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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. Add a comment
We’re having a really good summer here in the sales department at Wallyworld. One reason is a series of large orders from the Keith Fleming Gallery in Port Clinton, Ohio. Over the past few months we’ve shipped them hundreds upon hundreds of pots and they are now my top-selling gallery for 2012. It’s great to have such an amazing new account! The other reason my sales are up right now is that the buying mood overall is a lot better. A lot of the new accounts that I took on in the past year have been re-ordering steadily lately. If you have been reading this blog over the years, you will note that this is significantly better than the dark days of 2008 – 2010 when I had to take a job with the U.S. Census because my business was so slow. So every time I hear Mitt Romney ask that rhetorical question, “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” I answer with a resounding, “Yes!” Those rhetorical questions can cut both ways, can’t they?
So here’s a nice little “How To” photo essay on our yearly ritual of making the Big Chili Cook-Off awards. This is a fundraiser for the mountain area volunteer fire departments in Evergreen, CO. I’ve been doing these awards for ten years now, and it’s a great event to be a part of. This year we made ten of the “chili chalices” and six bowls with a total labor hour tally of over forty hours for my assistant and I. Each piece has original cartoons that go with the theme of the award (e.g. “best showmanship” – fire-breathing bikini roller skate chili). I always gripe about how much effort these pots take, but by the time the kiln rolls out, I’m really happy with the results.
Posted 8 months, 2 weeks ago. Add a comment
I’ve been doing Wally cartoons for so many years, when somebody asks me if I’ve done a Wally cartoon about a specific topic I’m sometimes uncertain whether or not I have. Has Wally ever had a Shakespeare adventure? I’m pretty sure he hasn’t, and I’m surprised it took me so long to do a joke about The Bard. It’s such a fertile ground for Wally humor: a poodle on a balcony barking out, “Oh Wally-O, Oh Wally-O, Where art thou?” The canine humor possibilities here are huge. I did the above design for The Blue Heron Gallery in Ashland, Oregon as per their request. They’ve been doing a great job selling my work this summer, and Ashland has a Shakespeare festival with plays and events happening from June to September. If this design gets a good response, I’ll probably do more jokes like it. So if you happen to go to Ashland some day, be sure and drop by The Blue Heron and use that “Oh, Wally-O where art thou?” line when you walk in the door. I’m sure they’ll love it.
Wally always goes on the wildest and coolest adventures, mostly figuratively but this month literally. The Guilford Art Center in Guilford, CT just received a shipment of seventy fetching Wally pieces for their “Hair of the Dog” pet-themed art show that opens on Friday, May 5th and continues through June 24th. If you happen to be out in that neck of the woods on Saturday, May 19th you might want to check out their cocktail party fundraiser that will benefit the Connecticut Humane Society. Special guest for the evening (along with Wally) will be Jill Abramson, Executive Editor of The New York Times and author of The Puppy Diaries. Ms. Abramson will sign copies of her book, which will be available for sale. Schmoozin’ and boozin’ with animal lovers, what could be more tail-waggin’ fun than that?!!!
If you want to see an excellent selection of Wally’s greatest hits and newest adventures, go to the Show of Hands Gallery in Denver, CO. I delivered a bunch of excellent pots there a few weeks ago and I’ll be making another delivery next week. They do a great job displaying my work and it’s always fun to drop by and see the amazing selection of fine craft that they carry. Get your paws on over there!
The Evergreen Gallery in Evergreen, CO has been carrying my work for almost twenty years now and this month they are featuring my ohata kaki red dinnerware in their “Studio to Table” show that runs from May 1 to July 1. They also have a phenomenal display of Wallyware and I’ve been doing a good job of getting them all of my latest designs within just a few days of each kiln unloading. This isn’t too difficult as they are just ten miles from our home/studio! The weather has been absolutely fantastic up here in the mountains this spring, so if you feel like taking a trip to Evergreen Lake, be sure and check out the latest art in downtown Evergreen. Just don’t strap Wally on the roof of your car on the way home, OK? He would much rather ride in the car with you.
If you live in Denver, it’s almost impossible not to follow the local sports teams because the media here has a tendency to beat you over the head constantly with sports news. While I’m generally a curmudgeon about pro sports, I have to admit that the Tim Tebow story is really cool. I love the fact that this goody-goody Christian kid who everybody said couldn’t win big is winning huge in the human cesspool known as the NFL. It’s the mirror image version of the Tonya Harding story. She was the bad-ass trailer trash girl in the rarefied world of figure skating and he’s the genuinely earnest and moral guy in the pantheon of thugs and jerks. Things didn’t turn out so good for Tonya, and they might not either for Tebow, but right now he’s on a roll and it’s fun to watch.
