Slow Made Pottery

I choose to make slow made pottery… that is one at a time, by my hands only.

Here is a little video with some Sunday music, (slowed down a bit more than usual, for effect).

This short little video shows me trimming a plate on a foam bat. The plate is pushed into the foam with my fingers. I use a large lid from a jar to evenly distribute the pressure of my fingers, so as not to dent the bottom of the pot. Plates create lots of ribbon like trimmings!

These particular plates that I am trimming are for a custom order of plates and chalices. I will be making ten plates (aka Paten) and ten chalices for a church in Southern California.


To purchase Chalices and Plates visit my shop here.

Chalice and Paten


10 Practical Considerations when Pulling Handles for Mugs

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.

Pulling handles for mugs, lucy fagella,

pulling handles for mugs,

fresh pulled handles Lucy Fagella

Doing what you can do, while injured

It’s that bittersweet end of summer in New England.  The nights are getting cooler, the kids begin school tomorrow, and my fall pottery classes begin next week.  I am trying to get back into full work mode after vacation at the beach last week.  I’m having a hard time of it though, since I had a little mishap at the beach while playing football with my two teenage sons.  Seems the younger of the two,  Andrew, doesn’t know his own strength… quite innocently he rammed into my chest… the result for me is one cracked rib.   My lesson… never play football with teenage boys.

So I’m letting this week go, with hopes that I will be able to throw pots next week… little pots.  This week I’m slowly finishing my bats for the studio.  All the new ones were made before vacation, with repairs to the old ones.  These past two days I set them all out in the yard for polyurethane.   I am so happy I accomplished something that really needed to get done.  I’m hoping tomorrow to be able to start photographing new work for Etsy…  another not so physical task that desperately needs to be done!

Resist Design on Porcelain

The last couple of posts I talked about the tall urn forms I am making, and the many steps involved.  This next step is what I consider just plain boring! ( I think I need a book on CD to listen to).  This is the part where I sit for hours rubbing away the clay which is not covered by the resist design. I cannot do them all in one day, I’ll go crazy. ( Maybe I should think of it as meditation instead).  I take many breaks, as I have seven of these urns to complete, plus six little ones.   I”ll take about a week to finish them, doing one a day, in between all my other work.  Here are some photos of this part of the process.  You can see the finished piece on my website.

Resist Design
Piece on the left with clay wiped away
Ready for the Bisque Firing