Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Handling mugs

I like to put a handle with an impressed texture on these "S" profile mugs that I make. First I start with an extruded coil of clay about 1/2" thick. I use one of the hand-held extruders to make these coils. I extrude about 3 coil lengths at a time. Any more and they seem to dry out and get surface cracks before I am ready to decorate them.

I take the extruded coil (about 3.5" long to start with, and elongate it by rolling, trying for a tapered end.

You can see the lug that I started with next to the rolled and thinned coil that I will use for the handle. Now I flatten the coil by using a paddle and pressing down.

Texture is applied after flattening. I enjoy this rolled texture, which is a napkin ring. I use a stick to press the edges down and give me a crisp end to the texture. There is usually a bit of texture impression on the edges, which I smooth out gently with my finger and not using water.
Another favorite texture tool--pen cap!
After the handle is textured, I gently shape into a question mark and let set up while I finish the next two handles.

I like to tap the top edge of the handle into a 45 degree angle using my paddle, then score both the handle and the cup. A light application of vinegar over the scored marks helps to adhere the handle.

After attaching top and bottom, I make sure the seam is cleaned up and neat, then set the cup upside down to let gravity form the rounded top of the handle.

I cover the mugs overnight to let everything equalize in moisture, then dry right side up in the open air of the studio.


Linda Starr said...

Wow, what a great tutorial. Those are really nice handles; I like the textures you're putting on them. I hand roll my handles because I don't have an extruder (I understand I can make one with a caulking gun, just haven't gotten around to making one). I like your use of the paddle too. I've never tried vinegar, but have always wanted to; I think I'll try it next time. Thanks so much I learned so much from your post.

Vicki Gill, potter said...

I am working on one of those caulking gun extruders, too, so that I don't have to swith out dies or clay, just grab a PVC tube and drop it in the caulking gun. Don't have mine done yet, not enough time in the day...

jim gottuso said...

nice step by step procedure post... something to think about