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Realizing there is no single "right answer", and know that the most obvious one is "it depends..."  I'm going to ask anyway:  How do you determine the size of the handle on a mug ? 

I know handles come in lots of shapes & styles.  I've seen some mugs recently with a handle that looks like a napkin ring glued to the mug, barely big enough to stick one finger through - but in the most basic, traditional form, a handle is roughly a "C" shape, with the ends attached to the mug.  (The "C" is often skewed to look more like half of a heart, or a bass-clef symbol - but it's still basically a "C".)

I'm looking for input based on that 'traditional' form.  Is there a rule-of-thumb that you go by - or do you just attach the top end, bend it around, and say "hmm... that looks about right" ?   If you measure how far the handle sticks out from the mug - how does that compare with the diameter of the mug itself ? 

 

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I looked at this closely from an engineering standpoint and tried to determine the best shape for which comfort and utility could be maximized.  My current thought is it should be aesthetic so apply any rule of thirds you like and most important don’t have any sharp edges. Other than that there are a bunch of ugly handles that don’t look right and also don’t feel right. I will spare you the idea that attaching the top of the handle below the lip significantly along with the bottom chord of the handle being at approximately a 45 degree angle from vertical will improve upon the leverage of the user ............ need I drone on?

My best advice: look at lots of production mugs, see what you like and how it feels, then use that knowledge to experiment. 

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By the way. A good set of books on functional pottery are Robin Hoppers "functional pottery", and Clary illians "a potters workbook".  The Illian one is fairly short and simple, the hopper book goes more into background, history and theory and I like it much more.  Clary illians book is more about exploration of forms

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Like Liam, I make the top attachment of the handle to be approximately 1/3 of the width of the mug. the handle thickness should be a similar thickness to the lip of the mug, so they carry the same visual weight. The handle should taper quickly so it springs off the mug in a natural arc. Assuming it's intended for 2 or more fingers, I like a 'D' shaped handle. I'm kind of picky about handle shapes- I hate '7' shaped handles, or handles that loop up above  the rim before going down. Currently I only make 1 finger handles. I like how they feel, and they fit the style of my mugs. Some people really hate 1 finger handles, and aren't shy about telling me when they come into my booth at art fairs.

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I make two and three finger  handles for average size mugs. Since I make 7 sizes and styles it more complex. Say on a two # mug that is usually 4 finger handle.

Mug size will determine the esthetics  of most handles. My customers like a mix of handle sizes so thats what i give them.I make mugs for other people not myself.

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My handles are evolving; feel good/right ahead of looks right, but just barely - some'm can be viewed under mah two posts under what's on your workbench.

...the evolution has split - proportional to mug, oversize and high, undersized and low - based on feedback from users; likely I'll continue with more than one style, time will tell.

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15 hours ago, Rockhopper said:

  How do you determine the size of the handle on a mug ? 

  Is there a rule-of-thumb that you go by - or do you just attach the top end, bend it around, and say "hmm... that looks about right" ?   If you measure how far the handle sticks out from the mug - how does that compare with the diameter of the mug itself ? 

 

I have only been at this for a year but I feel like I can make a "decent" mug now. I try to do the 1/3 of the diameter guideline and far enough out that there is a gap from my fingers to the wall. I still fight to achieve the form I think looks good vs the handle that actually works in my hand. I attach the top and put my fingers in it to decide the size, leaving a little room for shrinkage. The mug below fits my hand perfect but the handle needs to be smaller to visually match the shape better. My wife hates the way the handle feels though, lol.

greenmug_quartersize.jpg.31e8b665c0da1af01aaa33fe2d1b8222.jpg

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Maybe take a look at some handles on some mugs she likes, specifically the negative space they form. Yours is a tilted D shape.  As the shape works towards that of the number 7 it provides greater leverage for more hand sizes to resist the twisting of the mug. Now as to the 7 look, some just don’t like it.

