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You heard it here first: Mitt Romney just put Wally in the V.P. spot on his campaign ticket! April Fools! Yes, this joke riffs on the now infamous Romney family summer vacation story. In case you haven’t heard it, Mitt put his Irish setter Seamus in a cage on top of his station wagon and drove for twelve hours during which the poor dog got sick and made a mess all over the back window of the car. The Republican presidential candidate has told this story with much glee in the past, but times have changed and now he is getting dogged (I couldn’t resist) by animal rights activists. I’m not dishing dog dirt here, just celebrating a weird little piece of Americana and hoping to sell a few pots. This timely design is available in mugs, plates and bowls in my online store.
And now, from the back end of the dog to the front end. Ouch! So here we have a shameless remake of the “Feed the !#!@*!! cat, already!!” bowl. I’ve been getting orders for this variation of the classic bowl design from galleries over the years and now it’s available to my customers in my online store for $30.00. It’s bigger than the cat bowl, measures seven inches in diameter and holds a little over two cups of food. Bone appetite!
Posted 1 year, 1 month ago. Add a comment
While I love doing topical humor on pottery, it does have its downside: it gets dated. And sometimes topical humor gets dated really really fast. But it’s wonderful to own an old design and wait a long time because after a while that old joke can have a certain quaint charm. Take a look in the wallyware collectables section of this website and you’ll see some great little artifacts of pop culture (e.g. “Wally makes the mistake of using George W. Bush for his lifeline on ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire”). Last month I pulled a number of designs off the shelves in the stock room and put them at a ridiculously low sale price: just ten dollars. The response from my fans was good, so I just pulled some more old items and slow sellers out of my local galleries and we’re having round two of the big ten dollar clearance sale. There’s a $10.00 section in Wally’s Bargain Basement in my online store to make it easy for customers to see all of these sale items in the same place. If you are shopping there, be sure and order only the amount of items we have in stock as I don’t have inventory control on my retail website. I have to take the items off the site after the sale is made.
Here’s a rundown of some of my favorite items that are available as of the date of this posting (03/17/12):
“Cats and dogs and pigs and bears are cute but if you make a composite animal of all of them it’s kind of creepy”
“Tell me about your drugs”
“Wally learns that Tiger Woods holds the world record for the youngest person to sell his soul to the devil” - available in mugs, plates and bowls.
“Wally learns that on Etsy, “hand-drawn on ironic tableware” means a sharpie drawing on an old paper plate – available in mugs and a plate.
“I WAS GOING TO BUY A GUN AND KILL YOU ALL BUT I COULDN’T AFFORD ONE SO I BOUGHT THIS MUG INSTEAD”
“I’M ON A DRUG. IT’S CALLED CHARLIE DONALD TRUMP SHEEN.”
Posted 1 year, 2 months ago. Add a comment
Here’s a joke I came up with ten years ago when “Wally” was a weekly cartoon in the Canyon Courier here in Evergreen, CO. It’s a bit of a soap-box message, but I really like the way it is drawn and the meaning is clear and to the point. I received an email this week from the prestigious Bonkers Institute for Nearly Genuine Research asking if they could have a fresh link to this cartoon as my old website used to feature it. You bet, Dr. Bonkers! So I think I’ll reissue this classic design next month. They will be available on mugs, plates and bowls in my online store the second week in September.
For the past month I’ve been sending out weekly emails with goofy specials for my fans. Some of these items are still available in “Wally’s Bargain Basement” in my online store, and this week I’m giving a FREE CRAZY MUSIC CD to everyone who places an order. But quite possibly the best special of the month expires this Sunday, 08/28/11. If you order any custom item, you can get it without paying the $5.00 – $8.00 customizing fee! Just go to the “Custom Orders” section of this website to get some pointers on how to place an order. It’s pretty simple and a great way to create something really unique. We received a wonderful custom order yesterday from a very talented ten year old who lives in North Carolina. Kaylee sent in this superb drawing of a coffee-crazed pig, to be recreated on a mug:
And last but not least, we rolled out a kiln yesterday with a couple of the “Jesus is coming and he’s bringing the bean dip” chip and dip ensembles. I’ve made these over the years and since the Jesus bowl has been selling better than ever this year (should we be worried?), I figured it would be good to make this item available to all now. The rim of the plate underneath measures twelve inches in diameter and the set looks great piled high with tortilla chips and filled with salsa. What better way to celebrate the end of the world as we know it? The set sells for $110.00 and is available in my online store.
