Shop Pick - John D. Richards
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By Elizabeth Harry
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This spring we are carrying John D. Richard's whimsical assemblage sculptures in our shop. John has a fantastic sense of humor, and you'll find jokes hidden in some of his artworks. Just a few of our favorites:

Cesar said "vini, vidi, velcro" - I came, I saw, I stuck around.

My father was a baker, so naturally I'm very well bred.

Take the bull by the tail, not by the horns. Then you can let go when you want to.

Read about John, in his own words: "I live in America where we throw out more stuff than many countries produce. I use trash because it's available, plentiful, inexpensive and symbolic of our rather wasteful society. I am easily inspired by spark plugs, radio tubes, chip boards, aluminum can lids, bottle caps and much more.

People bring me boxes of junk every week. Some time ago a box arrived with many bottle caps. One red one was bent to look like lips. I thought. "What would be eyes to match? Candelabra light bulb bottoms, of course. How about a pen top nose and some phone wire hair and pull tab ears?!" That became a "face-et"t followed by fishets, owlets, frogets, duckets and goatets. And that's how my system works.

I was born in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. My mother was an artist; my father a writer. My earliest memories include playing in the mud in the backyard (thus my company name, Yummy Mud Puddle. Then I discovered leftover lumber and nails and saws and knives. During and after WWII I learned to whittle broom sticks intho faces and snakes. When playing war became popular, I made the best toy guns from whatever trash I found.

My parents divorced and my mother married William Richards who became an Episcopal missionary. We moved to Puerto Rico where my new father built a boy's school, Colegio San Justo. Construction materials were plentiful and I made tree houses of wood and rope, concrete block forts, and go carts with shopping cart wheels. I graduated from high school in 1954."

"In 1958 I received an English degree from Union College in Schenectady, New York. I taught school for four long years making art and selling it on the side. Then, in 1963, I quit my job and moved to New York City, took courses at Pratt Institute and began my freelance art career. I did display sculpture in wire for Bonwit Teller and Tiffany, vinylized paper lamps for Scarabeus, Ltd. and developed a line of reproduction plaster mirrors, sculptures and plaques to sell through contemporary craft stores and art festivals.

In 1978 I opened the first Yummy Mud Puddle gallery in Provincetown, MM. In 1984 I designed and built the Wizards Palace Walk-through Museum which traveled to various Renaissance fairs in three states. It was mostly made out of junk and people paid me just to look at it!

In 1986 another Puddle opened in Nyack, New York. In 1998 I moved to Saint Augustine Florida and in 1991 opened the Temple of Great Art, No Spitting to show and sell my sculpture lamps jewelry and my wife’s pottery. Some of the trash or assemblages were 6 feet tall and frightened the more timid patrons.

In 2003 we sold out and moved to Burnsville, North Carolina and established the third Yummy Mud Puddle halfway up a mountain road. We now sell to about 30 stores and galleries in five states and do very few art and craft shows.

Most of my current work is trash assemblage using cat food can lids, bottle caps, spark plugs, lightbulb bottoms, old electrical wire, sheet metal scraps, net rusty nails, etc.

I make art because I have to."


We're thrilled to carry John D. Richards' work in our shop! Come pay GreenHill a visit to see it in person.