Keep those cards and letters coming…

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This lovely postcard came to me courtesy of Margo Brown at Margo’s Pottery in Buffalo, WY. If you happen to have any weird blank postcards you’d me to use for the “Postcards to Trump” project, mail them to me at: 30371 Rainbow Hill Road, Evergreen CO 80439.  Thanks!

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2017 State of the Studio Address

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First and foremost, let me present my latest offering to the zeitgeist of distraught and disaffected liberals: “IS IT TIME TO MOVE TO CANADA YET?!!”  I pulled 28 of these out of the kiln on Monday and by Tuesday afternoon they were all either sold or shipped off to various consignment accounts.  Unfortunately, I won’t be getting another firing out until mid-March so if you want to buy one in my online store, it’s going to be a while before we can ship it to you.  Here are the other views of this new classic:

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I do have a great selection of the majority of my stock items right now, so don’t let the news about the unavailability of this design stifle your desire to buy something in my online store.  Braxton has some crazy new stuff in his store, too.  His latest new item is the appropriately titled, “Gob-mug.”  Part goblet, part mug, these odd drinking vessels will make you feel like a king or queen when you guzzle your morning coffee and make your plans for world domination.  Also new in his store are some really tasty beer steins.

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And the even bigger news than that of my little pottery business is the success of my daughter, Robin’s (aka Lisa Prank) music career.  Her album, Adult Teen received a ton of rave reviews throughout the year and she did an amazing job promoting the album through extensive touring.  The culmination of all of this effort came when Adult Teen got the #10 spot on Rolling Stone critic Rob Sheffield’s “Top 20 Albums of 2016.” As a parent and a super music fan, it was a profound feeling to see my kid’s music up there with the likes of Beyonce, David Bowie, Radiohead, Leonard Cohen and others.

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And last but not least, I’m doing an odd side project right now called Postcards to Trump.  Last weekend I started sending a postcard a day to our new president.  It’s a lot like doing a daily political cartoon, and I’m amazed at how easy they are to create.  I’ll keep doing this project for as long as possible, as it’s a nice creative endeavor for me as I take a hiatus from pottery over the next month or so.  Friends are already saying I should turn it into a book deal (ha! ha!), but the main thing is to see if I can keep it going for as long as I can.  In all seriousness, I’m totally freaked out by the fact that we have a crazy person in the White House.  But the upside of this reality is that it’s a rich source for my political humor.  Please come back to this website if you want to get some laughs out of the struggle ahead.

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Grinch 2016 and Blazing Cell Phones!

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This year we have two ornaments for 2016! “MAKE WHOVILLE GREAT AGAIN!”  is out of the kiln and ready to ship. You can buy it in the “ornaments and pins” section of my online store. While flying on a plane last week, I came up with a second timely design: “SEE THE BLAZING SAMSUNG CELL PHONE”. This one will be out of the kiln on Monday, December 12th but I recommend buying it now as we will have a limited supply of these and will be decorating more as the orders come in.

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Right now we can make just about anything you want for the Monday, December 12th ship date. But in another week and a half, there will be a limited supply of my work available.  If you want to find out the availability of specific items, feel free to call (303) 526-7867) or email me to find out if a specific item is in stock.

And here’s some cool news: my studio colleague, Braxton Phibes is the featured artist this month at the Evergreen Gallery!  Here’s the lovely write-up they did for their monthly email newsletter. You can buy Braxton’s pots at The Evergreen Gallery or in his Etsy Store.

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“When they go low, we go lower!”

