Friday, March 28, 2008

What Goes Into Making A Mug?

I get this question everytime somebody picks up one of my mugs and this step by step process of what goes into making a mug is an adaptation from Sam The Cat Lady's description.

1. Drive to studio--1/2 hour each way.

2. Dig out tools, bats, water bucket and prepare to throw.

3. Weigh out clay for each mug.

4. Wedge (knead) clay.

5. Center clay on wheel and throw mug shape.

6. Remove from wheel and let dry 24-48 hours.

7. Clean up mess.

8. Put mug back on wheel and trim.

9. Clean up mess.

10. Hand pull the handle (basic shape).

11. Attach handle to top of mug and let dry approx 1/2 hour.

12. Hand pull handle to final shape/form.

13. Attatch base of handle to mug.

14. Let mug dry approx. 3-4 days. If mug or handle cracks, re-cycle clay and start all over.

15. Bisque fire mug in electric kiln approx. 12 hours.

16. Prepare glazes, mix and sieve as necessary.

17. Clean up mess.

18. Wax the bottom of mug so it does not stick to kiln shelf.

19. Choose glaze, design, and glaze mug.

20. Clean up mess.

21. Let mug dry thoroughly.

22. Clean up glaze drip marks and wipe bottom clean.

23. Fire mug to 2400F. This takes approx 12 hours.

24. Wait 12-14 hours to kiln to cool down to under 400 degrees.

25. Remove from kiln and inspect the mug. If mug is cracked or glaze turned out butt-ugly, start the whole damn process over.

26. If mug has miraculously survived to this point, hand sand the bottom baby-butt smooth so it doesn't scratch or mar any tabletop surface and put up for sale.

27. Last but not least, try not to attack the foolish person who innocently asks "Why does this mug cost so much?"