This week’s post features two of my all-time best accounts: The Evergreen Gallery and The Keith Fleming Gallery. The former has been carrying my work for over twenty years and this month I’m the featured artist in their “Mugs in May” show. To live up to this honor, I did a series of cups and saucers in my new “highly labor intensive” style. The themes are crazy, sweet and somewhat geared towards Mother’s Day. You can click on the thumbnails below to see larger images of these pots. Each piece is an original and they are available along with some of my favorites from the Bowie-Pop mug series at The Evergreen Gallery.
About a year ago The Keith Fleming Gallery in Port Clinton, Ohio started carrying my work. Summer is their busy season and we shipped them a ton (almost literally!) of pots last summer. I think it’s safe to say, the people in Port Clinton really like my work. So this year, we came up with a pair of custom designs aimed at the local zeitgeist out there near the Canadian border. Apparently, they have a nuclear power plant and they like to fish, so this joke pretty much wrote itself: “Wally discovers a gigantic man-eating walleye near the Davis-Besse nuke facility. The Port Clinton tourism board is divided as to whether to publicize it or to cover it up”.
In my extensive research of Port Clinton and it’s environs, I learned that there are a lot of colorful characters that live there. On New Year’s Eve, they have a Walleye drop where a giant fiberglass fish is dropped at midnight. Keep in mind this takes place outdoors in December at midnight near the Canadian border! And they have a local character who goes around to public events dressed as “Wylie the Walleye”. I don’t know Wylie’s origin story, but I do get the sense that he’s a rock star in that part of Ohio:
So this colorful fellow is the subject of our other Port Clinton custom design: “Wally and Wylie the Walleye go bar hopping at Put-in-Bay. They meet a pair of wild Canadian geese.” Apparently, Put-in-Bay is a Las Vegas-esque place where “what happens in Put-in-Bay, stays in Put-in-Bay”. Guess again! It’s been commemorated on a porcelain plate that will last forever.
Posted 2 weeks, 3 days ago at 1:29 pm. Add a comment
We’re loading up the kiln this week with lots of pots aimed at the upcoming “appreciation holidays”: Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and the graduation season. Here’s a rundown of our top gift items for these celebrations. I highly recommend visiting the new section on my online store where you can see them all grouped together. Here is a collection of pics of some of the items you can find there:
For Mother’s Day, this set of three nesting bowls is an awesome gift to bestow upon anyone who loves making food. Yes it’s kitchen-y, but they are such a treat to use and display. If you like the look of this set, there are a lot of other great red pots in the Ohata Kaki Red section of our online store. We’ve also got a slew of mugs that are perfect for Mom’s big day. Here are three really good ones: The queen of caffeine, “Holy shit! That’s good coffee!” and “I am carrying Big Foot’s love child”.
We have two excellent teacher mugs that are great for the guiding light in your child’s academic world: “I am your teacher” or “Spacey kindergarten teacher vs. grumpy Republican” could be the perfect item to show your kid’s teacher that you really appreciate the work that they’ve done this year.
For the graduates, we’ve got a couple of great mugs, too: “How many cups of coffee does it take to graduate?” comes in both male and female, and “Wally goes to college to play beer pong” is a custom item. You need to specify the college he or she goes to so we can get the logo on Wally’s sweatshirt, and be sure to allow 3-4 weeks for delivery. We might be able to do it quicker if the kiln schedule allows. SIDEBAR: I will be out of town the second week of May because my youngest daughter, Monica, is graduating from the University of Puget Sound with a BA in History. She’s an amazing kid who took classes throughout Asia last year, met the Dalai Lama and climbed to Everest base camp, among other amazing adventures. A week after graduation she begins the Teach for America program and next fall she’ll be an English teacher in Phoenix, Arizona. Yes, I’m a proud parent!
And last but not least, our very best Father’s Day gift is the classic “Why we like Dad” mug. It says it all! Actually, practically my entire line is great for wacky Father’s Day presents. For a super-deluxe gift, you could consider something from the new Bowie-Pop mug series. What could be a cooler gift for Dad than the “Chairman of the Bored” mug?
