There’s A Tool For That!

I have been putting off making mugs because I have struggled so with making handles.  It has been FIVE years since I made a mug.  Well, I wanted to start making them again but wanted to learn whether or not there was a tool available for making handles verses pulling them by hand from a lump of clay.  I googled: ‘Tool used for making handles for mugs’.  There is a tool for that!!!! So, I bought it!

Mug Handle Tools

“The Kemper HM2 Mug Handle Maker is made with stainless steel ends firmly set in smooth hardwood handles. Make handles for mugs with the Kemper HM2. When drawn through a slab of clay, this tool will form a perfectly-shaped strip that you can cut to the correct length and attach to a ceramic piece.” BigCeramicStore.com

I bought the Kemper HM2 Mug Handle Maker but it was too small.  Personally, I like a big handle on my mug . . . bigger than what the HM2 would make so I bought the Kemper HM1 Pitcher Handle Maker and I’m much happier with that size handle.

Mug Handle Tool

Pictured on top is the Kemper HM1 Pitcher Handle maker which I found much more suitable for mugs than the Kemper HM2 Mug Handle maker pictured on the bottom. Both, however, do make nice handles by pulling them through a brick of clay . . .with lots of practice! 😉 Still, easier for me than pulling my handles from a lump of clay

Another mug saver is a damp box which I read about here.

“Anyone who has worked with clay knows there is a lot of process involved. Certain things need to be done at certain times. But what do you do if your time and the clay’s time aren’t in sync? ” Meagan Chaney Gumpert

Timing is everything when adding handles to mugs.  Both mug and handle have to be at the right dampness.  Not too wet.  Not too dry.  And then, once the mug and handles are attached to each other, they must dry slowly. Not too fast.  Not too slow.  Otherwise, cracks happen. 😦

Mug Morning 1

My work this morning! The mug pictured on the right has been in my damp box for over two weeks. It wasn’t until this past weekend that I made a handle with my new tool and attached it to the mug. The mug pictured on the left was made last week and kept safe in my damp box. Today made the handle with my new tool. The four balls of clay pictured on the left will be mugs today and I’ll make the handles tomorrow.

 

Mug Morning 2

Playing around with different much shapes today! These three on the bats are in the damp box along with two more mugs all awaiting for handles which I will add tomorrow!

Thanks to the inter-web’s search engines, I was able to find a tool for that!

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Bottoms. Glazed or Bare?

Glazed Bottoms or Bare Naked Bottoms?

Glazed or Bare

Glazed bottom pictured on the left in large photo and bottom of small photo; Bare naked bottom pictured on the right in the large photo and top of small photo.

These are my newest pieces: free formed shaped bowls made from a slab of clay slumped over a plaster mold. They are becoming my favorite to make; however, when it comes to glazing I cannot decide whether to glaze the bottoms or leave them bare and naked.

Which do you prefer???

 

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Christmas in July

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Opening the kiln after a glaze firing is pretty exciting. It is as if it where Christmas!  I was very pleased with these glaze results minus a few minor clay and glazing technique glitches which I won’t talk about yet.  Right now, I’m am enjoying these colors . . . eye candy for the potter!

 

 

Glazing Day

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Turquoise glaze.

I am getting ready for my 2nd glaze firing.  I am trying to be more meticulous about the glazing process and spread it out over a few days rather than do it ALL in one day.  When I try to do ALL in one day, I grow tired and very impatient which is not a good glazing combination! LOL

Because I have thrown larger pieces this season, my usual glazing techniques will not work.  My larger pieces are larger than the bucket!  So, I went through the house and gathered old rubber maid bins of various sizes and collected other items that I may need plus watched some you tube videos hoping to pick up some new glazing hints and methods.  Picked up a few that I hope will help.

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Assorted kitchen prep bowls, large plate/platter, large serving bowl, two small side plates.