So to commemorate this blip on the sports radar screen, I came up with a new Wally design for all the Broncomaniacs and Tebow devotees. Seeing as I don’t want to have a bunch of these on my hands if Tebow starts to tank, I only made an initial two mugs and two plates with this design. You can find them at The Evergreen Gallery, while supplies last of course. And I’m doing the last firing of the year next weekend (12/4), so you can order as many mugs, plates and bowls with this design as you like at my online store and we can ship them out on Tuesday, December 6th. I usually don’t care much about the outcome of football games, but this Sunday when the Broncos play the Chargers, I’ll be hoping for another jaw-dropping Tebow victory in the final minutes because I’d love to see the magic continue. And I’d like to sell a bunch of pots, too…
Posted 1 year, 5 months ago. Add a comment
Good news! We just had our biggest shipping week of the year so far and there are five new venues to add to the growing empire of fine craft galleries that carry my work. It’s always great to get new accounts and I’m excited about the big orders we just shipped out to these stores. Here’s a roundup of Wally’s new digs:
Blue Heron Gallery and Gifts – Located downtown in Ashland, Oregon, Blue Heron features an eclectic mix of styles and media from more than seventy artists including an impressive collection of art glass. Ashland is the home of the world-renowned Oregon Shakespeare Festival, so Wally’s possibilities with Shakespeare jokes are endless: “A coffee mug! A coffee mug! My kingdom for a coffee mug.” Me thinks thou dost pun too much….
Art for the Soul – This is a pair of stores located in Laguna Beach, CA and Balboa Island, CA. The Laguna Beach venue has been carrying my work for years, and now the Balboa Island gallery will have a display of over forty pieces on their shelves. Their selection of fine craft emphasizes bright colors and fun. Perfect!
Crow Valley Pottery – Established in 1959, this working pottery studio/gallery is in the breathtakingly beautiful locale of Orcas Island in the state of Washington. This is truly one of the prettiest places on earth and Wally gets to go there. I’m jealous.
Arts A Poppin – Wally makes his Indiana debut in this unique gift shop that is located in the heart of the Art & Theatre district of Indianapolis. A.A.P. features a great selection of jewelry and clothing with a nice whimsical vibe. And just one week from today, their shelves will have over fifty of my pots that are sure to take that whimsical vibe up a notch!
Mutt and Joe – The owners of this establishment describe it as “a cozy neighborhood dog wash and coffee bar dedicated to caring for you and your dog in an enjoyable environment”. Dogs and coffee? Man! This place and my pots are a marriage made in heaven! I urge anyone out there in the state of Maryland to drop by and see the coffee bar that cleans your dog. They now have an impressive display of my mugs, and we even did a custom design for them. Check it out:
Posted 1 year, 7 months ago. Add a comment
Good news! Our shipping department has been burning through the bubblewrap lately and we’ve shipped out a lot of pots to some great new fine craft galleries. I’m always impressed with the caliber of stores that carry my work, and these new accounts are some of the best of the best. To see a complete map of the outlets that currently carry my work, take a look at the “Find a Gallery” page on this website. Here’s a brief roundup of the newbies:
The C2C Gallery in Grand Haven, MI just opened it’s doors on May 27, 2011. Created by artist/potter Cyndi Casemier it features a clay-centric selection of fine craft as well as periodic live performances by local musicians. We shipped them over one hundred pieces, including some of the new ohata red pots which are selling quite well. A second shipment was sent to them just a week after the grand opening. And they pay their bills on time, too! I like these guys already.
Poppy in Columbia, MO has been dazzling fine craft buyers for over 27 years and Wally is thrilled to be their newest catch. They have an impressive selection of sumptuous jewelry as well as many big names in American craft. Last summer Poppy was named a finalist in the 2010 Retailer Excellence Awards competition held during the NY International Gift Fair for “visual merchandising” and they won the top honor!
Imagine in Santa Barbara, CA is near and dear to my heart because Santa Barbara is birthplace of Wally! I was so happy to get this account and even more pleased to get a re-order of fifteen “Jesus is coming” bowls less than a month after their first order. Hallelujah!
Quirks of Art in Williamsburg, VA looks like it could be the perfect venue for my oddball pots. It originally opened in 1997 under the name of “Kinks, Quirks and Caffeine” and I’ve been bugging them to carry my work ever since I saw that name years ago. It’s a potential match made in heaven, right? I really didn’t know much about them except that they have a cool name, they’ve won a whole bunch of amazing awards (Niche, American Style, etc.), and the stuff on their website looks awesome. They posted some pics of my work on Facebook last week (before I had shipped them their first order!) and apparently people are already walking in the door asking for my work. It’s on its way…!
