We rolled out the first firing of the year yesterday and I’ve got some great new items for sale. My New Year’s resolution is to make lots of ambitious one-of-a-kind art pots and there were over two dozen of these in the latest kiln load. The two themes I’ve been working on this month are: 1) Valentine’s Day and 2) They Might Be Giants songs. I’ll save the TMBG mugs for a later post, because I’ve got a slew if crazy love mugs for your perusal and V-Day is right around the corner. Most of these pieces are extremely limited in quantity so if you see something you like here, jump on over to the Valentine’s Day section of my online store ASAP. If we’ve still got them in stock, you’ll find them there. These pieces are insanely labor intensive, so I probably won’t be making more of them. I’ve got some even wilder ideas for the next firing!
We’ve done literally hundreds of custom orders over the past twenty years here at Wallyworld, and I’ve developed an odd ritual for getting these orders completed during the holiday season. What I do is tell all the customers that their orders will be shipped out the first week in December, put all the custom orders on a clipboard and wait until the day before the day we load the second to last firing of the year. Then I get out the custom orders and do them one by one until they are finished. It’s kind of like taking a test, so I start with the easiest ones and work my way up to the most difficult designs. As you can see, this year we had a great crop of weird designs. By far the most ambitious was the chip and dip bowl/platter ensemble seen above. It was a gift for a guy who is missing four fingers on his left hand, hence the “finger foods” joke. It is important to note that I don’t come up with these ideas, I’m just doing what my customers want me to draw for them. Here is a nice little sampling of some of the stuff we shipped out last month.
“Wally loves Matthew’s denim creations”:
“Wally goes to tomatomania with Stephen”:
And here’s one that was a real challenge. I had to recreate a child’s drawing that was made twenty years ago:
The very last two mugs I decorated this year were Christmas gifts for my daughters, Robin and Monica. Robin moved to Seattle last June so I commemorated her year with a cartoon based on the Robyn Hitchcock song, “Viva Sea Tac”:
And while Monica is one of the toughest people I know (she teaches middle schoolers in a low income school and has hiked to Everest Base Camp while deathly ill, among other things) she is afraid of moths, garbage disposals and opening Pillsbury crescent roll tubes:
My shoulder is almost back to normal now, but the experience of breaking an arm has made me appreciate my profession even more and I’m inspired to do some of my most ambitious work ever in the coming year. To jump start my creativity, I’m doing a new series of 52 one of a kind mugs each inspired by a different They Might Be Giants song. These mugs will be debuted on Etsy every Monday in 2015 starting in two weeks. I’ll have over a dozen of them coming out of the kiln next week, so look for some great pics coming to this blog in the near future. Here’s a sneak peek of them waiting to be dipped in clear glaze:
Posted 1 week, 1 day ago at 6:28 pm. Add a comment
Hooray! The last firing of the year is roaring away today and I’m finishing off the toughest holiday season ever here at Wallyworld. It’s crazy to think that just three months ago I was waylaid by a broken arm and major surgery on my right shoulder. Since then I’ve managed to throw over a thousand pots and my business is basically back to normal. I’ve still got a lot of physical therapy and rehab to do before my arm gets back to where it was before the accident, but all things considered I’m doing really well.
That said, you should really do some last-minute gift shopping over at my online store! When the kiln rolls out on Tuesday morning, we’ll have an excellent selection of a lot of our top-selling items. Since I can’t guarantee that everything in my online store is in stock, it might be prudent for you to email me about the availability of specific items. Generally speaking, the items at the front of each department are the pots we currently have in stock and ready to ship (maybe!). Here’s a list of some great pots that are still available as of right now:
The deluxe cat bowl series was a big hit this year and we’ve got over a dozen of them in the kiln. There are four designs: psycho killer, bad cat, happy cat and wild cat. They sell for just $29.00 each in my online store.
