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I found a cranky Victorian gentleman hiding in my basement

Victorian egg cup

Look what I found. Man, I had totally forgotten this thing. It’s an egg cup. I made it in my twenties. It’s quite small. In fact, too small to hold a jumbo egg — all I have at the moment, which is why it’s shown here eggless.

I got a surprise when I turned it over: a slightly raised signature in three different colors of glaze. Yes, it’s an “S” and yes that’s really my first initial and yes that’s how I signed stuff in my twenties. I must’ve thought I was going to be so huge they’d call me by my first name, like Michelangelo or Leonardo. Or Cher. Or Madonna. Or Buckwheat.

I didn’t do much 3D work in school, but after I dropped out, I had a fling with bizarre porcelain tableware. The thing about hand-built clay sculpture is, nobody likes to fire it. If you goof up and get an air bubble in the clay or don’t dry it properly, your piece can explode violently in the kiln. Worst case, it ruins everything else in the kiln, and sometimes damages the kiln itself.

This is very bad mojo when you make your living firing slipcast pots painted by little old ladies. So I had a hard time finding someone who trusted me and my stuff.

When he retired and moved away, I was screwed. So I thought, what the heck? I’ll apply for an arts grant and buy my own damn kiln.

I hate public funding of the arts. I think it’s been a gigantic factor in the butt-uglification of modern art. But I was very, very poor and I had an idea for a whole series of sculptures I was itching to do, and, hey, I’d paid taxes into the system for years. So I sent away for the forms.

First requirement? Attach photographs of twenty examples of the sort of work you have in mind.

Hey geniuses: if I could produce twenty of the thing I have in mind, I wouldn’t need your stupid grant. Feh. First and last time I tried to stick my snout in the public trough.

About that time, someone (I think it was the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston) sponsored a sculpture competition. The idea was to make a mad tea seat for a mad tea party. My entry is below.

I convinced someone to fire it because these are mostly slipcast rather than sculpted (less likely to ‘splode). Alas, before I got to the final glazing, the competition was called off for lack of interest. And that was pretty much it for my pottery fling. Not long after, I got my first computer and disappeared up it for twenty years.



Comment from Dawn
Time: August 14, 2007, 10:12 am


Comment from Enas Yorl
Time: August 14, 2007, 10:44 am

Wow! That’s awesome work dude!

Comment from Lokki
Time: August 14, 2007, 11:25 am

Very, very, very Cool…. Very.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 14, 2007, 11:34 am

Awwww…shucks, y’awl.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 14, 2007, 11:42 am

In the late seventies, I saw an exhibition that included stuff by these guys, which obviously stuck in my head.

I can’t find a reference for it, so I don’t know how I know this, but the eldest Martin brother died when he bumped his elbow on a kiln and the resulting blood clot broke loose and went to his heart. I think about that every time I bump my elbow.

And now you will, too.

Comment from Nita
Time: August 14, 2007, 12:55 pm

Hey, that little egg cup sure looks interesting and so does the other stuff. looks professional! sure you are in the right profession? 🙂

Comment from porknbean
Time: August 14, 2007, 3:21 pm

My cousin-n-law bumped his knee and he thought the resulting swelling/fever was due to the bump aggravating his bursitis. He wound up in hospital for several weeks as the bump had invited a life-threatening staph infection. Nope, he didn’t break the skin.

Comment from Enas Yorl
Time: August 14, 2007, 4:16 pm

Okay, that’s it. I’m permanently packing myself in nerf. 🙂

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 14, 2007, 4:18 pm


Comment from jwpaine
Time: August 14, 2007, 4:19 pm

Kewl crockery, Weez. I tried sculpting once, but after I succeeded, after several days, in sculpting a 20-pound cube with my initials etched near the bottom, I realized the world was not ready for my genius, and moved on.

BTW: You must have already linked to this, but in case you haven’t, here’s the current Head of State of your soon-to-be homeland, having a snack.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 14, 2007, 4:43 pm

Some day, a very long time in the future, I might forgive you for that, jw.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: August 14, 2007, 4:50 pm


I coulda gone the rest of my life without seeing that particular British meal.

But the crockery is great. I want it.