OK… so that’s the business news. Now for the art news. I had been throwing my standard production pots all week and it was the end of the throwing cycle and I hadn’t come up with any new shapes. For a long time I’ve had this idea to do a series based solely on rock lyrics, so I decided to do a series that will test the waters for this concept. I started by putting a selection of David Bowie and Iggy Pop songs on shuffle play while I threw the pots:
Then I threw thirty-three mugs kind of quickly, not thinking too much about the shapes. the point was to have fun with the process of throwing:
While I was throwing and the music was playing, I jotted down lyrics that might make good take-off points for the design work on the mugs:
The next day, the pots were paddled, stamped, trimmed and handled:
I’ll admit it, this project has the potential to be totally self-indulgent and lame. But I like the idea of forcing myself to do some new design work that is fast and fun and weird. My assistant is on vacation for two months now and I’ll be doing all the painting on this next decorating cycle. I’m dreading it because I’m not nearly as good at painting as she is. So these pots will be a break from the standard production line and an opportunity to try some new things with the graphic design elements. We’ll see! Come back in a few weeks to see how it’s going….
Posted 1 year, 11 months ago. 2 comments
Starting this week, the Evergreen Gallery is featuring two of my ohata red dinnerware place settings in their month-long “Dining on the Arts” show. The square pieces above just came out of the kiln last week and they are part of a display in the center of the gallery. If you live in my neck of the woods, I recommend you stop by and take a look. It’s a great selection of pots and the other artists featured have some lovely pieces at the table, too. If a trip to the mountains of Colorado isn’t feasible, you can purchase my work at my online store. Dinnerware sets take 3-5 weeks for me to produce, and I can certainly make custom items to suit your needs. Just ask! We’ve been using dinnerware with this glaze for a year now and it is a joy to have. It is wonderfully durable, dishwasher and microwave safe, and lead-free, of course.
Another new item in last week’s kiln is this 5″ x 4″ soap dish. I only made a few of them, and you can snap them up for a mere $15.00 each in my online store. We have a pretty good selection of red pots in stock now, and all of the items below are available!
Posted 2 years, 2 months ago. Add a comment
Yesterday’s firing was a big success and the glaze surfaces on the pots turned out absolutely great. I’m really happy with the new ohata kaki red glaze as it is wonderfully consistent from firing to firing. On the past dozen or so firings, there have been no technical problems such as glaze running or pinholing. And the colors are pretty consistent: these photos were shot in available light with no photoshop adjusting. They just look this vivid! So today I’m launching my ohata kaki red line. I’ve added twenty-six new items to my online store and we have a lot of them in multiples so they can be shipped within twenty-four hours of when you place your order. If you wish to purchase a set of mugs and you want it sent ASAP, please email me first to see if we have the quantity you want in stock. Also, please note that the nesting bowls and dinnerware sets are sold at a discount if you purchase all three together. Dinnerware sets are available upon request and I can do custom shapes for the bowls if my standard shape isn’t quite what you want. Below are just some of the items we have for sale:
02/04/11: The response to this line has been fantastic! It is now being carried in six galleries: Hands in San Luis Obispo, CA, Carolina Creations in New Bern, NC, New Morning Gallery in Asheville, N.C., Eureka Crafts in Syracuse, N.Y., Show of Hands in Cherry Creek, CO, and the Evergreen Gallery in Evergreen, CO.
Posted 2 years, 3 months ago. Add a comment
I received a phone call last January from Valerie Howell, the owner of The Evergreen Gallery. She was looking for an artist to paint an egg for an upcoming fundraiser for the Evergreen Downtown Business Association’s 3rd Annual Egg Painting Contest. I agreed to do it, and the next day I went skiing and came up with the idea for my egg: “Wally and the Easter Bunny ponder the transient nature of reality”. I made an extra one just in case something went wrong, and it is for sale for $80.00 in my online store. The Wally egg will be on display along with twenty other works of egg art by local artists at the Evergreen National Bank in downtown Evergreen during the month of April. There is a contest for the best of show, and I’m hoping that Wally makes it on the podium. More on this story as it develops.
The Evergreen Gallery has been carrying my work for over fifteen years now, and it always has an excellent selection of my pots on hand due to the fact that my pieces are on consignment and it’s easy for me to drop by and give them my latest designs. Valerie Howell and former owner Meryl Sabeff both have an excellent eye for art and craft and the selection of artists is outstanding. It’s well worth the drive up to Evergreen to see what they have on hand. For those of you reading this from outside of Colorado, the best way to visualize Evergreen is to think of the TV show, “South Park”. Co-creator Trey Parker grew up in nearby Conifer and the small town in the show is an homage to our fine mountain community… really!
Posted 3 years, 1 month ago. Add a comment