Sunday, November 30, 2008

rude gnome

(rude gnome by Gary Rith)
This is sure to get my parents' blood boiling, BUT ANYWAY, hey, you can join my new facebook group anarcho-punk potters. ANYBODY can join, and submit pictures of their cats, dogs, pottery, banana know.

I was very impressed. I wasn't expecting anybody today. We have a rotten ice storm going here, very slick, and this couple showed up to the open studio, and I won't say they cleaned me out, but they have a few lucky relatives who will find some nifty gifts in their stockings this year...

CM writes:

My pal CM in Toronto is quite a patron of the arts. MY ART. She was the first customer off this blog, and you never forget the first customer off your blog. Apparently at breakfast this morning her man B. was at the stove and:

"Apropos of breakfast: So B pours the kettle into the tea pot and out of the blue says "Gary makes the best pottery" and then turns back to the pan of bacon."

Give the man a medal.

TP; nobody made the bed????? and a horrific book or two

You know the wife is gone when you go upstairs at night and the bed is still unmade. What's up with that? Oh, right, she makes the bed....(I am mister homemaker and it is my job to clean and attend to most duties, but I DON'T MAKE BEDS, which is a guy thing, you know? I mean dishes, sure, cooking, of course, cleaning the cat box, check, but making the bed? ) I am also confused about the way my wife likes the TP to turn. Does it roll out this way? Or that way? I know it matters to her, but I really can't remember the proper direction.
I have no doubt that my wife and her sisters are having a blast in NY city this week, while I am here working and cleaning the cat box. I have no doubt they are shopping for MY CHRISTMAS GIFTS which I will admit is quite important.

When the wife is gone, I seem to do some odd things. More odd than usual at least. Some of you may know that I was surprised that when I went to find and join a facebook group last night called "Anarcho-punk potters" I was surprised to discover NO SUCH GROUP EXISTED. It does now. A couple of clicks and BOOM! You have started a facebook group. Amazing world, eh? You can blog about TP and start a silly facebook group and it just enriches the world.

I also find that when the wife is away I read late into the night. I finished "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle" the other day, which I HIGHLY recommend, even though it ends in horrible disaster. Then last night I read in one sitting Cormac McCarthy's "The Road". OOOOph. All of Cormac's books are amazingly written stories with noble and rich characters and dialogue. But he doesn't write a cheerful book. "All the Pretty Horses" was part of a trilogy that made you weep, "No Country for Old Men" was so full of death there was NO WAY I could watch the movie, and "The Road" is even more horrific than that. It is one of those post-apocalypse stories where most of civilization is gone, people are savages, resources are scarce, and survival isn't a game. The father in this book, you come to realize, is living only to save his son for a better future. Despite the awfulness that permeates every mile of their trip, including one of the most horrible things I have ever seen in a story, the father hopes that his son will find some good people to live with. The father puts EVERYTHING into saving his son. You appreciate a character like that, and the son is very special. And you have to have hope. But the book is a nightmare and parts of it are running through my head all the time.

le open studio, day one going into day 2

(Pots in the studio in the purple house by Gary Rith)
Open studios are always a lot of fun, and I was surprised yesterday by visits from several strangers. There is nothing like people visiting you and telling you how great you and your work are ;^)
I tidied up the studio quite a bit. Whereas the fall open studios, I organized by item: teapots here, bowls all over there, mugs in one spot, this time I divided by animal: the elephant section, zebra section, pig section, doggy section etc.
Opens up again at 11 and I will get a lot of work done today too, more throwing, more little anaimales and more mother and piglet sculptures (YES, I love sow and piglet sculptures, see below, and puppies and mamas too...)
Cleaned the studio yesterday, must clean the rest of the house this am....

Saturday, November 29, 2008


(mugs by Gary Rith)
Maybe I should take this more seriously. We are having another county wide art trail open studio weekend and I have not done anything to prepare for it. I didn't figure anybody would come. (I was featured in the newspaper, as I keep saying, with a photo and everything! so maybe somebody will come????) I am sitting here in my jammies blobbing. I do think my neighbor HP might come, and my pal from school Wendy may come, but other than that who knows? I need to be sitting around working anyway, so I figured I would open the studio doors to the public. Probably I am the only person who saw the newspaper photo and listing.....
OK, 7 am, people arrive starting in 4 hours, maybe I should hop to it.....

