Thursday, December 9, 2010
Mugs, Pots, & Mice
I am trying to come up with a new mug shape. In the past I have usually made "cuddly" mugs that are wider and somewhat rounded lower down, and narrow a little towards the top, with a slight flare out towards the lip. They have been OK for a cup of tea or cocoa in the evening, and somewhat comforting, but they have not made a "celebration" of the act of drinking tea or coffee. So.., I have been fiddling around trying to make something just a little more adventurous! I also have in mind that it would be fun to make mugs that I could decorate with a band of crystalline glaze on the outside. To make it easier to control the runny crystalline glaze, I have made a slight flare out towards the foot of the mug, which also adds stability. The only disadvantage with the flare is that it makes for an internal shape that is not as easy to clean as a simple "U" shape. If I had a "thrown" or turned foot on the mug, then I could have a more simple shape inside, but I much prefer to avoid turning mugs if I can.
I also will play with putting two bands on the mug to mark the area where the crystalline glaze will be. I might try slip trailing these on some mugs that I make later, but this time I have simply put the lines on with a notched piece of plastic as I was throwing the mugs on the wheel.
The mugs are made from 350 gms of clay and are about 10.75mm high by 9.5mm wide (4.25 x 3.75 inches) when freshly thrown. The mugs will shrink as they dry and when they are fired.
The handles are pulled and shaped off the mug and then applied when the clay is a similar stiffness to that of the mug. When I use my sandy stoneware clay, I usually add a sausage of clay to the mug and pull the handle from that, but this very fine textured white clay is less "forgiving" and has a tendency to split as the wet pulled handles dry. We had coffee at a cafe earlier in the week where I could not even fit my little finger through the handle of the Italian made cups that we were drinking out of, I had to concentrate more than I would prefer to in order to safely manage the hot liquid inside. So I have tried to make the handles of these mugs generous enough to be easily held with at least two of my large fingers!
Hopefully I will be able to bisque the mugs tomorrow, along with new pots that I have made.
Above are a couple of photos of some of the pots that I have made recently. These will be for crystalline glazes.
Ginger and Nigella do some of their hunting together. Nigella, being young and able to fit into small spaces, generally does a lot of the work whilst Ginger supervises. This photo was taken shortly after Ginger found a mouse then lost it under the cupboard when it ran away as he was about to play with it. Ginger considered this to be the height of bad manners, and was quite offended, but Nigella enthusiastically joined in the hunt for it, and they knocked over my earthenware watering pot to improve access to behind the cupboard. Occasionally Ginger would run through to the room behind just to check that the mouse hadn't managed to somehow make its way through a brick wall in order to make good its escape! Ginger is a great believer in the rather odd and quirky ways of Quantum Mechanics, and suspects that they may apply to small mammals such as mice more than General Relativity. He is convinced that a mouse may rearrange its atomic structure and align it in such a way as to be able to pass through a wall or a floor as fast as Captain Kirk could say "Beam me up Scotty"! This does worry him at times, as does the thought of exploding black holes (especially mouse holes), or the final and inevitable demise of our sun. I mean, where would a cat be without the sun!!
Eventually Nigella did catch the mouse. Ginger was so preoccupied by this time that he was no longer part of the hunt and was probably sunbathing outside somewhere whilst he still could! Laura rescued the mouse from Nigella and released it outside..... but..., it was later recaptured by one or other of the cats and its mortal remains were left proudly for us to discover in the evening on the kitchen floor!