My hands are relatively large (can palm a basketball reasonably) I definitely have a functional preference but it likely is never gonna be something my wife prefers.

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Some random thoughts:

There is a sweet spot with handles where they’re long enough to fit 3-4 fingers in, but they’re not sprung out too far from the body of the mug. For a mug with more fingers in the handle, think about making a more oval shape than round, or more like a D than a C. 

A mug handle will typically loose 1 finger’s room in between handle attachment and finished product, ie if I can get 3 fingers in while it’s fresh, it’ll be a 2 finger mug when it’s done. 

Someone will always complain to your face about your handles being too big or too small. Someone else will love it and think it’s perfect. 

Men and women hold mugs differently. It’s how we’re socialized. 

Play around with other kinds of mug to find what you like and don’t like. 

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Form of the mug determines too.  Mine have a low belly and the rim is pulled out to match the belly, it adds more room at the top of the handle for fingers.  I marked it in red on the photo, it's not much, but on this form it allows me to make a smaller handle without making it uncomfortable for me to use.

sketch-1555706232850-432x576.png

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Some two and three finger handles, over and over over sized; no examples of one finger ring in this pic - current handling is similar, mostly like the two in front

 

 

 

handled.JPG

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I did some rough math on how many mugs a year that leave the studio. Its over 3,000 per year. I acuattly think that number may be low. You do that for few decades and handles just flow.

Mugs are one of my best sellers. Thats why I make handles and sizes for all users. I will add only the small 3/4# may be one finger mugs.Like small expresso ones.

I sell mugs at all my outlets and some really move product and a fast clip.Most potters my age have long ago given up on making lots of mugs.

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Like a lot of potters I have large hands,  my right hand has gotten huge over the last 40 years since I started working with clay.  If the handle feels good to me when the mug is wet I can count on it shrinking enough that a average person will like it.  People with very small hands might have a problem with them.     Denice

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I prefer mugs with a one-finger handle, like these... I have a few of Paul's mugs and they are so comfortable to hold. Even with a larger handle, I still tend to hold them with my index finger, with the handle resting on my middle finger. Holding a mug with 2, 3, or 4 fingers in the handle is uncomfortable for me. His mugs sell out in seconds, literally, so he must be onto something! 

.

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I don't make mugs except for family gifts.  I have 3 mugs I thought were perfect from a pro potter in Iowa.  All 3 have a chip on the rim.  I think mugs are about the hardest thing to make because of the ergonomics involved.  The handle being only one factor, but the most tactile.  Except for the rim, the width of the mug, the overall weight.  Let's leave out aesthetics.   I've never made the perfect mug.  Some of my recipients say differently, but they have not studied the matter.

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My handles tend to be more of a droopy "D" form. The image is of some older pieces before I started with the extruded handles, and with texturing before shaping, but it is about the handle.

Hopefully will get some of the new pieces that I am doing for an order from Savannah before too long. Chalices and patens big now as the order goes out next week.

 

 

3mugSpring2015.JPG

 

best,

Pres

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Thank you all for the input...  Sounds like 1/3 of the overall width, or 1/2 the diameter of the mug cylinder, is the base-line - with variations from there for style/form.

I think the main thing I need to work on is consistency. 

I've started measuring as I throw, so the mugs are pretty consistent - maybe a short piece of tubing between the mug and handle as I'm attaching the bottom will help me get the handles more uniform.   While I don't think any of these four are terrible - I definitely think the one on the light background, and the dark blue/gray one look like they 'fit' the mug better than the other two.

Img_1684b.jpg.36edd59f54f7c96bc9b4840ed03e82c6.jpgImg_1680b.jpg.763be9a882c3d5d4ad9dac4c4cb4cf88.jpg20170218_214903b.jpg.d967961cefd225feb3537f2754f79eb7.jpgImg_1691b.jpg.e3bf3d15ca2b0ec5a30f42b03d664de1.jpg

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