Posted 1 year, 9 months ago. Add a comment
Here’s a new mug handle design that is actually an old mug handle design. I used to make a lot of these “loop mugs” when I first started making pottery for a living back in 1978. It’s got a really comfy grip even though it looks kind of clunky. They are for sale in my online store. This mug handle was a mainstay in my pre-Wally reduction glaze line (1978 – 1984). A really interesting artifact from that era are the “volcano mugs” that my wife Lori and I created back then. Lori’s father grew up in Castle Rock, Washington and his family farm was flooded the day after Mt. St. Helens erupted on May 18, 1980. That year, he gave me some coffee cans filled with ash from this eruption, and the pure ash made an excellent cone ten glaze. Lori did the artwork on the outside of the mugs and we sold them at craft fairs for years. I’m guessing we produced about a hundred of them over a period of three years. Thank goodness I kept one for posterity!
Posted 1 year, 11 months ago. 3 comments
One of the things I like about forcing myself to write this blog every week is the fact that I’m getting some interesting and esoteric stories about my work loaded on to the the web where they will hopefully be archived forever. This will be a real bonus for the folk art historians of the future who decide to research my odd little niche in the crafts universe. Yes, I realize this sounds a bit egotistical, but when you see the photo at the end of this post, you will see why I’m feeling so full of myself today. The topic for this week is “Fan offerings and the fans that offer them: a trip down memory lane with the stuff people have sent me over the years”. Enjoy!
The Tim T-shirt: This came to me from a fan who wanted to make a commemorative shirt for her friend Tim who was going on a trip to Japan. It was always fun for me to wear because people thought it was a typo that it said “Tim” instead of “Tom”.
The Fred Babb original plate: Back in the summer of 1989, we had so many orders that there was a six week waiting list for galleries to receive their pots. Oh, those were the days! One of my best accounts was “What iz Art?” in Cambria, CA. It was owned by Julia and Fred Babb. Fred is an amazing artist and he is one of my true heroes and mentors in the world of crazy, fun and magical self-expression. When I told Fred his order was going to go to the back of the line just like everyone else, he sent me this plate as a bribe. It worked like a charm and I squeezed his pots in the next firing.
The silver Wally pin: A jeweler named Jewel sent me this a few years ago, and I love the way Wally looks in shiny metal. I used to do ceramic Wally pins back in the 1980s, and one of them was worn by Demi Moore in the film, “The Seventh Sign”. Look for it in the chase scene where she is running through a church wearing a beige overcoat. Wally is right there on her collar!
The Wally Tattoo: This pic just came to me last week from a superfan via email…. really! I’m overwhelmingly flattered by it and I’m still kind of in a daze. It isn’t finished yet, as the Wallys need to be colored in and the banner will have a phrase. The words have yet to be decided…. any ideas out there?
P.S. I just got a nice mention today on missmalaprop.com. Check it out!
Posted 4 years, 1 month ago. Add a comment
Every so often I get an email from someone who has searched for me on the web because their treasured Wally mug, plate or bowl has broken and they need a replacement. The most recent request came from Mark in Washington DC and the mug that broke was an old design that I vaguely remembered… something about smoking, nihilism and angst. For some reason I couldn’t recall all the details of this one and a search through my filing cabinet couldn’t produce a photo of the mystery design. Fortunately, Mark sent me a pic of the broken mug and a replacement is forthcoming in this week’s kiln load. But the search for the “lost” Wally adventure got me thinking that I really should get my archival act together. So in the interest of posterity, I’m posting below a whole bunch of ancient Wally adventures. Folk art curators of the future take note… all of these are out there somewhere!
