Making of a mug: Day two

Part one

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Making of a mug: Day 2.1 Here is the next stage of the mug's journey. Now that the clay is firm enough to be touched (leather hard) the pot is removed from the wooden batt it was thrown on and placed back on the wheel for turning. This is where the base is neatened using a metal turning tool, and a footring (if desired) can be added. I add them because they create a nice shadow at the base of the finished mug, and it makes stacking them easier too. Once the turning is finished I smooth over any rough surfaces with a damp sponge and add my mark to the base. I then flip the pot over and sponge and smooth the rim to ensure the mug is comfortable to drink from. If only I could work as fast as this in real time! #makingofamug #pottery #ceramics #keramik #clay #stoneware #process #handmade #madeinscotland #craft #cup #mug #NEOS15 #openstudios #GiffinGrip

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Part two
The mug, along with some others, are now wrapped up tight so that they stay damp until tomorrow. Next I’ll make some handles…

2.2julietmacleod2015

Part three
I use a clay gun to extrude the initial pieces for making my handles. I’ve tried many different approaches and I find this works best for me. It helps both in terms of time and also means I have a consistent starting point from which to pull the finished shape…

2.3julietmacleod2015

Part four
Next I take each piece of extruded clay and pull the handle to the required shape and thickness. It is imperative that you keep your hands wet as it is very easy to tear the clay strap. I am aiming for a handle that matches the thickness of the rim of the mug, so that it looks in keeping with the rest of the form. I also ensure that the top stays thicker as this will give a good stub to use for attaching the top of the handle…

2.4julietmacleod2015

Part five
The handles are now laid out on a board to firm up. They need to be similar in dryness to the mug, but still flexible enough to bend into shape without cracking. Once they are dry enough I will wrap them up to stay damp until tomorrow.

2.5julietmacleod2015

This series of posts are also running on my Facebook page and Instagram feed. Apologies if you have already seen them there. If you would prefer to view them in one of these ways please click on the relevant icon in the right hand column.

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Making of a mug: Day one

Part one
With North East Open Studios (NEOS) rapidly approaching I thought it would be interesting to capture the processes a potter goes through to make just one pot. It is understandable that many people do not realise what goes into making a handmade item, especially when you can buy manufactured ones for so little. The things that set handmade work apart are the passion and craft that goes into making them. I’m starting the story with a lump of clay, but before this there have been sketches, research and endless hours of practise…

1.1julietmacleod2015

Part two
At the start of each throwing day I work the clay to a smooth consistency (wedging) and then weigh out and ball up the required amounts of clay. I have a log book with all the weights and measurements of thrown pieces so that they can easily be repeated. Here you can see three different sizes of balls. The top ones are for the mugs … 230g of porcelain white stoneware.

1.2julietmacleod2015

Part three
This next bit was easiest to capture in a film…

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Making of a mug: Day 1.3 This next bit was easiest to capture with time lapse. The stages that are gone through are as follows: First I attach a wooden batt to wheel head by using a pad of clay; I throw the measured lump of clay onto the batt and press down to fix it securely, all the time keeping the clay wet so that it slips through my hands easily; Using even pressure I pull the clay into the centre; Then I cone the clay up and down to ensure a smooth working consistency; Using my thumb I open the clay and press down until I get to the required depth, ensuring the base is not too thin; I then open up until the base is wide enough and matches my required measurements (note the stick attached to the wheel pan – I use this as a size guide); At this point I compress the base using a sponge to ensure no cracks appear during drying; Then I pull up the walls gathering all the excess clay from the base until the walls are the right height and thickness; Next I compress the rim using a piece of chamois leather, again to ensure no cracks appear during drying; Using a hard wooden rib I smooth the outer wall of the mug and remove any excess slurry; Then using a sponge I remove any water from the inside and compress the base one last time; Last but no means least I undercut the outer edge of the base, clean up, remove the entire wooden batt and set the pot aside for drying. #makingofamug #pottery #ceramics #keramik #clay #stoneware #process #handmade #madeinscotland #craft #cup #mug #NEOS15 #openstudios

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Part four
All of the skills shown in the previous film have taken over two years to accumulate and I am by no means a master. One of the things I love about pottery is that you are always learning and acquiring new skills. Here is the mug, along with some others, now set aside to dry. Once it is firm enough I will remove it from the batt and continue to the next stage… hopefully tomorrow.

1.4julietmacleod2015

This series of posts are also running on my Facebook page and Instagram feed. Apologies if you have already seen them there. If you would prefer to view them in one of these ways please click on the relevant icon in the right hand column.