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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Soup Mugs

I love making soup mugs. They're like an extension of a cereal bowl, which I also love making. Center, enter, open, finger sweep once, twice, compress the rim, set the edge, hit it with the corner of the metal rib , make sure the profile is correct, wet trim, wire under and move with one pot-lifter and my hand onto the waiting board. They are a pleasure to make and I could do it most of the day.

It took me a long time to settle on the form for these. I made deep bowls, short bowls, bowls with defined rims, bowls without defined rims. Flat wide rims, delicate tapered rims. These are the end result of about 18 years of fiddling with the details. Adding the handle to make them a soup mug was another adventure entirely. The form of the bowl lends itself to proper handle placement. The trouble with deep bowls is that in cross section the bowls are often a softened V shape, with the bottom of the handle being placed so far in that to attach any handle, an awkward and easily broken long handle must be used to be able to hold the thing properly. The design of this bowl creates a space for a perfect shorter handle that is still easily grasped and creates a nice tight profile. I love them.

I now feel like I have a great round mug, a great tankard, a great soup mug and cereal bowl. Next I want to bring together the perfect pitcher. At least one that suits me. It seems the perfection of my craft will take a lifetime. Don't get me wrong, I think the pieces I am making now are good, people tell me they love them and they are beautiful, but I think in another 20 years the depth of beauty inherent in these mud pies will be better yet. It's fulfilling for me to know that after nearly 2 decades of clay work I continue to learn and grow and develop my ideas. At the same time I know that my work is really simple compared to the full scope of the possibilities of the craft.

So all that was me saying I had a good day in the studio. I finished these 6 soup mugs and threw 18 more bowls to trim and handle tomorrow.

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