I was driving through Denver today to deliver groceries to my mom and I realized that somewhere in a parallel universe I’m at NCECA in Richmond having a great time. (See my previous post for more info on this) This is such an odd reality we are living in, isn’t it? Complaining aside, I’m trying to make the most of things and last week I came up with a really successful decal design for today’s times. Seen above is my pick of the litter. These social distancing mugs sold really well in my online store yesterday, and I’ll be doing another batch of them next week. Look for a bunch more coming to my online store on Friday, April 3rd. I’m so lucky to have my family and my pots to keep me sane right now.
Another fun little project to keep me from running around the house with a hatchet in my hands is my new “Bling it up” series. I’ve got some great pots that never sold sitting around the studio, so I’m breaking out the gold luster and decals to gussy them up. The story behind this “Greed” mug is pretty cool. Robin’s boyfriend from her teenage years was a struggling cartoonist named Noah Van Sciver. He had yet to publish his first book but he was wonderfully dedicated to his craft. When the economy went to hell in 2009 he came over to the studio and we made some pots together. Some sold and some didn’t and here we are eleven years later and the economy is going to hell again. But get this: Noah is now a freaking rock star in the cartooning world! He’s had dozens of books published! One of them (“Disquiet” a collection of early works) has a forward written by Robin Edwards! Oh, and Noah won the prestigious Ignatz Award! So, yeah, that little mug up there is a real deal and you should buy it (here) so I can embellish more of his old pots because they look really good in gold. Noah gets half the amount of the sale, by the way. Support the arts!
And here’s another little lost soul turned into a gorgeous work of art through the magic of gold luster and gold decals. I love the way the cheeks sparkle! You can have it now if you just jump on over to my store!
The coronavirus pandemic is throwing a monkey wrench into lives all over the world and mine is no exception. I was slated to give a lecture at the NCECA 2020 Ceramics Convention in Richmond, VA next week, but the conference was wisely cancelled. Hopefully, I’ll be able to present my lecture next year in Cincinnati, OH. I see myself as fortunate to have a backup plan for this milestone in my career. For those of you who aren’t part of the clay world, NCECA is like Disneyland for ceramic artists. It features lectures, demos, equipment and product booths, as well as a huge number of gallery shows. The Gandee Gallery was going to carry my work in the convention hall and I was excited to be selling my mugs there. They just put up a lovely online show and have an amazing selection of work for sale. I encourage you all to visit it here.
The title of my NCECA 2020 lecture is “Copyright 101 for Ceramic Decal Printers”. It’s a two-parter with the first half being my epic copyright battle with Tesla Motors and the second half being dos and don’ts for reproducing other people’s images on your ceramics. I’ll post a few pics from my slideshow below, and hopefully I’ll be presenting it a year from now.
Oh, and if you happen to want a nice little souvenir of my Tesla unicorn story, go to my online store where you can buy one of the famous electric car mugs. I’ve got over fifty of them in stock right now as I was planning on selling them at NCECA. I really appreciate the business!
Tom Edwards works out of his home-studio in Evergreen, CO. He’s been a full-time studio potter since receiving a BA in Art History from UC Santa Barbara in 1978. He considers it a miracle that he is known for his drawing.
Check it out! We coaxed Wally out of retirement to make a statement about Trump rallies. We’re still producing a lot of the classic Wally pots these days, but for some reason I’ve been at a loss to come up with many new Wally designs the past couple of years. Maybe this year will bring a renaissance for my imaginary dog-pal. We’ll see! This new design is available in mugs, plates and bowls in my online store.
With Valentine’s Day coming up, I made a few new love-themed mugs. Jump on over to the funny mugs section of my online store for titles like “HOT MESS”, “Find a woman who looks at you the way she looks at her cell phone” and the companion piece seen here.
