Two More Shows between now and Christmas!

Concrete Notions banner, pots on bench

Dear reader: yes, you, who are the avid follower of my blog.  You know who you are.

Here is the important news update you’ve been waiting for.  Since we don’t presume to believe we are garnering too much following, we sometimes fail to make it clear what’s going on in our world.  And then we feel horrible when someone who really did want to buy something says, “Oh, man, I missed that show because I didn’t see anything about it.”  I understand, and I thank you for your concern.

Saturday, Nov 9 – White Rock Local Market at GREENSPOT Location on Buckner in Greenspot / Golds Gym parking lot

Saturday Dec 7 – White Rock Local Market at LAKESIDE Location:  Garland road in Lakeside Baptist parking lot

small sedum square pot

Christmas is coming up fast (like mildew in the bathtub..one minute it’s clean and suddenly, weird orange stuff growing on your nice white calking!) so let’s just face facts.

Our concrete pots make really nice gifts for those hard to please, have it all, or just plain ‘not sure what to get them’ kind of folks on your list.  You know… the aunt who has everything but really loves to garden, the teacher who was so nice to your kid all year and still doesn’t get paid enough, the housekeeper who has done such a nice job making sure your house looks awesome during the holidays.  This one’s for them.

All Barry Manilow references aside.. we look forward to seeing you and helping you locate the perfect gift for someone special… or yourself.  Cheers!  Chris and Steve

fire stick pot

The Pots come home: Rick Van Dyke

I have been holding off making much mention of this potter, because I wanted to feel like the only one in Dallas to know about him. According to his website, he’s not selling here yet. But just one look at his talent tells me that could change in a heartbeat. Have you ever seen blue and green glazes this intense, while still being kind of subtle? Must be the lack of clear overglaze. Ya know, he was able to tell me exactly what the chemicals were that caused those colors. I might be wrong, but maybe there was strontium and barium involved? Next time I will take notes. And photos.

rickvandykesnakesucculent

I had stumbled upon his work online right before our last trip to Austin, and was super lucky to find him showing a *ton* of his work at the Cactus & Succulent Society show at Zilker park botanical gardens. Why didn’t I get photos?? Because I was too busy trying to snatch my fave pots before the other throngs got hold of them. Very mature, I know. Once we’d made choices and calmed down somewhat, we got to chatting with Rick. He told us that the way he got into pottery was not straight-forward. As befits a great Austin story, it all had to do with a girl. She was into pottery so to get into her good graces, he too took it up. I asked if she was still doing it, and he said, “Nope. But I’m glad I am!” We are glad too, my friend.

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We were then even more impressed by his super calm, laid back personality. Ah, Austin! Where true creativiy dwells around every corner, and doesn’t shout for attention.

Here’s a few of Rick’s pots that found their way into our home. We love love love them! Thank you, Rick. If/when I get my store open, will you please do me the honor of showing your work?

VanDyke pots, corner

VanDyke pots, Chris and Steve

vandyke white pot better closeup

Pottery, Please

It’s really kind of funny. I was a lucky brat who grew up in a neat ‘century modern’ house (though back then it was called ‘gently used’) with artsy parents who carefully collected and traded for lots of nifty sculptures, pottery, and a few drawings. Dad was an illustrator and taught classes at East Texas State University. At the time, pottery was enjoying a resurgence in popularity, and so I suppose when one of the other art teachers wanted to trade for an illustration they often had pottery to trade. There were (and mostly still are) some pretty awesome pieces. Yet the pottery was never my favorite. I always prefered the bright modern slickness of the plexi tube with multiple color rings that hung from the ceiling in the kitchen, and the weird shiny fiberglass piana-like-thing that hung on the wall in the playroom.

So why is it that I am only now growing a fascination for pottery? I love the sculptural shapeliness of course, but I’m also really drawn into the textures of the glazes. Check these out, from Heath Ceramics:

s13-14-heath-seasonal-hybrid-bud-vase-set-heath-orange-opaque-white-731by607

More posts on potters, pottery, and ceramics to come!

“Help, there’s a hog in my kitchen!”

Sometimes you just know you got the name *right* on a wonderful pet you adopted, yes?

