Best Mugs and Bowls I've ever made

July 10, 2024

I have made a lot of mugs in the last couple of months. At the end of last year, I made a plan for what I wanted to make this year. The spring is slower for shows than the fall so I've really front loaded the year with making. This doesn't mean that I don't sometimes veer off and spend a day in my studio making things that aren't on the list, but there is a list and I do get satisfaction wiping things on the list off the board. I get a second thrill when I update my tracking spreadsheet and that goes to 0 and I can figure out what the next set of things to do it. I'm sure that there are some artists who might read this and think that all of that sounds horrible, but for me it works.

Anyway back to mugs. So far this year I have made 135 mugs (I was able to find that out in my spreadsheet in 30 seconds :) and I feel like doing that many and doing them in batches of 12+ have really made me better. This is in addition to watching lots of videos especially on Clayshare and taking the cups workshop with Annie Crietzberg.

Best Mugs and Bowls I've ever made

A few things that have been key for me as I look at what I think are the best set of mugs I've made. First, not messing with the rims until the clay is nearing leather hard has been a game changer. I learned that from Annie's process. The rims stay so much more in the round when I don't try do to anything with them while they are wet. I think waiting until the clay is less wet to shape them has also helped a lot. I add my texture (not on these bugs but on others), cut them to size, and then leave them flat until the clay isn't as floppy. Bellying them out slower has also been a game changer. I use a banding wheel and I'll go around 8-10 times to belly vs trying to do too much at once. Last, I think having a specific practice around going back to each and every mug to shape and clean them up the day after I've made them steps up the game.

By no means am I done learning. I hope that in another year my mugs will look even better.

Best Mugs and Bowls I've ever made

Speaking of things that need to look better - my bowls. I specifically changed recently to make bowls that would stack better so it would be easy to transport. I also really like the "ramen" bowl shape. However, it's very different making something that starts as a cone vs something that starts as a cylinder. I don't sell nearly as many bowls, so I don't make as many, but I am trying to the practice in.

Best Mugs and Bowls I've ever made

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