The holiday season is always nuts for custom orders here at Wallyworld. At the last minute, fans of my work decide that they want something wild and funny for their loved ones and I get all these crazy emails requesting crazy pots. To top it off, I tend to put off the really challenging orders until the last day possible so I’m running around the studio trying to come up with a good idea for someone who is paying a lot of money for a stupid coffee mug. A good example: the mug you see above and below was a holiday gift for Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead. Wow! I’ve been a fan of the band since the 70s, so it was a bit nerve wracking to do something special for such a legendary musician and cultural icon. The woman who ordered this piece is a personal friend of Mr. Weir and she sent me some nice pics of him and his pets to inspire the design. I’m really happy with it, and apparently so was Bobby!
My other big celebrity item this season was a custom salad bowl for the makers of the movie “Jackass 3D”. I’m somewhat oblivious to this cultural phenomenon, but I guess it’s pretty big because the movie grossed (double entendre intended) over $50 million. After an hour of serious research on YouTube, I managed to knock out this design in a relatively short period of time. Kelly, my assistant, did a great job painting this piece, and the people who made the film were thrilled and impressed. Apparently, Johnny Knoxville might be giving me a call sometime to order more stuff. Woo-Hoo!
And here’s a lovely plate I made for some regular folk here in Evergreen, CO. I think it’s pretty much the consummate wedding plate. The recipients loved it:
Posted 2 years, 3 months ago at 8:55 am. Add a comment
If you’ve got a total Wallyhead on your gift list and you aren’t sure which design to choose, here’s the perfect way to thrill them: a Wallyware gift certificate! I just added some gift certificates to my online store and I’m going to throw in FREE SHIPPING for everyone who tries this bold new venture. My online store has a few limitations in that I can’t have them use it as store credit when they buy something, so they will have to just email me with what they want and I’ll throw in a free Wally pin if they have a small credit amount. In other words, if you give them a $30.00 gift certificate and they buy a $28.00 mug, I’ll pay the shipping and add a Wally pin to boot…. good deal, huh? Be sure and enter the gift recipient’s name and shipping address into the “ship to” field when you place the order. We are a bit low on stock in some items right now, but our next kiln comes out on 01/15/11. If you still are looking for items for us to ship, be sure and take note of the “IN STOCK AND READY TO SHIP” notices with each item. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good deal!
Posted 2 years, 5 months ago at 6:17 pm. Add a comment
For those of you out there who are shopping for a gift for an artist, let me offer some suggestions. I just scanned the shelves of our factory showroom and we have some darn good artist gifts in stock and ready to ship right now! Just blast on over to our online store, place an order and these lovely items will be on put a UPS truck as soon as is humanly possible. For starters, the cup and saucer above and below is a great little item for the creative hot beverage drinker. We have just two of them in stock and they can be found in the “deluxe funny mugs” section for just $32.00.
Next up, a time honored classic! “Wally wanders into Jackson Pollock’s studio” has been a staple in my line for over twenty years and it’s still a beloved favorite. Plates are $33.00, mugs are $28.00 and bowls are $28.00. And yes, we have them all in stock!
And how about a Wally pin to go with that Pollock plate? They are only $12.50! Check out the splatter pin and the blue dot pin:
Last but not least, a design that is near and dear to my heart because it pretty much sums up why I’m compelled to make this stuff. Do you have a potter on your gift list?
Posted 2 years, 5 months ago at 5:26 pm. Add a comment
Last week’s firing had a lot of new items, and I finally got them all loaded into the online store! This first mug is a fun one: it’s a dense collage of some of my favorite images with the words, “WHAT DO YOU WANT?” on the front. You can read into it whatever you want here (and that’s the intention), but my take on it is that we live in a world where there we have lots of free will and a there are a ton of places for your mind to go. Anybody out there care to give me a better explanation?