“Wally descending a staircase” (a la Marcel Duchamp)
Wally gets an NEA grant to wrap himself in an American flag and sit in a vat of lemon jello
Here it is! The highly controversial Mapplethorpe portrait of Wally
Wally channels Andy (Warhol) and hits the party circuit
Wally still can’t figure out the lyrics to “LA Woman”
Wally and Axl Rose do a killer cover version of “When I’m Sixty-Four”
Wally goes to a punk rock nightclub
Wally gets front row seats to a Morrisey concert and becomes celibate
Wally gets a B-52 to sing backup on his new album and has his biggest commercial success ever
New age superstar, “Walli” opens at a Yanni concert with his shimmering cover version of “Holiday in Cambodia”
Wally, the world-class charades master, plays a round where he must non-verbally communicate the titles of old Brian Eno songs
Wally convinces the Jerry Garcia band to do an eighteen minute cover version of “The six Finger Jingle” WTF! This is the most ridiculous and esoteric joke I’ve ever done! – Tom
Wally and Mr. Rogers become vampires and do a late-night infomercial
Most dogs simply eat grass…. Wally watches “Thirtysomething”
Agent Cooper notices a curious, distinct pattern in the donut scenes in”Twin Peaks”
Wally goes to Hell and listens to the same Barney tape forever
Wally casts Lorena Bobbitt in the leading role in “Edwina Scissorhands”
Wally stars in the low-budget sci-fi epic, “The Two-Headed Dog from Pluto”
Wally, the bravest dog on Earth, operates a leaf blower at Sean and Madonna’s house at six in the morning
Wally takes The Pope to a rave
Wally attains cult status
A Wally cult member goes crazy
Wally’s friends get worries when he becomes a complete Susan Powter fanatic
Wally humps a watermelon
Wally gets his watermelon a sexy new outfit
Wally gets kinky… menage a trois with watermelon
Wally’s adventures with watermelons create a litter of little wallymelons
Wally lands his total dream job: product durability tester at Aacme Love Dolls, Inc.
Wally goes straight to the tabloids with shocking polaroids of hmself and Bill Clinton
Hillary Rodham Clinton gives Wally the job of enforcing her new health care program
Wally and Tipper Gore star in the environmentally correct remake of “Easy Rider”
Wally and Dan Quayle take the stealth bomber to Vegas
Wally and Dan Quayle fantasize about having a bloodless coup d’etat here in The United States
Wally bumps into Ted Kennedy and Pee Wee Herman at the all-night liquor store, porno shop and dog biscuit emporium
Wally and Al Gore go to a Marky Mark lookalike contest
Wally pulls quite a prank on Japanese Candid Camera
Wally deciphers Al Gores book and finds himself living in an old “Twilight Zone” episode
Wally’s mother reveals that Bob Packwood is Wally’s father
Wally and Godzilla get a great advertising gig for the Mothra Twins
Wally gets Tonya Harding a job advertising “The Club”
Wally’s gay ski shop in Aspen goes broke and he is forced to burn his Barbar Steisand records for warmth
Wally and Mother Teresa blow off World Youth Day and hit the outlet stores in Silverthorne
Wally finds a miracle buffalo pie at the base of the Mother Cabrini Shrine…. is it the divine image of Elvis or Jesus?
Wally gets his very own cold war surplus MX missile
Wally and Joe Camel summon the spirit of Sigmund Freud
Wally gets Rush Limbaugh a date with a feminazi
In a shameless ploy for media attention, Wally agrees to a conjugal visit with Amy Fisher
Wally’s bogus environmental organization raises enough money to sponsor a spotted owl driver in the Indy 500
Nike and The Grateful Dead hire Wally and Ken Kesey to promote their new shoe
Posted 4 years, 2 months ago. Add a comment
I can’t even estimate how many various adventures my imaginary dog Wally has had over the past twenty-five years. The total number is probably close to a thousand, especially if you count all the various custom orders I’ve produced. Wally has been commissioned to motorcycle jump over wedding parties and “wrestle” with Hillary Clinton, just to name a few. Today I’m going to take another trip down memory lane and present you with my top ten favorite Wally cartoons of all time.
WARNING: SOME OF THESE JOKES CONTAIN DRUG REFERENCES AND SEXUAL SITUATIONS THAT MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR YOUNGER AUDIENCES. PARENTAL DISCRETION IS ADVISED…. REALLY!!!!
#10: “Wally finds a way to secure increased funding for NASA”. I really like the simplicity of this one, and it was a good simple political joke for the aftermath of the Iraqi invasion in 2003.