There’s a great selection of couple dozen Wally mug designs coming out of the kiln on Tuesday, so take a look at this section of my online store if you are looking to give fun mugs as gifts this year. Seen above: “Wally is diagnosed with a clinical case of caffeine dependency thus enabling him to park in the handicapped spaces at Starbucks”, “Wally wanders into Jackson Pollock’s studio” and “Wally goes gluten-free. It gives him a host of super powers which can all be crippled by a single chocolate chip cookie.”
Funny bowls are always a great gift and we’ve got the majority of our top sellers in stock right now. Seen above: “Holy Guacamole”, “Now it is time to tell you, there was LSD in the dip.” and “The pass it on party bowl”. Some of our funny bowls are in short supply now, and by Tuesday afternoon we’ll definitely be out of the “Jesus is coming” bowls.
Also in excellent supply in this week’s firing are a lot of our best-selling funny mugs. Seen here: “My cat is a psycho killer”, “Every Day is Saturday (retirement)”, and the world’s favorite Tom Edwards mug ever, “Holy Shit! That’s good coffee!” Check ‘em out!
Wally’s Bargain Basement is chock full of amazing items that are either discontinued or slightly flawed. The “Wally discovers the true meaning of life” beer stein at the top of this page is slightly warped and on sale for just $16.00. And I can’t believe we still have the “Meth addict vs. giant sand worm” ($14.00) mug still in stock. While its sales were surely lacking, I still think it’s one of the finest mug designs I’ve ever produced. Also for sale in extremely limited quantities: the “Wally humps a watermelon” plate ($12.00) and other designs from the classic sexy watermelon series. We’ve got some really good slightly flawed items in stock right now, like the “Wally eats salsa and has a religious experience” bowl ($10.00).
-FREE SHIPPING on all orders over $100.00.
-We’ll send you an email order confirmation when we receive your order. UPS tracking numbers available upon request.
-No-frills holiday gift wrapping is available for just seventy five cents! Just click this option at check out, put the recipient’s name and address in the “Ship To” field and type a nice note to the gift recipient in the “Comments” section. We’ll do the rest!!!!
Last but not least, here’s a shot of thirty-six “Electric cars are good for the environment because electricity comes from magic” mugs that are going to a corporate client. I was really happy to get this order and I think it’s a darn good economic indicator. We had a good year!
Posted 1 month, 2 weeks ago at 1:30 pm. Add a comment
I’ve been really diligent the past few years making these one of a kind art mugs, and they’ve been selling pretty well in the deluxe funny mugs section of my online store as well as in the handful of galleries that carry them. At $35 to $50 a pop, I’m not getting rich making these pieces. The one above took over two hours to decorate with another hour of clay work, etc. But I love the process of creating them and I get a thrill every time someone buys one because it’s my ART as opposed to my LINE OF POTTERY. We just sent a great selection of these pieces to Show Of Hands in Cherry Creek, CO. They have been doing an excellent job selling my art mugs this year, so this week I decided to set them up with a great selection of these pots for the holiday season. And now that my art mug supply in the studio is low, I’m inspired to make some more!
Posted 2 months ago at 9:59 pm. Add a comment
My blog post from five weeks ago featuring an x-ray of my broken arm is pretty sad, but the good news now is that I’m recovering well and I managed to throw about 350 pieces in the past few weeks. Yes Virginia, there will be a Christmas season in Wallyworld! Throwing pots with a recovering broken arm isn’t easy, but the good part of it is that I can finally say that I’ve suffered for my art. I suppose I could have just taken a couple months off and bailed on the holiday season (my busiest time of year by far, ugh!). But I really like my job and I don’t want to let my fans and galleries down this year. Look for lots of pots out of the kiln and ready to ship on November 11th. Feel free to order as much stuff as you can everybody, because we’re back in business!
Here’s a true collector’s item that came out of our last firing. I only made one of them so when it’s gone, it’s gone. If it hasn’t sold yet, you can find it at the top of the page in the “Deluxe Funnymugs” section of my online store.