Kate and Jim suggest!

Rob Thomas and Santana--you know you love this tune, and my goodness, there sure are a lot of pretty young women dancing here....

Friday, November 28, 2008

whacked triangle

(pots by Gary Rith--before and after assembly which took ALL AFTERNOON sort of)
so, I asked, what happens if you have a ripply teapot but want to whack it into a triangular shape? Tres good.

my pineapple upside down cake is on the road in New York...

..and I am busy. Penny came with me down to the library, which was OPEN and then we went to the Cornell Pot Shop which was closed, dangitall, so no work there, but look at this rude anti-dog sign we sign outside the back door of a cafe.
Then, hoping to hike but not get my a$$ shot off, Penny and I went to the east Ithaca rail trail thingy (was last there with CM and Ben in June!), which is CLEARLY POSTED and walked quite a ways and barked at all the little chipmunks. Cascadilla Creek runs through there, and it is this tiny and pokey little thing, but then it creates this 400 foot gorge and waterfalls just a mile away........

HP say breathe....

HP suggests the awesome

Breathe by Michelle Branch

and I suggest Anna Nalick Breathe, AWESOME

OH and better than those, Michelle Branch and Santana A little bit of this!

get a life that doesn't suck

So I was listening to the radio and this lady was describing her book and how you can chill out, esp. when stressed.
Last night Penny was howling at the firemen outside our window and I really yelled at her to SHUT UP. (beagles are LOUD, esp. in the middle of the night when firemen are all over the front yard across the street)
So, my life doesn't suck, I probably have the best life of anybody on earth, but I get a little frantic sometimes. Frantic and confused and stressed. So she says
Don't just yell at the dog
acknowledge what you feel (pissed as hell that a small beagle is howling in your ear at 11pm) but don't wallow in it
choose --you have a choice, what can you do for the outcome you want, which is to have a quiet dog?
kick into gear--so, basically, act on the choice--such as hold the sweet little dog's head, look her in the eye and calmly, firmly and politely ask her to shut the F### up.
I don't need a life coach or know if anybody else does, but there is wisdom to taking a calm breath and thinking a split second before you give an angry response to somebody, esp. an adorable little beagle.

Well anyway, she has a useful website and an ONLINE QUIZ! It will tell you if your life sucks.

God, guns and greed

Greed? I feel most greedy. I covet some sleep. This is not noble of me. YES, I am happy to drive the missus to meet her bus, headed to Manhattan at 6. But the reason I am most greedy for sleep is that there was a rather serious house fire across the street last night. We were awakened around 10 by flashing lights and sirens REALLY close by. A look out the window confirmed that the owners of the blue house who are are good friends of ours, were standing in the yard looking quite fine and safe, and other neighbors out there too. I figured nobody needed me in my PJs out there too. There were four firetrucks, one or two tankers, and an ambulance. They had the scene lit up bright as day and it was NOISY. The house didn't look on fire, and it is still there today. I suspect a kitchen fire or one in the fireplace chimney. But there for the grace of God go all of us. I may be sleepy, but my house is OK, and I hope theirs is too.

We live in a tiny hamlet five miles from a small city, but surrounding us is the countryside full of normally happy and healthy deer. There have been shots all month out there. A family drove by me yesterday with a big buck tied to the top of their minivan bleeding down the windshield. They had to use the windshield wipers to clear the blood off the window to drive.

(mug by Gary Rith)

CM suggests: Toast

We did not have toast for Thanksgiving, but CM suggests this amusing song from The Streetband.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


So we had vegetarian paella for Thanksgiving dinner. Paella is a Spanish stew of sorts with rice, veggies, shellfish, chicken, sausage and about anything else you can think of, including saffron. Saffron, of course, is the little yellow bit of spice from a crocus, making everything yellowy. A woman who worked with the missus was in Qatar and came home with a big jar of saffron for the missus, worth I dunno, a hundred bucks?
So, our paella had soy sausage and soy chicken and a boatload of veggies and rice, according to the recipe from Vegetarian Times. I, however, feel that recipes are mere suggestions, the missus think they should be followed. There was some tension. I dumped a ton of pepper and red pepper into the mess, and refused to follow directions, and the missus is one of those careful cooks....(the angry look on her face, due to my meddling!!!!!! good thing I had already made triple chocolate cookies!) anyway, twas wicked delicious, esp. with chocolate cookies and Cape Codders (my only nod to tradition---a drink with a little cranberry juice!).