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This year’s presidential election results were overwhelmingly sad for those of us who value honesty and integrity.  The bad guy won and we are now looking at a whole heap of ugly stuff to come down the pike for our country in the years to come. But it is going to be fascinating to see how artists and creative people rise to the challenge of questioning Emperor Trump’s new clothes. There is so much material to work with! I was really impressed with the way the cast of Hamilton spoke to Vice President-Elect Mike Pence the other night. So this is the mindset that inspired me to create my latest character: President Anus Face. These mugs were envisioned the day after the election, decorated last week and unloaded from the kiln just this morning.  You can buy them in my online store for $36.00 each.  To see all three sides of all six mugs, click here to go to my Facebook page. Here is a sampling of pics:

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My “Dewey Defeats Truman” Moment

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Oh my! I took a chance on betting who would win the election when I decorated about a dozen of these ornaments last week, and boy did I lose the bet.  Wishful thinking will get you every time, I suppose.  I’ve been in a deep dark funk since Tuesday, but now I’m fessing up to my poor political prediction skills and offering this sad little relic from a reality that never was at a reduced price.  I did have a some fun including these in shipments to my wholesale accounts this week with a note saying, “Greetings from a parallel universe where Hillary won the election. So sorry to hear about things in your reality.”

11/14/16 News Flash: All twelve of these ornaments got snapped up by a shrewd Wallyware collector this morning! So sorry to disappoint those of you who are looking to buy some. -Tom

I’m really in a quandary about how to go about my political humor right now.  I’ve done a lot of jokey pots about Trump this year, and “Trump Coffee” has been my number one selling mug over the past six months or so. But now that Despicable Donald is going to the White House, I’m thinking that making jokes about the man who has the potential to bring fascism to America isn’t the kind of thing I want to trivialize. Time will tell. Look for a blog post coming in a little over a week with a series of wonderfully dark and bizarre mugs that I thought up this week. It was great therapy for me to envision these designs, and they could be some of the best pots I’ve done all year. Stay tuned.

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Crazy for Comical Cat Pots.

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While I generally consider myself a “dog person”, I sure do make a lot of cat pots these days. Every glaze firing we roll out has dozens of cat bowls and cat mugs in it. Why is the market for cat pottery so good? Does the feline psyche, with its selfish and standoffish nature, make people more apt to try and buy their pet’s love with a funny fancy porcelain food dish? I don’t know. I just know that over the past couple of years, the increasing sales of these items has inspired me to comically catalog the feline personality spectrum. These pieces range in price from $20 – $30 and can be found in the “Cat Pots!” section of my online store. Posted here are the eight bowls, two mugs and one Christmas ornament that we carry. Who knows? If you buy one for your cat, he might reciprocate the kind gesture with a dead mouse or something.

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2016 Political Pottery Mania!

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This is turning into a banner year for political pots for me.  The “Trump Coffee” mug continues to sell at a brisk pace and I just rolled out a kiln load with twenty of these new “Get on the Trump train!” mugs.  Fifteen of them have already been shipped out the door.  I’m really happy with these designs and I’m excited about their potential to be one of the weirdest keepsakes from one of the weirdest presidential elections ever. You can find all of the items listed in the blog post in the “New Items for 2016” section of my online store. Here’s the back end of the Trump train:

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And for those of you who prefer your snark aimed at the left, here’s a new Wally design that puts Hillary Clinton in an orange prison suit AND the white house. It’s available in mugs, plates and bowls.

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Wally also did a stint at Trump University, and here’s how that all worked out for him.

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Oddly enough, we’re still shipping out some of these “I’m voting for Bernie” mugs.  I guess some people just can’t shake off the dream.

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And last but not least, here’s the runaway best seller of the year.  “Trump Coffee” is the mug that sums up the year 2016. I look forward to making more of these over the next two months.  But after that, I really hope that this whole “Trump mania” becomes a thing of the past.

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9/13/16 Post Script: Here’s a 14″ platter that just came out of the kiln and is getting sent to the “Plate and Totem” show at Blue Line Arts in Sacramento, CA. The show starts on October 7th and runs until November 19th.

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Creative Heaven and Potluck Hell

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I’m having a blast making one of a kind art these days and I think it helps that these items are selling really well. This week’s firing’s magnum opus is “Potluck Hell”, a musing on the worst that could happen in a potluck salad situation.  It sells for $140.00 in my online store, and I’ll let the pics of the pot tell the story of this item:

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Also available for $150.00 in my online store this month is my “Where do ideas come from?” cookie jar. This was made for last month’s “Roots in Clay” show and it’s my take on possible explanations for the origin of creativity.

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There’s a new kid in town.

