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.


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.


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:


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  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:


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

Moving is madness. (sorry, no photos)

There are hairshirts you can wear, and shards of glass you can step on.  But if you’re really serious about causing yourself pain and suffering, nothing tops moving.  Nothing.

I don’t care if they say that changing jobs (specifically losing jobs) and getting divorced is hard on a person.  That may be true.  But just try to live for several months out of boxes, not knowing where the toilet paper is, let alone your next meal or your favorite pair of shoes. 

I hate moving.  I don’t ever want to have to do it again in my life.  Okay, if I win the lottery, I might move to a groovy house in Colorado – but I’d probably pay to have a company do all the packing and schlepping.  But of course I’d have to start buying lottery tickets first, so that’s never going to happen. 

To try and get myself out of the grumps of moving, I’ve decided to try and look at the bright side.  For instance: 

You may be an ugly, sweaty mess for days on end… but at least you will be growing your hair out and nails out because you didn’t have time to sit and bite them (the nails) and you have enough length on the hair to get that Brazilian Blowout your husband purchased for you as an interesting Xmas present.  True story. 

You may be getting your car super dirty hauling endless loads of boxes and plants over … but now you know EXACTLY what the capacity of you Honda Fit really is, just in case you ever have fifteen clowns trying to get inside.  You will know that only fourteen fit.  The last clown has to sit on the hood, or go home.Preferably they will all go home and leave you alone because you’re too cranky for those damn clowns anyway. 

You think you’re so clever because you know exactly where the bread and meat are so you go to make a sandwich, only to find out someone else already moved the mustard…and the mayo, ketchup, chutney, hot sauce, etc.  So you end up having yogurt and some of those old pieces of fruit in the bin.  See?  Moving is healthy for you.  

You can’t commit to working out at the gym for at least three weeks, but you end up losing five pounds from all the stooping, walking, lifting, etc.  

You lose your mind… but you find stuff that you had already accepted as permanently missing from your life, like that weird tube of bright red lipstick.  What was it doing in the bottom of the fish-tank accessory bag?  Really?? 

You are pretty sure that the last two garage sales you had last year really did the job of cleaning out all the crap you didn’t need.  Now however, you can see you were completely wrong.  But hey, we made lots of money at those sales and maybe we can do it again!  But not until fall.  I really don’t care if the garage is full of crap and neither of our cars will fit.  We’re simply not capable of pulling it off.  We’re too old for this crap.  Maybe we’ll just have a nice big bonfire… ya’ll come over and bring your marshmallows and your Pabst Blue Ribbon, ya hear!? 







And it’s Creepy Doll…that always Follows You…

I dedicate this furry-headed Creepy Doll to one of my favorite composers and song-stylers, whose hilarious tunes have kept me smiling whilst creating said creepy dolls for your enjoyment.  In case you haven’t heard him, please look up Jonathan Coulton and show him some love. 

In a town in the woods at the top of a hill
There’s a house where no one lives
So you take a big bag of your big city money there and buy it
Then at night when you’re all alone
And the house is dark there’s a noise upstairs
At the top of the stairs there’s a door so you take a deep breath and try it

And the flashlight shines on something moving just inside the door
There’s a tattered dress and a feeling that you’ve felt somewhere before

And there’s the creepy doll
That always follows you
It’s got a ruined eye
That’s always open

And there’s a creepy doll
That always follows you
It’s got a pretty mouth
To swallow you whole

So you scream and you close the door
And you tell yourself it was just a dream
In the morning you head into town cause you want to go antiquing
In the store there’s a strange old man
With a wandering eye and a withered hand
When he hands you the old wooden box you can hear his old bones creaking

And you know what you will find inside the moment that you see
That someone carved your name into the tarnished silver key

And there’s a creepy doll
[ From: ]
That always follows you
It’s got a ruined eye
That’s always open

And there’s a creepy doll
That always follows you
It’s got a pretty mouth
To swallow you whole

And when you come home late the doll is waiting up for you
And when you fix a snack the doll says it would like one too
The doll is in your house and in your room and in your bed
The doll is in your eyes and in your arms and in your head and you are crazy

Now it’s late and you head downstairs
Cause you just can’t sleep and you make some tea
And the doll disapprovingly asks if you really need that much honey
You decide that you’ve had enough
And you lock the doll in the wooden box
You put the box in the fireplace next to your bag of big city money

As the smoke fills up your tiny room there’s nothing you can do
And far too late you see the one inside the box is you

And there’s a creepy doll
That always follows you
It’s got a ruined eye
That’s always open

And there’s a creepy doll
That always follows you
It’s got a pretty mouth
To swallow you whole

KittiCo Cat Rescue receives donation

Thanks to all of  you who came out and supported Steve and I today at White Rock Local Market, there are some feral cats and kittens in Dallas who just got a little helping hand.  We thank you on their behalf.  (look – they sent us a nice receipt!)

Warm regards, Chris and Steve aka OneFish, TwoFish Designs 

Donation Details

Confirmation number: 7CD646244R945282M
Donation amount: $14.05 USD
Total: $14.05 USD
Purpose: KittiCo Cat Rescue
Reference: oneTime
Contributor: Steven Dickson
Message: This donation represents 5% of sales from items crafted by OneFish, TwoFish Designs at White Rock Local Market on 3.10.12!

Awesome Local People: Maureen Keating

Friends, please take a moment to click over to the Local People tab on this blog and learn about a local photographer who you will want to call upon to document the most amazing moments with your animals and kids.  Seriously, folks.  She can make even a plant in a concrete pot look elegant.