le mojo: how Gary got his groove back

(pots and cookies by Gary Rith)
The studio has been so blasted cold all week things havn't gone well. Each day as the hands dip in and out of the cold water and the afternoon progresses, I would get to a point where my fingers would be so numb as to have no sensitivity and my fingers went through a piece each of the last 3 days, and I would quit... well, today I blasted the heat and things worked out very well. And these cute mugs came out of the kiln too.
Thanksgiving is low-key here, second to working. I put slips of paper into the hat with dessert possibilities like chocolate cake or apple pie, and she drew my triple chocolate cookies which she adores and she would probably kill for...

what does Thanksgiving mean?

Thanksgiving means, for me these last 11-12 years, firing the kiln and making piggy banks so that I can try to shake loose some bucks from shoppers in the coming days so that we can buy peanut butter and cat food all winter. Such is the life of the small box retailer!

Dreamt of my pal Gordo and his family last night. They had us over for beers, and as usual, Gord's two sons are charming hosts. And the dream hamster? he hasn't sprouted wings but he sort of stretched out like a flying squirrel to fly around in little swoops...

le breakfast

Emily cat fell asleep on my coat, and you can see that it is still a very snowy week here in central and northern NY. So I made cinnamon rolls.

monster mugs

(monster mugs by Gary Rith--yes they have googly eyes and teeth)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

remember Charlie Brown...

...when Peppermint Patty tells him to host Thanksgiving? Its pretty funny-the best he can do is jelly beans, popcorn and toast.
I have been asked what we plan to have for an anarcho-punk VEGAN Thanksgiving:
popcorn, jelly beans and toast.

today my little popcorn said to me:

Today my little popcorn said to me:
"It had nothing to do with being graceful. I wanted to be a ballerina!!!"

What you see here is several feet of lottery tickets. This is my little popcorn's advent calendar. I surprised her yesterday with this long string of numbered tickets which she can start winning from Monday. She will be in NY city visiting her sisters Friday through Monday, and I will be here keeping the cat box clean and trying to sell pots. And working and all the rest...

We invited my mom and dad for Thanksgiving but they were strangely not interested in coming to this all vegetarian-no-dairy feast we are planning for Thursday.

almost famous

(pots by Gary Rith)
So I am flicking through the newspaper and whaddya know? There I am! My piggy teapot, anyway, featured in the newspaper, as in "Go over to Gary's and buy pots this weekend". Nobody told me this was being printed, lucky me! Be nice if I wasn't the only person who saw it and some actual sales resulted.
Nancy stopped by with this stack of nifty postcards, announcing the show we have starting next week too....
The lower pic is being submitted to the Cornell paper because they may feature my pots next week, we shall see....

NOT by me

There are times you're at the store and you love a little pot or pots and lust after its glaze and you don't want the actual pot, you want to MAKE IT YOURSELF or something like it.
These little cuties are at the food coop and I secretly (did I need to do it secretly? you have to do it secretly in a gallery---they never allow pics because potters are sneaking around getting ideas) took this pic. There were some cute dragonfly things too. They are factory made overseas and I make better frogs and stuff BUT:
-these pots are in the cute aesthetic, which is my aesthetic too AND
-I love that glaze and you know what?????? I have been using the green version of it at the Cornell studio and I have the recipe now to use at home, and you can make variations on the green, like blue, and I am wondering maybe yellow too!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Got your attention, eh? I'm in one of those anarcho-punk-I-wanna-get-outta the house type moods, to maybe meet the missus down at The Nines for beers and junk food, so I LEAVE YOU WITH THIS courtesy of my SIL Emily.

Bob and Doug Mackenzie 12 Days of Christmas.


So I say a little while ago:

"so my little poptart, anything pithy for me?" and she replies

"OY the pressure! And how can I think when you call me POPTART?"

