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The Lucy Fagella Pottery Blog is where I share the how the pottery is made. Pottery process is a beautiful thing… watching a pot rise up from a lump of clay at the wheel, or seeing a work table filled with freshly thrown pieces. This blog focuses on process shots, pottery videos, the work table at the end of the day, and some finished work fresh from the kiln.

mugs waiting for the firing LucyFagella

 


 

The Citrus Juicer – Form Follows Function

The Citrus Juicer…  a little utilitarian object where form follows function.

I had a little citrus juicer contest in my pottery studio… just me, the porcelain, and the ideas in my head generated from a “Pottery for Foodies” workshop I gave this summer at Snow Farm. Students wanted to know if I could teach them how to make a citrus juicer with a spout. I also had customers asking me if I would do a citrus juicer that had a storage container under the juicer part. So began a month long exploration of citrus juicer forms which took place in-between my daily schedule of making and glazing pots.

All citrus juicers take a bit of time to make, including the standard one in my shop. My partner Terri asks me why I make them if they take so much time. My answer is that I love the challenge of making a complex, beautiful form function properly. The issue that I have with the citrus juicer is not the time it takes, but the price I can get for the time it takes. This is one of those pieces that the customer has no clue as to what goes into making it, and why it should be priced even higher than it is.

My biggest take away from this exploration of new citrus juicer forms was about how form truly does follow function.  As a functional potter this is of utmost importance to me.  I often see “ceramic art” that is beautiful in color, glaze and form, but then I try to use it and it doesn’t work.  A teapot that doesn’t pour, a citrus juicer that doesn’t juice, a glaze that isn’t food safe, a mug that tips to the other side because a handle is placed incorrectly… you get the idea. In making four different kinds of citrus juicers I learned a lot about function and the many ways this little utilitarian object can function improperly!

Below are some photos of the first go around of the citrus juicers that I made, and a little explanation of what works, what doesn’t work, and how I would change it.

The first one pictured is my favorite form, it feels most like a “Lucy pot” as my students say. I like the up-lifted body of the bowl. I like the spout, the handle, the juicer part that is carved with swirly grooves rather than straight grooves. The only problem with this is that it does not function well when it pours. The liquid goes over the rim just a tiny bit. It is something that I can easily fix if I just raised the front part of the wall a bit.

citrus juicer with spout amber LucyFagella.com

The second one is a great storage jar for the liquid. It juices nicely, pours well, the only problem I am having with this is in the firing. Usually lidded pots are left unglazed around the rim and fired with the lid on. With this pot the top and bottom are fired separately because I want the rim glazed so it can stand alone as a piece. Because the lid is fired separately the two pieces are warping differently which is making the fit not so perfect. I like this one a lot, so I will work out the details… maybe make the rim thicker.

Citrus Juicer with Storage jar Lucy Fagella

The third one is a more traditional ceramic citrus juicer. I am liking the pattern which is made from some stamps that I carved. It is well balanced, pours well, but I would probably raise the front wall near the spout a bit as the liquid comes close to going over the rim.  At this point I am not too excited about the form, it’s a little to squat for my taste. If I am going to be making an open-form citrus juicer, I am more partial to the first one pictured.

Citrus juicer amber Lucy Faglla

The fourth one was in response to the complexity of the former three. This hand held citrus juicer is so simple, and a lot easier to make than the others. The only issue I see with this one is that the seeds cannot be separated from the juice. I am loving the way the glaze pools in the deep grooves. I also see this one as a great conversation piece!

Hand Held Citrus Juicer Lucyfagella.com

I have to honestly say that my standard citrus juicer which I have been making for years still makes the most sense to me. It sits on top of a two cup pyrex measuring cup and when not in use hangs on a hook in the kitchen and becomes functional wall art and a conversation piece.

citrus juicer LucyFagella.com

Apple Bakers for the Apple Season

I make Apple Bakers this time of year, because I think that every apple loving person should have one!

I live in the heart of apple country in western Massachusetts, and have my choices of farms to pick from. Clarkdale Fruit Farm and Apex Orchards are my two favorites. If you are leaf peeping anytime soon these are the two places to go for the beautiful Fall Foliage, and for bags and bags of apples! I will be buying my large bags of seconds next weekend for canning applesauce. We invite friends over to help with the processing and we all come away with plenty for the year to come!

My two favorite apple varieties for baked apples are Cortland, and Mutsu. Baked apples are one of my favorite ways to have a healthy treat, and today is the perfect rainy day to bake some!

apple baker Lucy Fagella

This is my description (from my shop page) of why to use an Apple Baker:  The Apple Baker is a wonderful way to make a delicious healthy treat. Baked apples are best when cooked in an apple baker because the baking dish has a hollow stem which the apple sits on to keep it in place, and to allow for heat to be distributed to the center of the apple. This is not only a practical way to cook the apple but a delightfully pleasing way to serve the baked apple! The size, 2.5″h x 6.5″w is perfect for one large apple, with ample room for juices from the apple and the filling. The base of the bowl is flat and wide enough so it stays nice and sturdy for your baking rack in the oven. It is also designed with indents on four sides of the rim which make it easier to take out of the oven with pot holders. This goes from the oven, to table, to dishwasher with ease. You can find these on my shop page here.

apple baker bottom LucyFagella.com

Bees Making Honey, Lucy Making Honey Jars

The bees have been busy making honey, and I have been busy making honey jars, and videos!

Our hive is thriving this summer! I so enjoy just sitting next to the hive watching them buzz in and out. Below is a photo of the bees on a very hot August day. Bees never cease to amaze me. They each have their jobs to do… here they are busy cooling the hive. The job of this group of bees is to fan the hive on hot days. Other bees are out gathering nectar, and some are capping nectar, while the queen has only one job, to lay eggs to keep the colony going strong.

Making Honey

While these bees have been busy making honey I have been busy making honey jars! Somehow the delicious, golden honey, seems to be influencing my pottery. I have found a glaze color that is a perfect match for golden honey. I have a couple of these available on my shop page here.

Making Honey Jars Lucy Fagella

I have also been having a little fun making another one of my “Quick Pottery” videos! This short video shows a cross section of a honey jar. I find that cutting a piece in half is a good way to show my students where the wall of a pot needs to be thicker or thinner. For this particular one piece lidded jar, it is important to leave a thicker portion of clay where the lid will be cut.

To see more videos on how I make the honey jar on the potters wheel, visit my YouTube channel here.

Colorful Cups for the Kitchen

Colorful cups with layers and layers of glazing!  I wanted to make my old leaf mugs more colorful with drippy glazes and lots of movement. I tend to keep my mugs pretty simple, to keep the price point lower, but the past couple of years I have added more complicated designs to my mugs. It is a lot more work with all the layers of glaze, glaze pencil, and wax resist, but I’m having so much fun! These mugs hold 12 oz of your favorite morning brew. Mine happens to be Chai or Earl Grey Tea. How about you… what would you put in these?

You can find these new cups on my shop page here.

Colorful Cups LucyFagella.com

Cross Section of a Citrus Juicer

Sometimes it’s good to show a cross section of a citrus juicer. This is one of those pieces that most people ask me how it is made. So I put together this 40 second video to give an idea of how it is made by cutting it in half.

You can find this in my shop here, for purchase. If you would like to see more video on how the citrus juicer is made on the potters wheel, please visit my YouTube channel here!

Citrus Juicer Reamer Lucy Fagella