent Super Bowl. Sure, people in Pittsburg and that other city were excited, and you imagine the people nominated for Oscars were excited, but with only a couple of exceptions, this was, in the opinon of this blog, pretty dull stuff.
I have seen Slumdog. It is a great movie but also extremely difficult to watch. People say 'oh, its a love story, its about overcoming' but it is also about some of the most horrible things children can endure. And worse. I suppose it was the best of the bunch.
I can imagine Sean Penn earned his Oscar. Fair enough.
Heath Ledger, DEFINATELY, the poor guy...
and Penelope Cruz is super cute. I don't know anything about that movie, but in my mind, she wins based on know.

In the category of 'who gives a shirt about Gary?' let's just say that it is 11 degrees outside and snowing, and I have gotten a mildly terrible cold. The slightly runny nose, the vaguely sore throat. I wanted to have some fun and go to the grocery store, and later entertain friends. I think I will hole up with the household heat turned high, my lamb's wool scarf tightly tied around my neck, and make little bunnies and such. Your sympathy is welcome.
(it has been several months of NO COLDS--my friends must be impressed)

les chiens

(doggy sugar bowls by Gary Rith)

Sunday, February 22, 2009


By the Raveonettes, havn't enjoyed this one for awhile, try it, you'll LOVE it!

the bunny's bottom and Missus Tastycake is caught slacking

(bunny mama and baby by Gary Rith)
I watch my beginners really pushing and pulling and wrenching their clay and generally messing things up as they learn. I tell them you have to coax the clay. Work with it. You don't force it. You pretend the clay pot is the bunny's bottom, and you push gently and firmly....
I am in some kind of bunny show soon and so I have been sitting in the warm living room sunshine making bunny sculpture.
AND Missus Tastycake is quiet upstairs studying. Or so I thought. Looks like a N-A-P to me.

dead body in the gorge is .....

(me at the scene of the crime and NO I had nothing to do with it)
Channel 10 tells us:

Police say body in gorge a prank
02/21/2009 06:12 PM
By: Web Staff
ITHACA, N.Y. -- Ithaca Police are investigating a prank that tied up officers and other emergency personnel for hours Saturday. They say Cornell Police alerted them around 10:30 a.m. of a possible body in the Fall Creek Gorge.

After getting to the scene and taking a closer look, they discovered that in fact it was not a person, but a fully dressed mannequin lying face down.

The mannequin was about 200 feet below the Stewart Avenue Bridge, but police did go down to retrieve it so there wouldn't be any more confusion.

They are now looking into the incident further and ask anyone with information to contact Cornell Police at (607) 255-1111.

Sadly, a few people die in this gorge on the Cornell campus every year. It is something like 200-400 feet deep and has several waterfalls. There is a really nice spot under the bridge I am standing on here for swimming, except for the currents and the rocks falling on heads from time to time. There are several fraternities that are built on the gorge and you wonder if.....

My beloved Missus Tastycake tells me:

(teaset by Gary Rith-my pal Tom told me that this black and this blue glaze both of which I like, work really well together and dangit it is true!)
So Missus tastycake tells me this joke:

"A guy walks into a bar with a duck on his head.
The barkeep asks the guy: 'hey, what can I get for ya?'
The guy replies: 'nothing, I'm good'
The barkeep asks the duck: 'so what can I get for you?'
And the duck replies: 'you can get this guy off my a$$!'