Sunday, June 6, 2010

New Cups, Tumblers, and Glazes

I spent yesterday making a few more mugs. Today was spent adding handles. I have been struggling for some time now with trying to come up with a mug that I'm happy with. When I say 'happy' I'm referring, specifically, to it's shape. I've thrown mugs of all shapes and sizes and never seem to be happy with their structure. I don't want one with vertical straight walls. Nor do I want too much of a curve to the wall. I also don't want one too tall or too short. It's been very difficult to come up with 'my shape'. I think I've finally found one I like:
It has just enough curve in the walls to keep it interesting. By adding the slight bulge toward the rim it adds additional perspective while also giving me a great place to attach the handle. The curve at the bottom, just above the foot, makes a natural fit for the end of the handle. The rim of the mug flares out just slightly making it a better fit to the mouth and wide enough so the user doesn't feel any 'oral claustrophobia'. I can't stand mugs/cups with narrow openings at the top!

I know non-potters reading this will think, "That's a lot of thought for a simple mug." True, but you can learn a lot from a mug. Click HERE to hear Pete Pinnell's thoughts on the mug. Very inspiring and educational...

I also played around with making large tumblers. These were a lot of fun to make. Not very difficult - just pulling a tall cylinder and widening it a little toward the top. The simplicity, in my opinion, can also be very deceiving. The devil is in the details - the throwing lines, the way the foot and rim is constructed, the alterations made to the otherwise vertical sides. I see lots of tumblers that I do not like at all. The tumbler is one of those forms that I find very challenging to throw - from a like/dislike perspective. I can love a simple looking tumbler and dislike a more complex one....and vice versa. Here are a few I threw yesterday:

I think the next time I'm inspired to throw tumblers I'm going to play around with the foot a little. Perhaps flare it out some to add width to the base.

On to glazes...I'm in the process of mixing up batches of text glazes for the reduction kiln. Over the winter my father collected a large amount of ash from their fireplace (oak). I have several wood ash glazes I plan to try. Anyone have any favorite wood ash glaze formulas they would like to share?