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 at 9:22 am. Add a comment
We shipped out a lot of pots last week, and it’s been really rewarding to see that my ohata kaki red pots have a solid fan base. I really like these pots and highly recommend them as gifts. A handmade mug or bowl with a rich glaze is a great item to give or receive as a holiday present. The eight inch diameter salad bowl (above) is a one of a kind and sells for $55.00 in my online store. Here are some more iron red glazed gift ideas:
Here are three great mug shapes that we have in stock right now. The “fancy foot mug” ($22.00), “morning mug” ($25.00) and “paddled square mug” ($25.00) may be purchased in sets, but be sure and email me first to see how many we have available. I’m drinking out of a morning mug this morning…. really!
These 5″ diameter red altered bowls sell for $20.00 each and are perfect for cereal, ice cream, or serving bowls at parties. The big red loop mug holds at least 14 ounces of liquid and sells for $28.00. This is a great gift for a guy!
The “red handle jar” ($40.00) started out as a holiday gift idea my wife came up with. She wanted me to make something to hold homemade fudge so I made a series of them for our friends. This is the item that launched the entire ohata kaki line! And I still have two of the “8 inch diameter serving bowls with handles” ($45.00) left. These would make fantastic gifts. We do “no frills” gift wrapping for just seventy-five cents!
And here’s a great combo for the “substance enthusiast” on your gift list: the ashtray ($18.00), beer stein ($28.00) and shot glass ($10.00) combo. Be sure and have a designated driver. Cheers!
Posted 1 year, 5 months ago at 8:30 am. Add a comment
Here’s a plate that just screams “HAPPY HOLIDAYS!” For some reason, my customers tend to love tasteless jokes, and every time I push the envelope in this department, my sales climb. This item is, of course, in stock and ready to ship so if you want to own the perfect plate for your holiday fudge, get over to the online store and snap one up!
Posted 1 year, 5 months ago at 5:01 am. Add a comment
The clock is ticking. Can you hear it? It’s telling everybody out there that there are just five days left for you to place your custom orders for the holiday season. On Friday we will load up the last kiln of the year, so if you have any intentions of placing a way-cool custom order or two, you had better do it soon. Over the past couple of years I’ve been actively encouraging my customers to submit these orders because I know how much fun it is to give someone dear something that was specially made for them. And due to the “anything goes” nature of my artwork, we have gotten a lot of strange requests over the years. One of my all-time favorites is a mug we did for a guy who was in charge of getting all the mold out of his lab/workplace after Hurricane Katrina:
Good ideas yield good custom orders. Another mug that was particularly fun to do was one we did for a woman named Sharon. I really like the affection the friend who commissioned the mug must have for her:
And last year we got an order that was a holiday gift for one of my all-time favorite musicians in the whole universe: Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead!! Take a look:
Do you have someone on your gift list who you would like to give something like this? If so, get over to the “Custom Orders” section of this website and read through the tips on how to place an order. It’s really pretty simple and it can yield some great gifts if you go for it. Don’t forget, anything ordered by Friday, 12/02 can be shipped out on Tuesday, 12/06.
Posted 1 year, 5 months ago at 6:06 am. 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 at 9:37 am. Add a comment
Here’s a timely new Wally adventure! With the economy and the debt ceiling front and center in the news today, it’s only natural that Wally should be riffing on this theme. I love the fact that now, when someone asks me what I do for a living, I can say, “I recreate The Sistine Chapel frescoes on pottery.” This minor masterpiece is available in mugs, plates and bowls at my online store. But wait! There’s more! This week’s firing also yielded a bizarre mug for the Mitt Romney camp. I just found out about the whole “magic Mormon underwear” phenomenon and I couldn’t help but make a commemorative coffee mug about cosmic undies. I’m thinking that I could do a mug design for each of the presidential candidates in next year’s primary elections. Have you seen the pic of Michelle Bachman on the cover of this week’s Newsweek Magazine? Inspiring!!!
On the other end of the pottery spectrum, I pulled some really lovely red pots out of the kiln this morning. The glaze surfaces are amazing! They are just a little darker and “smokier” than usual, and the way the glaze pools in the cracks is truly dazzling. Here are two unique red serving bowls that are for sale for $55.00 each in the Ohata Kaki Red section of my online store. The one with the altered rim was a bowl that flopped while I was throwing it on the wheel. I liked the odd undulations in the clay so I kept it and trimmed it. Then it sat on the shelf unglazed for years, and the ohata red glaze was the perfect way to finish it. If you like this ten inch diameter bowl, you should snap it up in my online store, because I won’t be making another one like it!
Posted 1 year, 9 months ago at 4:52 pm. 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 at 10:11 am. 2 comments
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 at 8:59 am. 3 comments
This week’s post has a trio of odds and ends from the world of Wallyalia. First up: an item that’s going to make all you Wallyheads out there drool with envy because it’s not for sale! This one of a kind Wally BBQ spatula was created by my assistant Kelly Clements for her college metalworking class. No news yet as to what grade she got on it, but I give it an A+!!!
NEWS FLASH! The president of the United States effectively rendered this joke null and void this morning so I’m putting these pots on sale today. Thanks a lot Barack Obama! Groan. Some of us were making good money off of that whole birth certificate thing. To snap the last of these historical collectors items up for cheap, take a trip to “Wally’s Bargain Basement”.
And last but not least, here’s a brand new design about something big in the news these days. I really like the graphic on this one and it’s interesting to note that this is the first Wally cartoon that doesn’t have Wally in it. I guess he’s off at the meth lab cooking up the payroll. You can purchase these right now at my online store. They will be ready to ship on Monday, May 2nd.
Posted 2 years ago at 10:35 am. 1 comment
In the documentary, “Fast, Cheap & Out of Control” lion tamer Dave Hoover explains why those in his profession use a chair to keep the lions at bay. It turns out that the cat brain can only focus on one thing in its immediate field of vision, so the four chair legs circling in front of the lion’s eyes put the kitty’s brain into gridlock and thus prevent an attack. This is how I feel about the news these days. I don’t know about you, but I’m totally hypnotized by it all: the Japanese earthquake, tsunami and crippled nuclear reactor, people all over the world rising up in places that never rose up before, the still-flailing U.S. economy, the brand spanking new Tea Party governors going on ape-shit crazy power binges and on and on and on. So last week when our president started a war with Libya I marveled at the absurdity of it all. Wasn’t this the guy who got elected by telling us that we shouldn’t outstretch our military reach? His speech on Monday sounded like vintage George W. Bush minus the Texas accent, mispronounced words and utterances of the word “freedom” every couple of minutes. I think the Obama Doctrine is the same the way many of us attempt to fix our broken TV sets: just keep banging on it until it works. I’m excited about this mug and I think it’s helped to get me out of my catatonic stupor. You can buy it at my online store.
Posted 2 years, 1 month ago at 12:48 pm. Add a comment