I love this time of year because my work is in high demand. My customers are a really fun group of people and it was so great to have them over this weekend for the kick-off day of my month-long studio sale. For the next four weeks, I’ll have my studio stock room open to the public for shopping. It’s a great little gallery setting with a wonderful selection of pots available right now. For those of you not in Colorado, you may also purchase the items in my online store. Featured above is a porcelain cookie jar that you can find in the Unique Art Pots section of my store. Here’s an overview of all the pieces I have for sale right now.
Every year I come up with a Christmas ornament that sums up the year and 2019’s design is an instant classic. We made 25 of these for the first run and they are all sold and out the door. But fear not! I’ve got another firing coming out on December 7th, so you can order as many as you like and we will ship them out on Monday, December 9th. Jump on over to the “Christmas Ornaments” section of my store to see all the designs we have available.
And speaking of political pots, I am now doing all of my wonderfully infamous anti-Trump designs again and they are selling really really well. Seen here is our most popular design, “Am I the only person who thinks about killing Donald Trump?!!” To see all the anti-Trump pots in a grouping, check out the “Dump Trump” section of my online store.
I’m thinning out the herd of my decal pots, so there are some really great deals on the initial decal pots I’ve made. These are wonderfully original and inventive one of a kind pieces and they are a real deal in the $10 – $25 range. Get them before they are gone in the “Discount Decal Pots” section of my online store.
Another really hot item right now are the astrology mugs. Each one is lavishly decorated and captures the spirit of the individual astrological sign. Please order these soon as we are most likely going to run out of them before Christmas! You can find them here.
I’ve got so many other great items available in my online store: cat bowls, Wallyware, funny mugs, farting unicorn pots, deluxe decal pots, and more. If you are looking for unique gift items, take some time to peruse my store and explore my work. To check the availability of a specific design, feel free to send your inquiries via email or phone during regular business hours, MST. If we have it in stock, we will ship within 24 hours of receiving the order. Happy holidays!
My journey into the world of ceramic decals continues! This week’s decal firing yielded more strange fruits of the Melania Trump variety. What inspires me to make this stuff? I don’t know, really. I just get a fun idea and pursue it, I guess. We will all look back on this stage of my artistic development and laugh about it one day, I hope. I’m not in a talkative mood right now so I’ll just let the pots speak for themselves. These are all available in my online store, of course.
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Last year’s resolution to get a settlement from Tesla Motors was a real challenge with a lot of highs and lows along the way. So many times I thought that I was wasting my time and money on a stupid pipe dream. In the end it was a magical success, and I’m so glad I went all in on that wild dream project. Strangely enough, this year’s resolution to develop a new line of work using the decal printer is a bit similar. The highs: it’s so much fun experimenting with a new design process and I’m so happy when I create something unique and amazing. I love putting photographic images on pots and I really want this work to succeed. The lows: technical problems (now solved), creative struggles (ongoing), and slow production and sales (last year is a tough act to follow). The healthiest way for me to look at this is to see it as a sabbatical from the business of making pottery.
My most recent firing bore some really good fruit for potential sales. President Trump’s “go back from where you came from” tirade inspired my idea to co-opt the First Lady’s “BE BEST” campaign to fight online bullying. I’m not the first to point out the irony of this but I’m probably the first to put it on mugs with pictures of her in a bikini holding a gun.
This one sold right off, and there will be more out of the kiln in about a month. Fun Fact: Melania designed that logo herself, and Christian, my art & tech wizard created a font (“We Best”) and we can now type on the computer with Melania’s handwriting. Should I blow $55 on a copyright for this font? I might just do that in case that Slovenian witch decides to sic her army or lawyers on me. To see and purchase the very first rough draft pots from this series, check out the “Be Best” section of my online store.