In other bizarre news, and I bet you visit me to read all the bizarre news, YES the little hamster passed through my dreams, writing something in a notebook and then I was dreaming me and the poptart went to Texas because Farmer's Wife's husband is my brother-in-law and south Texas is all snowy and hilly just like here.....well anyway.

little Rafiki and me

(mug by Gary Rith and Rafiki)
Cheri's daughter has a puppy and asked if I could try to make mugs with him. To me, he looks like a brown dog with black smudges, and I think I managed to capture that much!


Woke up singing the Bee Gee's "how can you mend a broken heart...." and I think I will cleanse the palate.
So here is the heaviest of heavy metal, Disturbed. Like if you took a sweet and wholesome band like Godsmack and pushed them off the edge. Nothing uplifting here, not for everybody!

Down with the sickness

and Stupify which is a rather disturbing video

Monday, November 24, 2008

mirror mirror on the wall....

Who is the fairest of them all?
The other day my adorable and ever sweet and sexy peanut brittle put on the Cowboy Junkies for dinner. I remembered I had seen that the Cowboy Junkies come to Ithaca in February. As Margo sweetly sang BLUUUUUE MOOOOOON I told my peanut brittle:
"Sweetie, don't take this wrong, but there is something about Margo Timmins voice that, well, drives me wild. And dear sweet darling, please don't be jealous, but Suzanne Vega and...." she interrupted "and Kate Bush too?"
" NONONO I like Kate Bush, but SHAWN COLVIN honey. And of course..." I gasped and grabbed my water "KIM GORDON OF SONIC YOUTH".

If Missus G can admit her innocent crushes on Paul Newman and that guy with the lank hair who did the pirate movies, and if Farmer's Wife can dream of Val Kilmer and Cheri can lust after her own iphone...
then I can admit my great appreciation for certain female songwriters. The list here, of course, is merely my top 4 favorites...

Margo Timmins

Suzanne Vega

Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth

Shawn Colvin

yesterday my hot little blueberry muffin said to me

Yesterday my hot little blueberry muffin said to me:

"....I'm just a plaything...."

(added later: OK, I admit it, I dreamt the little dream hamster passed through my dreams and was dancing in little pink rainboots like my wife's and then it was Christmas and I was at a buffet given by a Japanese empress consisting of raw squid and octopus BUT luckily there were a couple of bananas at the end of the buffet.....)

le pots

(pitcher and wild space-age elephant cookie jar by Gary Rith)

scenes from the weekend: including Le sconelets

(scones and bowl by Gary Rith, Penny, Spike and Emily lazing away)
Sheesh, Monday already?
OK, baking le sconelets first. What I like about scones for breakfast is you set them on the table, then you eat them. There is no toasting, no spreading of jam, flipping of eggs, stirring of porridge. Just open the bag and eat. As long as you made them the day before. Scones, of course, are sort of English country biscuits, usually baked full of butter and cream, to which I am allergic. I make a wicked good scone with margerine and soy yogurt (DON'T GAG UNTIL YOU TRY IT, and be glad you are not allergic to dairy!) i doubt if anyone would be able to guess these are not baked with butter etc.
As for the bowl, it is well known I like ridgey pots. I also like squared off pots. How do you make something made round with ridges squared???? test number one turned out well.

Baby its cold outside

From Elf. I love this.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

my man BRETT

It was kinda cool that the Titans were undefeated, BUT IT IS FAR COOLER that the Jets beat them in Tennessee today. Soundly!
The thing about Brett is, I almost met him once. Well, I went to a Bears-Green Bay game in Chicago during his rookie season that is. He is cool. You have to admire him: handsome, not stuck up, lived in and loved Green Bay (who could love Green Bay?) did the Super Bowl thing, nearly did it again last year as an old man (the thing I love about Brett is he is about my age!!!! and still running around!!!!!!!!!), got the cold shoulder from the team he wanted to GO BACK TO (I mean, you would think a smart old guy would want to go to Dallas--warm and close to his hometown!), but he joins the not very good Jets and suddenly.................

Santa shops HERE

(mugs by Gary Rith)
One of these cat/dog mugs and this ultra-cute zebra mug go on sale this morning at my online etsy gallery.