Posted 3 weeks, 4 days ago at 7:51 am. Add a comment
Last week’s firing yielded a trio of mugs that were made for the sheer fun if it. I have no idea if these pots will sell, but I really like them. A few weeks ago I was drawing in my sketchbook and I started coming up with some really funny images that needed a “hook” to turn them into full-fledged designs. The aha moment came when I decided to make them a series of pro wrestling style match ups. The first one to evolve is the one most most grounded in reality: “spacey kindergarten teacher vs. grumpy republican”. It is important to note that the grumpy republican character was inspired by a snarky anti-Democrat email cartoon sent to me by my stepbrother. Picture a guy who retired from the defense industry at age 55, lives in a dream house in Maui and he gets his kicks sending dumb political emails to his hard-working, humble income, never-to-retire younger brother. Grrrrr! But it guess I shouldn’t get too grumpy myself because that dumb email inspired a clever cartoon.
“Meth addict vs. giant sand worm” is a lovely match up between a pair of scary monsters. The red lines in the black background are a new scraffito technique that I developed while creating the Bowie-Pop mug series. I’ve always said that if I had never made pottery for a living and I saw something like this in a craft gallery, I would buy it in an instant. I think mugs like this are magical objects!
And further along in the spectrum of weird, we have “Nikola Tesla vs. lobster girl”. This mug was inspired by the book, “Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla”. I just finished it this week. What a fascinating eccentric genius! He developed so many of the scientific marvels of our modern age but he failed to adequately capitalize financially on them. I’m a little annoyed by the fact that the electric car company Tesla Motors ripped off his namesake for their company title. But I suppose it would be somewhat ironic if this company were to go belly-up in the future, wouldn’t it? So if you want to help me capitalize on the genius of these three new designs and help to ensure that my company won’t go belly-up in the future, you can purchase these items and more at my online store.
Posted 1 month, 1 week ago at 5:57 am. Add a comment
Wally’s latest adventure has a good story behind it. My wife and I were out for dinner with friends and one of the women in our group told us she’s always wanted to come up with a Wally cartoon idea so she could get a free mug and the bragging rights for having created another chapter in Wally’s long and illustrious life. For those of you who don’t know, anyone who comes up with the basic design for one of my pots gets a free mug for their efforts. She didn’t have any joke ideas, but she did ask me, “What kind of joke would you come up with for ‘Dancing With The Stars”? Off the top of my head, I came up this Wile E. Coyote joke, so she’s getting a free mug for her instrumental effort as a muse. But if you want this cartoon on a mug, plate or bowl, you’re going to have to buy it with your credit card at my online store.
This new mug design kind of came to me in a flash early one morning. I was trying to come up with a new salsa bowl design (see below) and it wasn’t working out. I had a doodle of this crazy looking guy in my sketch book and when I put the words, “Listen to your higher power!” next to him, the whole idea for the lizard people inside the comet kind of hit me in an instant. It was a real joy to come up with the surrounding imagery, and I think this is one of my smartest designs in a long time. Ten minutes after I came up with this idea, I won the “Much too early for a question question” trivia contest on Bret Saunders’ show on KBCO. The prize? Two tickets to Cirque Du Soleil! It was a good morning, for sure. Thank you, oh higher power of luck and creativity!!!
I threw a dozen of these pedestal bowls over a month ago and two kiln loads went by before I came up with the right concept for them. I knew I wanted the bowl to hold salsa but the “hook” was eluding me. Finally, I thought about how people use my bowls at parties and how parties are a place to get away from all the crap that is bothering you. So when the idea of “Cure-All Salsa” finally came to me, the side jokes on this bowl pretty much invented themselves. My assistant and I brainstormed this concept for about an hour, and the bowl design was finished with ease. This morning I sent out an email pitching these pots to my wholesale accounts and I’ve already sold a dozen of the salsa bowls! We’ll have more out of the kiln on April 1st, so free free to purchase them now at my online store.
Posted 2 months ago at 8:30 pm. Add a comment
Who is going to be the new Pope? Wally, of course! Some of the very first Wally cartoons were Catholic school oriented so it’s only fitting that this epic chapter in Vatican history be commemorated with a new Wally design. I made a point to add holy water to my slip bucket when I threw these pots so they can be considered to be sacred objects. (I think I worded that correctly so as not to get sued by the Catholic church) At any rate, you can snap up some mugs, plates and bowls with this design by jumping over to my online store. Bless you!
