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.
Pulling handles for mugs. Here are 10 practical things to consider, (not in any particular order). These are questions I ask my students when I am working with them in class. I thought it would be good to have them written down in one place, as I am sure there are some student potters out there that may find this helpful!
1. Comfort/Fit: Does it feel good in your hands? Why is it that we reach for that certain mug each morning? It’s more than the look, it’s the comfortableness of it. Does the handle fit your hand? (This is quite subjective as every ones hands are different sizes.) Is it a one finger, two finger, three finger or four finger handle.
2. Visual Intent: Don’t be wishy washy! If you intend to make the handle look like it is stuck on the form then be clear about that. If you intend to make it flow from the form, smooth out the transition between mug, and handle… to allow for a more fluid motion from the form.
3. Who is your intended user: Not all people want the same size mug or handle that fits the makers hand. Think about number 1, comfort/fit while you are pulling and attaching the handle.
4. Relationship of the size of the handle to the form: Is it too small or too large for the form? Is it too low, or too high on the form?
5. Balance: Does the mug feel balanced when it is lifted, or does it tip to the opposite side because the handle is too small, or to thin, or to high on the mug?
6. Negative space: What does the space between the handle look like? Is it too wide, too narrow, too short?
7. Shrink rate: How much does the clay body shrink? Always take this into consideration when making a handle, make it a tiny bit bigger than you intend the finished piece to be, but don’t overcompensate. Go back to number 6 if you think you are going too large… really look at that negative space, it will tell you if there is too much of it.
8. Attachment to the mug: Does the handle look too thin/weak where it attaches to the body of the pot? Or is it too clunky where it is attached? Are there dents on the handle from finger marks at the attachment?
9. Consistency: Is the handle consistent throughout the whole handle, or are there thinner undulations in parts of the handle? Look at it closely, the handle should flow, without any wavy, thin, thick variations from top to bottom.
10. Craftsmanship: Is the handle well crafted… are the attachments solid, or are there slight gaps at the attachment? Have you cleaned it up properly, making sure there are no rough areas of the clay that would make it sharp or uncomfortable to hold?
I have given you 10 things to consider when making a mug, but it is so hard to tell if you have a good end product at this stage of attaching handles. You really don’t know how the mug looks, or if it is comfortable until after it is fired and used… only then you can truly tell if you have done a good job, both functionally, and aesthetically. Basically, what I am saying is this: Make more… over, and over again.
Here are some views from the work table of freshly pulled handles.
Making a pulled handle on a pitcher or a mug is a challenge, sometimes I don’t think the consumer/user of a mug or pitcher understands what goes into the making of a handle. So here is a little video to get just a quick one minute glimpse of pulling a handle for a pitcher. If you want to see more of my teaching videos subscribe on my Youtube channel Here.
Covered Cheese Dish… Butter Dish, Cupcake Surprise Dish… name it what you will. I think it works best for serving an array of cheese for the holidays and other special occasions. My farmer friend Carolyn of Hillman Farm who makes goat cheese keeps it out on her table all the time to have room temperature cheese. She says it’s a goat cheese lover, foodie thing to do. This covered dish can be found this weekend at my Open Studio/Holiday Sale!
I have been making pots for months now to for this coming weekend. I really look forward to this Open Studio/Sale each year. The studio is transformed into a beautiful shop for the weekend… beginning this Friday afternoon at 4:00 till 8:00. Saturday and Sunday I am open at 10:00 and will end both days at 5:00. Please stop by for a visit, have some hot cider and homemade cookies. There will be plenty of great holiday gifts, from inexpensive bargains at the discontinued/seconds table to brand new work coming out of the kilns this week!
Mugs… seems a potter can never make enough of them.
I thought I’d share my thoughts about mugs, and give you a sampling of some of the mugs that will be available at my Holiday Open Studio Sale this December 11-12-13.
Mugs are one of those items that we all become very familiar with. We hold them lovely each morning in our hands as we drink our coffee or tea. We place them to our lips, and we feel some comfort from this daily routine. I don’t know about you but I need a certain mug for different beverages. I’m not a coffee drinker but I do love my tea, many different kinds! I have my mugs for my favorite Chai, for my Earl Grey, my Lady Grey, and my herbal teas. Some teas require the four finger hold of a large mug, and some just one or two fingers in the handle… why is this I wonder. Why is it that we reach for a certain mug, a favorite mug? Is it the look, the feel, the size of the handle, a memory. Is it the shape… maybe wider, to cool your tea off quicker, or taller, with a narrow top to keep the tea warmer? As a maker I try to accommodate these preferences… because I want happy customers, and because like working with certain limitations. The form of a one finger mug is going to be quite different from a four finger mug. It keeps it all interesting and fresh for me.
So come by the studio and pick out a new favorite mug, and if you are too far away check the shop page. Not all the mugs are there, as I am saving some for the Holiday Sale, but just contact me and I’ll see what I can do!
Making an apple baker on the potters wheel… just another little one minute, “Quick Pottery” video.
I live in an area that has some of the most wonderful apple orchards, and it was a very good year for apples! In addition to the top quality apples from the farms, we have an old Cortland apple tree on our land which over flowed with apples. I think Cortlands make the best baked apples, they have been a regular as dessert at our table this past month.
Here is a glimpse of the apple bakers in process… love the look of them freshly thrown all lined up. These will be available at my Holiday Open Studio Sale! December 11-12-13!
Another quick pottery video! This one is on how I make a thrown knob for a lid. These are my little salt cellars pictured in the video thumbnail, all lined up looking like they are ready for action. The salt cellars are at the leather hard stage, and the knobs are all just freshly thrown in that photo. I put one finished salt cellar in front… this is to show what they will end up looking like, but also to show the size difference. The porcelain clay shrinks 14%, so I have to make them that much larger to get the 3″x3″ size that I like. These hold just the right amount of salt without taking up too much space on your table. I make these in quite a few different colors, and all are available right here on the shop page of my website, so take a look!
For those of you how are wondering how does that white on white pattern happen on those tall white urns. Here is a short one minute video so you can see how it’s done. Enjoy!
If you want too see more instructional videos please subscribe on my Youtube Channel.
Love the look of freshly pulled handles with porcelain clay. Here is a look at fresh handle, just put on the mug. Lots more to go today… I feel some sore shoulders coming on. If you don’t know the pottery process, the handles are pulled from a small lump of clay put on the mug… arms are up high, pulling the clay to form the handle. Very tiring after about ten of them… I have 22 to do today. This was only number one!
Here is what it looks like finished… coming soon to the shop page!
How do you do that? Are these carved, etched, engraved, incised? These are the questions I inevitably get asked when people see these urns. The above photo is work in process – where you can see the green wax resist pattern/decoration on the porcelain clay. This method is called shellac resist or water etching. The medium I choose is wax rather than shellac, mainly because I don’t like the odor of the shellac. They both work the same way in terms of resisting the water from my sponge as I rub the surface of the clay (water abraision). So I guess in a sense they are carved, incised, engraved or etched… just put the word water in front of those words. Water incised clay, water etched clay, water carved clay, water engraved clay. Potters just tend to say shellac resist method!
To see these finished urns just go to my urn page here on the website.
Making tall two piece forms is certainly a good post for work in process as there are many steps to the finished product. In an earlier post I showed a quick one minute video on how I join two 8″ pieces together to make a 16″ form, (granted this is not that tall, but this is the size I need for this urn project). In this post I will show a photo of work in process, and a short video on how I carve the foot. In my next post I will talk about how I use wax resist to make a floral/vine pattern on the urn.