Comment from Dawn
Time: August 14, 2007, 5:25 pm

Can we do that, McGoo? Just ask for things?
My grandmother was always writing our names on the bottom of junk so we knew who got it when she died. She was Jewish and I think she did it to guilt us, somehow. It didn’t matter anyway. My aunt got everything after she died.
But if we get to start writing our names on stuff…I get Charlotte and the Lady Chastity.

Comment from jwpaine
Time: August 14, 2007, 5:37 pm

Come on! Don’t you realize how lucky you are?! How many people get to see the leader of one of the most powerful nations on earth pick his nose and eat it, not once, but several times in quick succession? That beats LBJ picking up his dog by the ears or ChimpyMcHitlerburton hawking a loogie all to hell.

Comment from BONGO MIRROR
Time: August 14, 2007, 6:24 pm

Having viewed your art, written a small program to project who you were in a previous life and projected the migrations that your soul will make over the next five hundred and eleven transitions (I always use a nine bit computer for astral futurology) I’m pleased to announce that you will be Michelangelo twenty five lives from now.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: August 14, 2007, 6:49 pm

Sure, Dawn! We can ask all we want – but I bet Weasel isn’t parting with these particular items. I wouldn’t if they were mine.

Besides, my real first initial just happens to be the same as his. No shit. It must be fate. I like that germanic-looking script.

..And it was rude and presumptious of me to demand them, but Weas knows I was joshin’. Right, Weas? Weas? Uh, Weas…?


Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: August 14, 2007, 6:55 pm

That nose munchy clip is still really bad. But I will readily grant its historical significance.

Comment from jwpaine
Time: August 14, 2007, 7:06 pm

All I got to say is: Weez, if you ever meet Gordon Brown at all those state dinners you’ll be attending (as the Queen’s Artist Laureate), don’t shake hands.

Comment from porknbean
Time: August 14, 2007, 8:45 pm

Couldn’t watch the booger muncher. I still get queasy everytime I remember the two kids sitting across from me on a public bus, enjoying each other’s nose oysters.

Weasel, you are very talented. Since your beloved is whisking you away to a foreign land, you must demand to be ‘kept’ in order to further hone your skills into something lucrative. It is the least he/she/it can do.

I’m really digging that eggcup and creamer that ate a Warhead.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: August 14, 2007, 9:02 pm

Steamboat ‘I coulda gone the rest of my life without seeing that particular British meal.’

Scottish, McGoo, Scottish. Apparently the English are spitting nails that Brown kinda inherited the job after Blair retired, without running for election where any Englishman could vote for him.

Funny old country…

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: August 14, 2007, 9:22 pm

Thanks for the correction. Yes, strange country, England (et al). I can’t quite believe Weasel would move there. Yeah, yeah, I know – he lived there when he was young before he got all old and decrepit and all that….but geez, they…they…eat boogers there! And mashed peas! And frittered party wangers (or whatever).

An’ I gotta second PandB’s comment about talent, Weas. Admittedly I know nothing about art, but I can tell when something took knowledge and skill and patience to create.

..And the desire! Ya gotta WANT to!

Comment from jwpaine
Time: August 14, 2007, 11:05 pm

Don’t forget Mr Brain’s Frozen Pork Faggots, Steamboat. Gotta say, I believe I’d eat boogers before I’d even try one of those.

Comment from jwpaine
Time: August 14, 2007, 11:11 pm

Maybe not on TV, though. I mean, It’s not like I’m Scottish (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: August 15, 2007, 3:28 am

Yeah – it was those faggoty things I was thinkin’ of. And I don’t care if they’re pork or all-beef or veggie — I don’t want any.

You just know they’ll taste….queer.

And any booger-eating I do will be in the privacy of my own home, by God!

Comment from Gnus
Time: August 15, 2007, 9:23 am

I’m with you, McGoo. Boogers are best in the privacy of one’s own home.

Let’s not forget spotted dick. That just occasions a visual so horrific that to actually eat same is beyond the pale.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: August 15, 2007, 9:34 am

No, lets DO forget them, Gnus. I’m gonna work extra hard to purge that phrase from my memory.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 15, 2007, 9:37 am

It’s not bad, actually. Traditionally, you eat spotted dick with condensed milk poured over it.

How’s the visual on that?

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: August 15, 2007, 9:43 am

The problem with an informative web site like this one is that – occasionally – one is given more information than one can possibly desire or appreciate.

This is one of those moments.

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