And here’s a shot of all the over 300 pieces I threw over the past two weeks:
Posted 3 months ago at 10:44 am. Add a comment
Unfortunately, that headline is not a joke. Last weekend I tripped on a poorly designed speed bump in a cross walk and I managed to fracture my humorous bone in four places. On Thursday I had two hours of surgery to install a titanium plate and screws. It looks like I’ll be laid up for a few months. Fortunately, I have full use of my hands, but throwing pots is out of the question for a while now. We’re going to limp through a glaze firing in the next couple of weeks, and then I’ll just have to see how out goes with wheel work in the following months. I’ll post something here when I’m able to throw again. Below is the scene of the crime. I swear, those bumps should be painted yellow instead of white:
Here’s a new design that came out of last week’s firing: “I forgot to tell you… This dip was infused with pot.” It’s a variation on our wildly popular “LSD in the dip” bowl and it sells for $34.00 in our online store. Also new this week is our new mug for teachers: “This school would be a great place if it weren’t for all the !#@**!!! students!!” It sells for $28.00 and we have a limited supply of them. You can click on the pics below to see close-ups of the design work.
Posted 4 months, 2 weeks ago at 5:28 pm. Add a comment
YIKES! How could we have known that all the pot smoke floating around Colorado would mix with all the fracking fumes and wake up Ganjamora, the giant monster that old time prospectors used to howl about around the campfire back in the 1800s. Man, if there was one industry I would credit for inspiring this design, it would have to be the ad companies that are currently flooding our Colorado airwaves with commercials designed to assure us that fracking is good and wonderful for all of us. If they have to spend so much goddamn money convincing us it’s perfectly safe, I’ll bet it isn’t. But enough of my soapbox, you can buy this little soapbox of a joke on mugs, plates and bowls in my online store!
We had so much fun making last month’s tomato art pots, I created a few more pieces that are variations on the themes explored in this series. These mugs are one-of-a-kind items and can be found in the deluxe funny mug section of my online store. If you don’t see them there, it means they have already been sold. My favorite is “DOGANETICS”, based on the all-time best selling book by L. Dog Hubbard:
Posted 5 months, 1 week ago at 8:01 am. Add a comment
A few months ago I got a call from Meg, the owner of Art and Inspiration Gallery in Nashville, TN. She invited me to make some one of a kind tomato art pots for the Tomato Art Festival they have there every year the second weekend in August. It’s a really big event, the largest of its kind in the United States with a parade, an art festival, a tomato beauty contest, a cooking contest, a tomato queen, a tomato haiku contest, and zillions of other weird facets of tomatoalia. So I used this project as a prompt for creativity and last week we had some really good times in the Wallyware design think tank. I wish I had allocated more time for this project, because it turns out there are an unlimited amount of crazy design ideas you can come up with when you get rolling on the subject of tomatoes. You can see all nineteen of the pots I came up with in my Facebook album, “The Nashville Tomato Series”. Here are a few of my favorite pieces that came out of the kiln this morning:
“Tomatonetics” is a riff on the cover of L. Ron Hubbard’s book, “Dianetics.” No, I’m not going to post a link to the Church of Scientology. I’m paranoid enough about posting this picture on my blog.
“Are we not men? We are tomatoes!” pretty much drew itself. I love H.G. Wells and Devo.
I made four of these “tomato pedestals” as a place to put your prized tomato. This one has brainwashed devotees around the base saying, “I sold my house and car for The Great Tomato.” And, “He’s going to make me a movie star!” And finally, “I’m carrying The Great Tomato’s baby!” Remember, I only made one of each of these items….
Ritual sacrifice, anyone? Yup, this one is all about the dark ritual of murdering a tomato.
“Tomatozilla” was the very first thing I drew for this series. Like I said, we really only scratched the surface on the potential for tomato art. So if these items sell well at this year’s show, I’m in for making more next year because it’s just too much fun to create stuff like this. Here’s how I decorated one of the packing boxes we shipped the pots out in today:
P.S. Good news! All nineteen of these pieces sold at the show. I think that means we’ll do some more for them next year. Yay!
