Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Mug analysis

I was reading through the blogs I follow the other day and this post by Brandon Phillips piqued my curiosity. Obviously, I immediately began mulling over the mugs I have been making, thinking about the weight, capacity, heat retention, etc. "Exactly how much do my mugs weigh/hold?" I wondered. "Sure they function, but do they function as well as they could?"
Now, I had always been taught that thinner is better, thus my stuff tends to be pretty thin and rather tightly controlled. But I have always admired work that, although a bit hefty, has a very fluid, natural feel; a loose, gestural quality. One of my favorite video clips (that's right, just a clip off of Ceramic Arts Daily. I am too cheap to buy the video) is of Matt Long throwing a mug and explaining his philosophy behind it.

So I set out to throw some more substantial mugs. I started with a full pound of clay instead of the 1/2 to 3/4 that I normally use. Here are the results, freshly trimmed and awaiting handles.

It was obviously not very comfortable for me throwing that much clay just to make a mug. And as I was getting ready to trim them, feeling the weight, I had my doubts. Afterwards, though, I must say that I am rather pleased. I have a couple new forms I will be playing around with, and while I am still not entirely comfortable with them, it is pushing me to move in a bit of a different direction. Now lets hope I don't screw everything up with the handles...

Oh, and as far as my previous work goes...I picked four mugs that looked like they represented a pretty good cross section of my work (I like to experiment with form & size)to measure and such. The weights ranged from 5.5 oz to 10 oz. The capacities ranged from 8 to 12+ oz. They all have pretty thin walls and smaller handles. I'm not saying you would burn yourself on them or anything, but they get pretty warm with fresh coffee in them.

I will measure and weigh this next batch when they are finished. That might not be for a few weeks, though, as I am preparing for a new addition to the studio. More on that it is time for bed.

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