Just sitting here with Lenny at my elbow, I am sure of a few things: 

We got the name right…We got the attitude right….Not too sure about the look, though…

250px-Lenny_and_the_Squigtones_LP Lenny on the edge Lenny gets the bug Lenny and squiggy vegas suits lenny squiggy no.1 sidekicks lenny-and-squiggy dumb face

I mean really, just LOOK at that face!  (the one on the left… so far we’ve never met a cat stupid enough to name Squiggy.  Mainly because we’ve never met a stupid cat.)  But check out these facts about Lenny.  Since I was never a huge fan of Laverne and Shirley, I think it’s doubly astonishing how accurate we got with this name!  What a character.  Love the part about his name…

  • Leonard “Lenny” Kosnowski (Michael McKean)—A lovable goof who pesters Laverne and Shirley along with his best friend and roommate Squiggy (who both live upstairs, on the third floor, from Laverne and Shirley’s basement apartment). Lenny works as a truck driver at the Shotz brewery, and prizes a stuffed iguana named Jeffrey. Raised by his father after his mother abandoned them, during the series it was learned that Lenny was the 89th in line to the Polish Throne. Lenny says that, while he is not completely sure, he thinks his last name (Kosnowski) is Polish for “Help, there’s a hog in my kitchen”.

And this is why we love succulents…

…they come in all sizes, shapes, and forms.  Oh, the forms!  How can one doubt that whether by creation or evolution, the cosmic forces were having a good laugh when they came up with these:

penis crop large

…and you say, “But Chris, get your mind out of the gutter.  Clearly they resemble pickles.”  To which I say, “There’s only one kind of pickle these resemble, and Vlasic does not make them.”  I’m just saying.  Hiariously, along with the vertical part there were also two rather bulbous parts growing in almost all of these pots (you can find them now at Redenta’s on Skillman).  With spikes.  Long, scary spikes emerging from them.  As much as I wanted to include them in one of my pots for mother’s day, the spikes did deter my enthusiasm.  I know mom would have laughed, so that’s enough for me.  Would you like to see a closeup of these?  Of course you would. 

penis crop2

Wow, I bet you’re thinking, ‘that’s huge, get that out of my face!’  But just try to look away, I dare you.  It’s like a trainwreck.

And for those of you who might be actually wondering what they are called, I must say I am going to have to make a return trip to find out… I was too busy laughing the first time around.  Enjoy the spring,  Chris

 

The Head and the Hand… or

…..a succulent in the hand is worth two in the bush?  Either way, there’s been more movement in the blogosphere about concrete anatomy parts that it bears my saying something, or at least sharing some pretty pictures.  For instance, these amazing hand molds are actually quite simple to make, or so they say, using surgical gloves as molds in which to stuff your hypertufa mush solution.  Am wondering if they are hard to peel off between the fingers?  At any rate, you just KNOW I am going to be trying this at my first opportunity:  (the first picture was reproduced from a great site called drought-smart-plants.com.  Lots of neat advice and commentary there.

hand planters

hand with succulents

I have received a few requests now to try and make lifesize adult human head molds, but lack the ability to mix this much concrete in one go, nor also to make a big enough mold in one pour.  So it remains on my bucket list of  crafts.  Till that magic day when Steve and I rent a concrete truck, I’d say that folks who really want these will do well to do a general search for ‘concrete head planters.’  Here is what I found using that phrase:

Does-anyone-know-to-make-concrete-or-like-material

Those are some craaaaazy updo’s, ladies!  Love the red one especially! 

Still and all, my world of hypertufa is kind of focused on the affordable small, gift-able plant in a container that will easily fit on a kitchen windowsill.  I was tickled last week in fact to hear one smart-ass young man come up to our booth at White Rock Local Market, carefully peruse our wares (while still wearing his giant 1970’s rock star sunglasses) and proclaim, “gee, these are nice, but I just don’t think they are SMALL enough!”  I laughed and laughed.  That was a kid to my own heart.  Snarky but sincere.

And to sign off, let’s take a quick visit beyond the head and go to the other parts of the human anatomy, like hands, feet, etc.  As immortalized by some fast-food chicken ad campaign once a few years back, “Parts is parts!”    Right?  Nuf said.

baby parts