My other big win for this month is the news that my lecture proposal for the NCECA 2020 conference was accepted. The topic is “Copyright 101 for Ceramic Decal Printers”, and I’ve posted my 300 word proposal below. I’m so thrilled! This pretty much handcuffs me to making decal pots now, doesn’t it? Gosh, I had such a great time at NCECA 2019 this year. By odd coincidence, while I was there I was interviewed by Paul Blais of “The Potter’s Cast” podcast, and you can listen to it here. It’s such a sweet little interview because, honest to god, I sound like a ten year old talking about his trip to Disneyland. If you are a potter or a good friend of mine, you really must hear this one to get a big laugh. Oh, and and if you haven’t heard it, be sure and catch my “The potter who took on Tesla and won” interview as it’s a lovely overview of my career and my epic copyright battle with Elon Musk.
“Take a few of these, the sweeter memories” – Todd Rundgren
Copyright 101 for Ceramic Decal Printers
My interest in copyright law developed in 2017 when Tesla Motors copied my “farting unicorn” graphic and downloaded it into the operating systems of its automobiles. Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, had tweeted an image of my coffee mug with this design before it was placed in the cars, making it a textbook case of copyright infringement. With the help of a lawyer and a daughter who debated the copyright issue with Mr. Musk via Twitter, we received significant media attention in June 2018. A month later, Tesla Motors paid out a reasonable settlement. Now I’m on the other side of the issue as I worry about stealing other people’s art.
Anyone who uses a ceramic decal printer should be aware of the various degrees of copyright infringement. The problem is that it’s just too easy to grab images from the internet and place them in your work. While the ceramics community is generally very open with its intellectual property (glaze recipes, etc.), the worlds of photography and graphic art are not.
The story of Shepard Fairey’s iconic “Hope” image of Barack Obama epitomizes this issue. In 2010, a federal court determined that the AP photographer who took the original photograph for this poster had his copyright infringed upon by Mr. Fairey. What can we in ceramics learn from this?
This talk will give an overview of copyright law and fair use from a potter’s perspective as it pertains to ceramic decals. I will cover the basic dos and don’ts of using other people’s images in your work. There are many variables and a lot of gray area as to what you can and cannot do depending on how you use the images and the nature of your artwork. Members of the audience will be encouraged to share their experiences.
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There’s a new breeze blowing o’er the land! Folks out here in the mile high state are thrilled to the gills with the prospect of an honest, down to earth Colorado good guy capturing the White House in November of 2020. I’m throwing my clay-covered hat into the ring to support this man’s bid for the presidency with a new series of pots: “Hick for President in 2020!” Why do I like John Hickenlooper? This sixteen ounce beer glass tells the story.
But wait! There’s more. We’ve got six different Hickenlooper 2020 items in a new section of my online store entitled, “The Hick Shop”. Check it out! Proceeds from the sale of these items go towards buying more gold luster and full-color bee decals.
My decal pots keep getting better and better. This new black glaze is perfect for the gold decals and I’m starting to get some nicely realized work out. And it’s selling, too! I sold some mugs at the opening of the “Cloth and Clay” show, as well as through a recent email campaign to my customers. It’s really encouraging, but sales are a still far cry from those of my cartoon line so I’m not predicting the death of Wally just yet. I made multiples of these designs, so most of them are still available in my online store.
Fans of the rock band Def Leppard will appreciate this stunning celadon sugar jar that is a tribute to the band. I made it specially for Blue Line Arts‘ “Rock Show” that is a collection of various rock and roll themed artwork. I also used it in my “Copyright 101 for decal printers” lecture proposal for next years NCECA conference because it shows the gray area between copyright infringement and acceptable use for satirical purposes. There is a second jar like this one for sale in my online store, so jump on over to see if it’s still available.
Here’s a mug that shows the potential for all the new tools and technologies I’m working with. It uses a new extruder dye on the handle, texture tools in the clay, and both gold and black decals on the surface. I’ve got just two of these in stock now, and they sell in the $45 – $55 range.