My little chocolate truffle said to me last night:
"Your blog is family friendly for everyone except the people in your family!!!!"

Was she referring to the pictures I take of her in bed while she sleeps? (I cut her out, honest!) or maybe the embarrassing love talk I quote even when she, you know, asks me not to blog them?

Well, too bad, because I am having fun, and she is a funny person. :)

Let's talk slippers. Last summer one of my favorite posts on the old blog asked 'what do your Chuch Taylor sneakers say about you?'. It is a personality thing--although I have black high AND low Chucks, I have two ratty old pairs of white lowtops---and that is me. I am a Chuck Taylor low white tops personailty, denoting, I think, a certain mellow frame of mind. Cheri, of course, blew us all away with her CRYSTAL COVERED black Chucks.

I was thinking about this and noticed my slippers......I have two pairs of custom jobs: the grey mousikins and the red doggy slippers (yes, they are old and well loved, repaired, and YES, I had asked the missus to take ordinary slippers and make one pair into mouse and the other into doggy slippers). The missus has cheetah print (MEoooooW!). Wonder what this says about us??????????

So, it comes down to: what do your fuzzy slippers say about YOU?

8 degrees at 4:51 on a Sunday :)

Sooooo Penny is rolling around cutely, as she does, little kisses and tail wags that means she NEEDS TO GO OUT. Ugh. I need to glaze pots anyway (I try to get glazing done early, so the kiln can be started and finished by bedtime---it is a 12 hour firing) and it is a busy time of year, what with doing some of Santa's work for customers, so I get up before 5 on a Sunday. Put on the parka over the jammies and go out in the snow with the dogs. The snow has that particluar crunchy sound to it, and I am thinking it is quite cold----and the thermometer tells me 8 stinking degrees. Luckily a hot triple espresso awaits (and the beagle climbs back into the bed with an empty bladder and full belly.....)

remember picking blueberries in August?

(berry bowl by Gary Rith)
My pal Susan in Chicago wanted this guy and he is now on her counter full of apples! My other pal Lis of Root and Sprout bought one like it last summer....
With Susan it was funny . She asked for a berry bowl with cherries, having seen my strawberries. THE PROBLEM was that I had just made my first white bowls with blueberries, which I consider a superb new glaze combo. So I told Susan she didn't want cherries, go for the blueberries instead. That sort of defines the creative process--you have to make what you do best and are most inspired to do, even if the customer THINKS she wants cherries.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Love slave

Yesterday evening my little tofu pup said to me:
"I'd be your love slave for chocolate cookies. DON'T BLOG THAT!!!!"

I made no promises....

worn denim

(sugar bowls by Gary Rith)


Spike and Emily. Just took this picture. The missus is sleeping on the other side of the bed....what sloth! Laziness! I mean, sleeping in till 6 on a Saturday????

Canada hates northern NY

I bet it goes back to the war of 1812 or something, which, contrary to MY SCHOOL HISTORY books, Canadians claim to have won. But I thought we fought the British? Canadians apparently have long memories, because they fight dirty: every winter they blow this cr@p across Lake Ontario at us, and we get tons of snow. 1-4 inches last night? Tell that to my beagle who is up to her moist little nose in snow out there.

Friday, November 21, 2008

not to complain or anything, but snow every stinking day through Thanksgiving?

channel 9 tells us:

"Right now we are thinking 2-4” in the lakes snows this afternoon then another 4-8” Friday night.

The cold stays with us, and the winds are forecast to stay pretty northwesterly right into and through the day Saturday, so over parts of CNY, we’re expecting significant accumulations of snow, that will likely exceed 1 foot."

23 big ones

(Gary's TRIPLE chocolate cookies)
The fun, of course, of working at home is sometimes NOT working at home but making chocolate cookies for the missus instead. My triple chocolate cookie recipe has cocoa powder, melted chocolate and chocolate chips in them. Plus a tiny bit of flour and other stuff. Recipe makes 3-4 dozen, which would obviously be itty-bitty little cookies. I made 23 big ones and the house smells great.
have a good weekend all!

le doggie!

(teaset by Gary Rith)