#9: Wally comes home to find his house completely redecorated and Martha Stewart waiting in a bathtub filled with whipped cream”. When I first came up with this idea, I thought it was too racy to sell in stores. Wrong!
#8: “Jerry Garcia wills Wally the marketing rights to his obscure but memorable exercise video”. I did a number of Grateful Dead jokes with Wally in the 80s and 90s, so when Jerry died I was compelled to commemorate his passing. This cartoon was printed in Bill Husted’s column in The Denver Post in 1995.
#7: “Wally is diagnosed with a clinical case of caffeine dependency, thus enabling him to park in the handicapped spaces at Starbucks”. I suppose the fact that this one is our #1 top selling Wally mug helps, but it’s still a really solid joke. I’ve drawn it on pots well over a thousand times!
#6: “A ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ seminar inspires Wally to beat up a masochist”. This joke was inspired by the witticism: “A masochist is someone who is kind to a sadist”.
#5: “Wally makes the mistake of using George W. Bush for his lifeline on ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionare”. We made a ton of these five years ago, and I still really like the hook in this joke.
#4: “As luck would have it, Wally’s trip to Disneyland falls on the same day as The Apocalypse”. I love the premise of this one: the happiest place on Earth on the last day on Earth.
#3: “Wally guest stars in a ‘Love Is’ cartoon”. I never could convince my wholesale accounts to carry this one, but I still think it’s about as funny as it gets. Perverted, but funny!
#2: “Wally buys the ‘Lost in Space’ robot on eBay only to have it nag him about how much time he spends shopping online”. If I could think of one joke as simple and funny as this every day, I could do a syndicated cartoon in the newspapers.
#1: “Wally experiences a blind date so bad, it causes severe psychological damages”. I had a really great guy who worked for me for about a year, and his name was Kyle. One day he told me about a friend of his who took LSD and watched the movie ‘Faces of Death’. Yikes! I just took that story one step further here, and I think it’s wonderfully dark and weird.
Posted 4 years, 4 months ago. Add a comment
One of the realities of being an artist is that you end up getting asked to donate your work to a lot of various charity silent auctions. I generally enjoy supporting worthy causes, but over the years I’ve noticed that there is one downside to this process. Namely, it totally sucks to watch your artwork sell for way less than it’s worth. This was certainly not the case last weekend, when my wife and I attended the “Champagne and Diamonds” event for Sense of Security, an organization that raises funds for the basic needs for women dealing with breast cancer. I had donated a serving bowl with the “Wally goes to a party and realizes that he is the only one who isn’t on anti-depressants and it makes him sad” design, and it was valued at $90.00. To my surprise, there was a lively bidding war and it sold for $175.00. How cool is that? This week I threw some more salad bowls, and they will be in my webstore in about two weeks. So if any of you people out there who missed out on buying the one at “Champagne and Diamonds” happen to be reading this blog, bring your credit card back to my webstore in a couple of weeks.
Undoubtedly the most ambitious item I’ve ever made for one of these auctions is “The Unsinkable Molly Brown Spittoon”, one of the collectable Wallys I featured in last week’s blog. I don’t know what got into me, but I was totally inspired to make a bizarre work of art for this year’s Rocky Mountain PBS auction. I suppose it could have been the lure of seeing my artwork on TV that made me totally knock myself out on this one. And boy was it worth it! I got to see my magnum opus on TV at 3:00 on a Saturday afternoon… woo-hoo! What a thrill. But the problem with this experience was that my assistant and I pissed away well over a day’s labor on it and it only sold for $250. It was valued at $500. I guess the process of putting that much energy into one pot was a good experience, and hopefully it’s the perfect interior decorating accent for whoever snapped it up at the auction. But next year, I’m going to do something way less ambitious for RMPBS… probably a set of coffee mugs or something. I’ve posted the pics of this kick-ass ceramic wonder below for your enjoyment. But please… don’t ask me to make another one of these ambitious monsters for your next charity auction.