For years I’ve talked about how I should make a platter that compares my job of filling kilns and emptying them to the Greek myth where the guy is stuck in hell pushing a rock up a hill only to watch it fall back again. This is such an apt metaphor for so many of the things we do in life: mowing the lawn and doing laundry to name a few. It’s also the basic plot line for every single Road Runner cartoon, right? The impetus for making this platter is the upcoming Mountain Area Potters Gang show, “Cloth and Clay: Textural Explorations”. We were encouraged to incorporate texture into our work and the celadon rim of this platter fills that bill. It was so satisfying to see this platter come together with out any technical problems. I nailed it on on first take! The show opens on Friday, May 10 with a reception from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Center for the Arts Evergreen. Come see it!
I’ve taken the past few months to slow down on producing pots, develop new work and improve every step of my process. Probably the most satisfying change was turning my cluttered stock room into a state of the art photo studio. Christian, my assistant, was instrumental in designing this studio and the results are wonderful, as you can see by the photos in this blog. The “King Tesla” mug here was the first test of new gold luster decals that I’m incorporating into my decal line. It’s exciting to have a new palette of imagery and I’ve got some great new work coming out the second week in May. To see a great selection of my latest decal work for sale, check out the “Photo Decal Pots” section of my online store. A lot of these pieces are one of a kind experiments in the $15 – $30 price range. Check ’em out!
I spent the past week working on a bold new project: a proposal for a two story tall tall mural to be painted under the intersection of the Santa Monica Freeway and the San Diego Freeway in Los Angeles (seen above). Arts Bridging the Gap, a nonprofit group that works with at risk youth, asked me to do this way back in July, the same week I received my settlement from Tesla Motors. I said “Yes” and worked on it halfheartedly in the fall, but I really didn’t make much headway until I took time off from making pots last week to work on it full time on it and get it done. While I feel a bit bad for procrastinating this project for so long, I now know why I had to wait until the slow season to do this. Designing a mural takes a lot of time and effort! My assistant, Christian Hawkins, spent a full three days doing the mockups you see below. This man is a true photoshop wizard and he gets full collaboration credits for coming up with some great ideas for this artwork.
I’m so excited about this project now! I call it, “Make Your Dream Come True.” The overall concept for the work is to turn a quiet little spot on Sepulveda Boulevard into a magical space that celebrates people who turn their dreams into realities. The textured wall on the bottom seven feet was a real obstacle, but I solved the problem by making it a brain with eyes. The door in the middle was a bonus and I love the way it looks like a door to the third eye. The car-dream-people are based on 1) some of my cartoon characters, 2) drawings submitted by middle school kids and 3) people in my life who have turned their dreams into realities. The bodysurfer on the north wall is my childhood friend, Mike Cunningham who won six world bodysurfing titles in the 1970s and 80s. The “carmonica” man is my uncle Tommy Morgan, a member of “The Wrecking Crew” and the top studio harmonica player in the world for over four decades. The guitar-girl with a crown on her head is of course, singer-songwriter-twitter warrior: Lisa Prank, a.k.a. Robin Edwards.
We were originally told that we had the space under the freeway, but when I viewed the site on Google Earth, I realized that it needed to spill out into the outer walls of the offramp so drivers would get a glimpse of it as they approached it. Once this design gets Cal Trans approval (which could take up to a year!), the mural will be painted by a team of kids and cops over the space of a weekend. As I was coming up for the ideas for this artwork, it took me back to my days living in this neighborhood. In 1987 Lori and I bought our first house just four miles from the site, and both of our kids were born in Los Angeles. I can hardly wait to get this mural painted!
And get this! This isn’t the only public art project that I’ve worked on recently. Last December I was contacted by an outfit known as The Aeternity Drone Graffiti Project. They asked me if I would like to have my artwork spray painted by drones on buildings in Mexico City and I said, “Yes!” What artist wouldn’t want to have flying robots painting their art for them?!!” So I submitted the graphic seen below and I did a couple of interviews via Skype for international news outlets. On February 10th they did the first tests of this bold new technology and the results were interesting. Next up they will be painting a fifteen story building sometime in April in Mexico City, and I might get the opportunity to go there and see it happen. To see a short video of one of the tests, click this link.
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