Last year I was invited to participate in Nashville’s craziest art festival: the Art and Invention Gallery “Tomato Art Show.” My sales for 2014 were a resounding success (all 18 pieces sold!) so this year we are back at it with a crop of 30 pots that are even better than last year’s batch! Most of what we sent this year are mugs and beer steins, but the showpiece item is the “Tomato Party Platter” seen above. I reused a few of the best design ideas from last year’s crop (Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” with a tomato was too good not to do again), and I managed to come up with great new stuff:
Seen above in this group shot is (left to right), “The heirloom tomato is gonna rise again!”, “Fried Green Tomatoes”, “Mystical Tomato Predicts”, “Dancing Bloody Mary Ingredients”, “Hot Tomato” and “The Screaming Tomato.” I had so much fun making these pots! If you want to see the whole batch, you’ll need to get yourself down to Tennessee this weekend for the opening.
So how about that Donald Trump? With all of his wonderfully bizarre soundbites these days I couldn’t resist doing a mug about him. When I learned that he and Bernie Sanders were both in solid second place in their respective polls, I came up with the idea of creating a couple of mugs for all the delusional and terminally idealistic folk out there who think that either of these cartoonish characters have a chance of being our next president in 2016. So I present to you the “I’m Voting for Trump” and “I’m voting for Bernie” mugs. I suggest you order these for your politically challenged friends and I’ll ship them out in a discreet brown box with no mention whatsoever that you had me send it to them.
And here’s a mug I came up with last month that’s getting a great response from bee fans everywhere. ”I CAN’T STOP THINKING ABOUT BEES” isn’t a joke as much as it’s a sentiment. You can find it in the “New Items for 2015″ section of my online store.
While the real showpiece of last week’s firing was my fan offering to Todd Rundgren, we did get some other great new items in this latest kiln load. Seen here is the latest TMBG design, a vase inspired by the song, “Why Does The Sun Shine?” This original work of art is available in the TMBG section of my Etsy shop for a mere $30.00. This month all of the TMBG mugs and Art Pots are on sale for a whopping 25% off. These items are all one of a kind and will not be duplicated, so now is the time to snag some of the finest work I’ve ever made. Really!
What’s this? A NEW WALLY ADVENTURE?!!! Yup, Wally just bought one of those new toasters that connects to the internet and it’s surely a harbinger of horrible things to come. We’ve got just a few of these in mugs and plates, so hop on over to my online store and grab a few before the robot overlords take over and banish all jokes about evil machines taking over the earth.
Hey! You’ve seen this design on a bowl before, right? We keep getting orders for it on coffee mugs, so now it’s a new mug design. I guess you can’t argue with the sentiment. If you want to drink your morning coffee out of one of these, get on over to my online store.
Full disclosure: I’ve been a serious Todd Rundgren fan since the age of fifteen. I’ve bought just about all of his albums and I make a point to see his gigs every time he comes to town. This week, Todd was teaching an intensive music course at CU Denver and it included a concert on Thursday night and a lecture on Friday afternoon. The concert turned out to be a totally magical evening: great sound, comfy seats in the fourth row for my wife, my sister and I, and a setlist of songs that showcased his brilliant songwriting and singing skills. C U faculty and students backed him up in the first half of the program and their version of the song, “Lost Horizon” was absolutely stunning. Todd’s voice is still phenomenal at age sixty-six and the solo set in the second half of the show was a dream concert, for sure. For a more complete review of this concert, check out my post on the fan website, The TR Connection.
So the morning after the concert I rolled out a kiln load that included my fan offering for Todd. I figured he deserved an honorary PhD and what better way to give it to him than on a coffee mug? The exclamation, “Oh joy! Rapture! I’ve got a brain!” comes from the scarecrow’s response to his acquisition of a “degree in thinkology” from the wizard in The Wizard of Oz:
I had great success two months ago giving a fan mug to King Tuff, and my gift to Todd went pretty well, too. He was appreciative of the artwork and we got a decent pic capturing the moment. Going into these things, you always think you’ll have some amazing connection with the celebrity because of your unique take on the fan gift. But on this day, Todd’s handlers were hurrying him through the fan line and it was more like Wayne’s World than Meeting of the Minds. I gave him his honorary degree, he laughed, we took a few pics and the next dude moved up the line and had him autograph his tattered copy of Something/Anything? But the real bonus souvenir of the day came when my sister offered Todd her sharpie at the beginning of the autograph session, and she got it back later. It now has quasi-religous status hanging in a ziplock bag on the wall of my studio in the “Museum of Picayune Rock Artifacts” Other items in the museum include a Wilco setlist and the leg of a Devo suit worn by an actual member of Devo. Wayne and Garth would be totally stoked with this most excellent memorabilia!
We’ve got three new Wally designs for your perusal! Next week, my pots will be on display in the 18 Hands Gallery booth at the NCECA ceramics conference in Providence, Rhode Island. Potters happen to be the best pot collectors, so I came up with some designs about famous potters. Paul Soldner made phenomenal pots, designed great pottery equipment and had a real flair for advertising. Most of the ads for his ceramic equipment pictured him semi-nude in some ridiculous setting. Out in my studio next to my kiln, I have an autographed poster of him in a speedo. So it’s only natural that “Wally visits Paul Soldner’s hot tub with its legendary brie cheese extruder.” We’ve got mugs and plates with this design in my online store.
Beatrice Wood is one of the most mythic and majestic personalities in the ceramics world. As a young woman, she was a member of the Dadaists and her early life was the inspiration for the book and film, “Jules and Jim.” She discovered clay in her forties and produced work in her studio in Ojai, CA up until her death at age 105. She was also the partial inspiration for the character Rose in the film, “Titanic.” Her most famous quote is, “I owe it all to chocolate and young men.” For mugs and plates with this magical spirit, visit my online store.
And last but not least, here’s our 2015 bad weather commemorative! For all of you folks out there on the East Coast who are still digging out, get yourselves some plates and mugs to remember the magic of wild weather. They are in the “New Items for 2015″ section of my online store.
I’m still going nuts in the decorating department doing these incredibly detailed one of a kind mugs. The ones shown here are from a series I did on large mugs. They have titles like, “Hell Dog”, “Resentment”, “St. Valium” and “Brian Wilson” and are for sale for just $40.00 each in the Original Art Mugs section of my Etsy store. They took over two hours each to paint and the surfaces really show it!
Today marks the official debut of my 2015 New Year’s resolution. Each week for the entire year, I’m going to release a mind-blowing one of a kind mug inspired by a They Might Be Giants song. Why am I doing this? It’s a great way to jump start my creativity and turn out some really interesting pots. My intention isn’t to recreate the songs as much as use the lyrics as take-off points for crazy designs. The mug above comes from the song. “Kitten Intro.” All I can say about it is that I love the words, “easy-listening Nazi rock band.” You can purchase these items at my Etsy store. Pleaswe note that if you don’t see the one you like there, it means that we already sold it to some lucky collector. These mugs will be released at approximately 8:00 a.m. each Monday so stay tuned for lots of wild designs in the upcoming year. The five mugs in this post are available NOW!
So I made this coffee mug for my rock hero, King Tuff and I gave it to him after the show last night. He liked it, he really liked it! This mug is a riff on his song about how he’ll always be a freak so just bury him with his boots on and his legs poking out of the ground. I used his song, Keep on Movin’ in last year’s time lapse kiln unloading video. Thanks for all the great music, Mr. Tuff!
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:
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!