Posted 4 years, 6 months ago. Add a comment
Permit me to indulge myself for just a bit here and let us imagine that it’s one hundred years in the future and Wallyware pottery has become a collectable item. For the record, I never tell fans of my work to buy it as an investment, so we are just pretending here. But a century from now these pots would certainly make an entertaining feature on a futuristic version of “Antiques Roadshow”. And it’s not unrealistic to think that the tens of thousands of pots I’ve created in my lifetime could be enough volume to warrant a small collectables market in the next century. Only time will tell. One thing is for sure, the topical humor I’m doing now is going to seem like it’s from another planet to people in the distant future. So let’s dig deep into the Wallyware catalog and unearth some esoteric and already ancient Wally adventures that will be the most collectable of the bunch, due to their extremely limited availability and/or their significance to history:
1) “NAPPY! HE AM GOOD BOY!!!” (1983) True fact: There is only one of these, and it is the very first image of Wally that I ever drew. It was a gift to my friend Liz, to commemorate an experience she had as a medical intern. Don’t be surprised if someday there are imitations of this plate now that its picture is posted on the web.
2) “The First Wally Adventures” (mid-1980s) These are the very early Wally pots that look a lot like they are drawn by a child. The artwork is crude, and the jokes are incredibly simple: “Wally sees God”, “Wally meets visitors from outer space”, “Wally eats visitors from outer space”, etc.
3) “Happy Wedding, Julia and Keifer. Love, Wally” (1991) Inspired by the big celebrity news of the day, this joke was drawn on only a couple dozen plates. (Note the painted-on sale price sticker!) A few years after I created it, one of the galleries that shows my work sold it to a friend of Julia Roberts who allegedly gave it to the academy award winning actress. How fun!
4) “While negotiating a labor contract with Zigfried and Roy, Wally encourages his clients to get tough with management” (1990s) I created this joke for a fine craft store in the MGM Grand at Las Vegas and it sold pretty well for them. It was kind of creepy in 2003 when the news broke about Roy Horn getting attacked by his tigers.
5) “Wally and Up with People sing their way into the Guinness Book of records in a ditch in Waco, Texas” (1993) I made less than a dozen of these just one week before the Branch Davidian compound was burned to the ground by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. We shipped the first ones out to Twist Gallery in Oregon, and they arrived the exact same day as the tragedy. The gallery owner called us and said, “We need to send these back.”
6) The “Wally and OJ” series: 1995 was a real boom time for us with the OJ trial. The Geraldo Rivera joke was the first, and Geraldo himself held up a mug with this cartoon on his TV show. We did a series of spin-off adventures about the trial, and the high point of it all was sending a batch of plates off to the prosecution lawyers for a special order from the DA of Los Angeles, Gil Garcetti. I even got to talk to Gil on the phone one day. It was so weird!
7) The Oregon Bach Festival series (1990s): For a string of about five or six years, my account in Eugene, New Twist, would order commemorative Wally designs for the Oregon Bach Festival. They were a big hit with the musicians at the festival, and the subjects of the jokes were wonderfully esoteric.
The Provincetown gay theme series: In 2004 I received a really huge order for ten different gay themed Wally adventures for my account in Provincetown, MA. That summer we produced a couple hundred pots with Wally as a drag queen, Wally as a giant ape carrying female impersonator Ray Fay to the top of a skyscraper, Wally cuddling with “The Bears” etc. It was quite the left-wing soapbox tour de force!
9) “The Unsinkable Molly Brown Spittoon” (2008) Every year I donate something to Rocky Mountain PBS station and this year I got inspired and created an epic tale to grace a spittoon. It sold for $250.00… cheap! It’s definitely a one of a kind.10) “Wally creates the ultimate political reality TV show: ‘The Perils of Palin” and “Wally defends Sarah Palin’s stand on hunting wolves with helicopters with some folksy backwoods wisdom” (2008) These two adventures celebrate the overwhelming national spotlight on that spunky right-wing Alaskan governor that dropped into our laps a few months ago. I’m hoping that she will go away now, but only time will tell.
If you happen to have any old Wally ceramics out there that might be worthy of this list, feel free to post the titles below. The really odd thing about doing this line of pottery for as long as I have is the fact that there are pots out there that I don’t even remember making. I have shoe boxes full of photos and memorabilia, but I don’t have records of everything I’ve done. It’s going to be an interesting task for folk art historians of the future to nail down all those esoteric designs out there!
Posted 4 years, 6 months ago. 1 comment