Posted 6 months ago at 7:52 pm. Add a comment
This picture has a great story. Way back in 1991, we lived in Los Angeles and my daughters, Robin and Monica were two years old and six months. It was December, we were shipping pots like mad for the holidays and I came up with a really fun art project for Robin and I to do. We laid out a couple dozen blank shipping boxes, broke out the poster paints and glitter and went to town on the blank boxes. The next day we had an “art opening” in the driveway and we took some pics. I remember we wore the sunglasses because we were “way-cool artists.” All those boxes got shipped out during the following weeks and a lot of that glitter ended up all over the bottom of the UPS truck. I have a vivid memory of the poor UPS guy carrying out the boxes and his extremely hairy arms were covered with glitter. Good times!
So I found this photo as I was frantically digging through our entropy-impaired family photo collection because Robin had called an hour earlier. She needed a pic for the lead-in shot for her interview with me and she had to make a deadline. Finding this image was a godsend and it brought back some wonderful memories. You gotta read this interview! I can’t rave enough about what a great job Robin did on it. We chatted about how I became a potter, Wally’s connection with the O.J. Simpson trial and our shared memory of the time I won a year’s supply of ice cream in an ice cream bowl show. I was so touched by her words and it was truly the nicest Fathers’ Day gift I’ve ever received. You can read the interview here. I had a great day yesterday even though both Robin and Monica were out of cell phone range and I didn’t get to talk to them. Monica was hiking on a glacier in Iceland after completing her first year of teaching 7th and 8th graders, and Robin was at a girls’ rock band retreat somewhere in the woods near Seattle. When your kids are happy, you are happy.
Posted 7 months, 2 weeks ago at 8:19 pm. Add a comment
Designing my new astrology mug series turned out to be a lot more work that I thought it would be, but I managed to learn lot in the process. The “Mercury is in retrograde!” design has been selling really well, so it seemed like a natural thing to delve deeper into the cosmic gift market. I thought it would be simple enough to come up with a new design each month as the astrological signs rolled around, but when I got a wholesale order for three of each design, I was forced to speed up the original production schedule. Last week I found myself spending a massive amount of time pouring over the descriptions of each zodiac sign and trying to come up with a solid take on each of the remaining six star signs.
The design process is pretty simple: first, you do a funny drawing of the zodiac sign for the front of the mug, then you find a famous person to exemplify that sign, and finally you have to cram in some random ideas about that sign to complete the basic thesis of “this is what these people are like.” My favorite part of the process was searching for celebrities that fit the sign. Sagittarius people are born entertainers? How about Bette Midler?! Capricorns are good at following complex plans? Let’s do Buzz Aldrin! Coming up with these cartoon caricatures is one of the simple joys of being an artist. I really had fun with it (see Alice Cooper, above). But being the arbitrator of describing what somebody’s personality is like based on the day they were born was a taxing burden for me. Why? Because I don’t believe in astrology.
The thing I learned about this widely held belief system is that the verbiage used in the zodiac sign descriptions are like the ingredients used in Italian food. You start to hear the same words over and over like, “sensitive”, “passionate”, “independent”, “dependable”, etc. This is the same way you find a repetition of pasta, cheese, tomato sauce and basil in Italian cuisine. They are all more similar than they are different and we tend to gravitate towards an astrological personality trait description when it fits us. I found myself falling for the whole, “Wow! That’s just like me (or her or him)” feeling when an astrological keyword rang true for myself or someone I know. I am totally like a Libra, except for the Libra qualities that don’t fit me. I know, that’s a really Libra thing for me to say, right?
At any rate, this was a fun project to take on and I hope they end up selling well. I think this is the kind of stuff that I do best because they are warm, wacky and personal. I tried to put a “warning” joke in the spot where a right-handed person looks when they are using the mug. My favorite of these was Sagittarius where “loves adventure” is depicted by a guy skydiving into a shark’s waiting mouth. Like I said, creating these designs was a really fun project. These are for sale right now and forever in my online store and quantities are limited, of course. You can click on the thumbnail pics below to get a larger image of the designs.