Big news! I’ve been putting in massive hours at the decorating table lately creating a whole new series of mugs inspired by David Bowie and Iggy Pop lyrics. I started this project way back in June of 2011, but put it on the back burner because it was so time consuming. Fortunately, my interest in this series resumed with a vengeance this month and I’m proud to say that I now have over thirty of these rock and roll pots out of the kiln and ready to offer to my fans. These will only be available at my Etsy store starting on Tuesday, March 5th. Since they are one of-a-kind items that cannot be duplicated, the Etsy site is the best place to sell them because the item goes away on Etsy once it is sold. To get an early peek at some of these pots, take a look at my Facebook album. And if you want to own one of these amazing works of art, set your alarm early on Tuesday, March 5th to be the first to get your pick of the litter!
Posted 2 months, 2 weeks ago at 10:02 pm. Add a comment
A couple of weeks ago I launched some new custom items: dog bowls and milk bone jars. The response to these has been great! One astute customer in Tempe, AZ realized this would be the perfect item for all of the pet owners on his gift list and the result is the group of milk bone jars you see here. I had a blast reading the brief descriptions of the dogs and then coming up with specific designs to commemorate their lives. Bomble, for example, got a call from the cops because he’s such an avid barker:
And Jonesy and Shiloh spend a lot of their time chewing on the same toy at the same time:
Doesn’t this just make you want to jump over to my online store and order something for all the dogs in your life? If so, you better do it quickly because I have a limited supply of pots ready to decorate and the last kiln load of the year is firing this weekend. The deadline for these orders is Thursday, December 13th. Woof! Woof!
Posted 5 months, 1 week ago at 6:21 am. Add a comment
…Pam Hamilton and her stunning Lance Armstrong/Charlie Brown idea! This is my favorite entry out of well over a dozen submissions to our yearly ornament design contest. One of the secrets to Pam’s success is that she hit us with a Don Rickles-esque slew of topical digs at celebrities and politicians (the worst of the bunch: “Which home for the holidays?” Tom and Katie pulling Suri Cruise apart like a wishbone. Ouch!) So when I drew up the rough draft for the Lance Armstrong design, my wife and I realized we’d like to give some of these to our cycling friends and it was apparent that there just might be a good niche market for this design. We’ll see. If you want to vote with your credit card, zip on over to our online store and grab a few. They are wheel-thrown, hand decorated and sell for a mere $12.50 each.
Here are two more new ornaments for 2012. In case you didn’t know, marijuana will soon be legal in Colorado, so some ornaments commemorating this milestone in the Mile High region seem like a must. Personally, I think it’s kind of sad that the healthiest state in the U.S. is now going to be known for legalizing a drug that addles the mind. But I’m certainly not above making jokes and trying to make a buck off of the situation here in the land of the Rocky Mountain High. “Don’t throw out the Colorado fruitcake this year” and “Rudolph the Red-Eyed Reindeer” are available in limited quantities at our online store.
And last but not least, here are two honorable mentions from the contest. We received a lot of Paula Broadwell/David Patreus jokes and my favorite of the bunch was Michael Doherty’s allegation that Santa Claus is the next shoe to drop in this sordid affair. And it wasn’t beneath Suzanne Davis and Katrina Garcia to go for the “B” joke in their commemoration of one of the most memorable moments in the 2012 U.S. presidential debates. A gracious “Thanks!” to everyone who submitted ideas this year. You people are nuts. We’ll do it again in 2013 because it’s such a fun tradition. Merry Christmas!!!
Posted 5 months, 3 weeks ago at 3:40 pm. Add a comment
Dogs love Christmas: the family spends more time in the living room, unattended food gets left out on the coffee table, and above all, everyone gets presents. This year your dog has an amazing opportunity to receive a gift that says so much more than that generic chew toy purchased at PetSmart at the last minute. I’m talking about a custom made dog bowl and/or milk bone jar with your dog’s name and personal logo painted on it. I just threw some fancy milk bone jars and blank bowls in two sizes (7″ diameter and 5.25″ diameter) and they are ready to be personalized for your mutt. Here’s the design we did for our dear dog, Ivy The Wonderdog:
Pretty cool, huh? I’ll do just about anything you want on these bowls, but please don’t expect me to do a portrait of your dog because dog portraiture isn’t my forte. I made just a few of the milk bone jars and here’s what they look like without the decoration:
Is this the perfect gift for your pup? If so, simply hop on over to our online store and place an order. We are doing a firing every other week so the turnaround time is 2-3 weeks. Oh, and we do make something for cats, too:
Posted 6 months ago at 8:49 pm. Add a comment