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I got an interesting phone call a few months ago from a soon to be art school grad who was interested in doing a classic apprenticeship with me in my studio. It was flattering as well as daunting, and as we got to talking I realized that I’m really not the type to take on an apprentice. Braxton, the student, was finishing his BFA at the Port Orchard College of Arts and Crafts in Washington state and he wanted to move to Colorado.  I thought about it for a week and offered him a reasonable deal renting studio space and staying at our house for the summer. In my mind it’s a better gig than an apprenticeship.

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His first batch of pots came out of the kiln this week, and he’s got some really stunning glazes in his portfolio. I’m jealous! He’s taken a lot of glaze calculation classes, and in this area I’m the one who feels like the apprentice. These glazes are fired to cone 10 in an oxidation firing. Out of the thirty pots he had in the kiln, none of them had glazes run on the kiln shelves.

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Braxton has a really great sense of humor, and we’ve been having some good conversations about what makes a hot selling coffee mug.  I told him how we have been making “Holy Shit! That’s good coffee!” mugs like crazy since before he was born, and he came up with this “BEST POOP EVER” mug design.  Funny guy!

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He noticed that we make a lot of cat bowls, so he came up with this “EAT, SPRAY LOVE” design out of the blue. Damn! I wish I’d thought of that! If you like these pots, I urge you to go on over to his Etsy store and buy some.  They are all in extremely limited quantity, and just about each one is unique. His initial prices are pretty reasonable, but he says that he’ll be raising his prices as the quality goes up. I highly recommend checking out his “Scrambled Baby DNA” bowl series. It’s nuts! Oh, and another thing he has figured out better than me is his “artist portrait” photo (see below).

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Sexy Pots, Stupid Selfies and More!

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The story behind this vase is a long one but I’ll try to make it short. There’s this potter in Denmark who is a total rock star on social media and I have a love/hate relationship with his work. His business is called “Tortus Copenhagen Ceramics” and he’s amazingly talented at creating sexy pics and videos of himself making pots.  I’m really impressed with his marketing skills, but his pots put me to sleep.  Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s a very skilled potter. But the way he uses a black tank top and big muscles to sell his work is a total joke.  So, I made a joke about it!

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Why am I meditating inside my kiln? The Mountain Area Potters Gang is having a group show this month, and we were all required to do a “studio selfie” of ourselves at work.  I put the task off until the day of the deadline and the job of cleaning my studio seemed really daunting. But then I realized that the one place in the studio that wasn’t all cluttered at the time was inside the shuttle kiln. A change of clothes and fifteen minutes later I had my shot. I had never sat inside my kiln before and it’s wonderfully quiet in there! Namaste.

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This cookie jar is one of the pots that will be featured in the “Roots in Clay” show. It came together really quickly. It was the last day of decorating for the show and I knew that I wanted to do a collage of images dealing with how we get our ideas.  That’s a muse on a pedestal and Lou Reed getting his songs from a “radio receiver” that he can turn on and come up with music like magic out of the ether. (I read a great interview about him one time and he claims to be able to tune into a magical dimension at any time and find songs there!) The jokes seemed to come out of nowhere as I was drawing this pot and I got small sense for what it must be to be Lou Reed. Creating this piece was a truly magical experience and I’m really proud to have it in the show!

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For those of you who live in the Denver area, you are invited to come to the opening on Friday, May 6th from 4 – 7 p.m. at the Center for the Arts in Evergreen.  And on Wednesday, May 11th at noon I’ll be giving a one hour talk about my work the next week.  I’ll explain the process of how I make my pots and we’ll take a slide show trip down memory lane of my forty-five years of working in clay. There will even be door prizes! You can learn more about this interesting event at the Facebook event page.

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And last but not least, here’s a cool art piece that’s for sale in the “one of a kind art pots” section of my online store.  “Why does the pizza emoji have a shadow underneath it?” is an original thought I had one day and I hope that this image puts a seed in your brain about the mysterious pizza emoji.  It can’t be balanced like that, so what’s going on? Is it falling from space and the image is the exact moment before it hits the ground?!!!

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