Next up: a new Wally design! I admit it, this is a bit of a “soap box” statement about multi-level marketing systems. I’m always amazed with a friend or acquaintance will try and sell me something like “Juice Plus” and it’s totally awkward for me to turn them down. So Wally has found a canine get rich quick scheme:
The inspiration for my latest funny mug came from a dismal op ed piece about fracking, the environmentally unfriendly way to get coal out of the ground. Since half of our electricity comes from coal, the electric car isn’t quite as magical as it seems. This mug is selling really well in my online store, and I figure anything with rainbows and unicorns has to be a hit!
And last but not least, a cool new deluxe funny mug that takes paranoia to dizzying heights. I’ll let the mug speak for itself:
Posted 2 years, 6 months ago at 7:07 pm. Add a comment
Here’s a nice little artifact from the 1980s: Wally and Demi Moore sharing a scene in the apocalyptic thriller, “The Seventh Sign”. When I used to do craft fairs in Los Angeles, people would come up to me and tell me they had seen Wally in this movie and I was dubious. But lo and behold, it’s true! Wally got a ride on Demi’s raincoat during a suspenseful scene in a church, and rumor has it he suggested to her that she play a potter in her next movie, which turned out to be “Ghost”. Finding this photo inspired me make more Wally pins and add them to my line. My assistant and I came up with a slew of new colors, and they are all for sale at my online store.
Posted 2 years, 6 months ago at 6:13 am. Add a comment
Yes, I am using this adorable baby to shamelessly sell pots. The customer who sent me the photo gave me permission to use it under the stipulation that I “don’t turn it into one of those creepy animated baby commercials”. No problem. I’m barely competent at Photoshop software so I assure you this is as far as it goes.
The above plate is a great example of how a good input can lead to a lovely gift item. All the words were written by the customer and my job was to simply put her idea on the plate. At first it seemed like a tall order, but the dinner plate size lends itself well to ambitious designs and this one was surprisingly easy to implement once I got working on it. The only thing I need to stress to those of you who want me to do things like this is that you need to think of the idea because my brain kind of locks up when I’m asked to “do something funny about golf”, or whatever.
I love this new mug because of the “hook” at the bottom right. I would bet that we’re going to get customers at fine craft galleries asking the salespeople, “Do you have one of these without the bloody severed head?”
And my new Wally adventure was inspired in part by the fact that I’m training for my first ultra marathon. On May 1st I’ll be doing a 50K (31 mile) trail race in Larkspur, CO. The week before last I put in an epic 90 miles in seven days and this design came into my head during one of my long runs. I love the subtext of the joke which is, “If I were to just eat, think and exercise correctly, amazing things would happen to me.” This joke is available in mugs, plate and bowls at my online store.
Posted 3 years, 1 month ago at 6:32 am. 1 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 at 3:00 pm. Add a comment
Sticks is more than a couple of great galleries in Des Moines. It’s more than a team of over one hundred artisans producing spectacular furniture and objects decorated with heartfelt imagery. It’s a force of nature. For those of us who make a living in the fine craft world, Sticks is the pinnacle of what a fine craft business can be. Started in 1992 by Sarah Grant, the company derives its name from the found wood it uses to create its objects. From it’s simple beginnings as a candlestick and holiday ornament line, Sticks has risen to the level of design team nonpareil as evidenced by the installation pictured above. “The Furniture City Sets the Table for the World of Art” was collaboration with Sticks and Stephen Fry, president of The Concept Design Group. It sits atop the Blue Bridge in Grand Rapids, Michigan and took 8th place in the 2009 ArtPrize competition. Who says crafts have to be humble?
Sticks has been carrying my work for over eight years now and they are a steady, dependable account. Wally’s finest hour with Sticks came in January of 2004 when they had me come up with a couple of custom Wally adventures for the Iowa Caucus. We shipped out just two dozen pieces, and we should have made more. Sticks is located across the street from the state capitol and the response to these pieces was amazing. They sold out very quickly. The media folk liked the MTV joke, and the Greenpeace design was presented in public by Sticks to the Governor of Iowa. It’s a real honor to have Sticks carry my work all these years. And if Stephen Fry and his design group ever need another concept for a bridge or something, Wally is available!
Posted 3 years, 4 months ago at 6:55 am. Add a comment
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 at 7:01 am. Add a comment